1851. Claret begins Spiritual Exercises for the clergy of Santiago, Cuba; they will last until March 1st.
1852. In his first pastoral visit, Claret arrives in Holguin, where he is received with grand celebrations, including the flying balloon, whose failure led Claret to deduce how it should be modified to work well.
EARLY EXPANSION (1870-1899)FIRST STEPS IN BRAZIL
When the Province of Castilla took over the Visitorship of South America, only Brazil was part of the project and a foundation had been accepted in São Paulo, which would be constituted in 1895. The foundation was presided over by Fr. Ramon Genover and Fr. Eusebio Sacristan. One of the members of this community was Fr. Francisco Ozamis, future Bishop of San Jose in Tocantins. They were provisionally installed in the church and premises of San Francisco, beginning immediately with pastoral activities in Portuguese. Soon the Province, through Fr. Ramon Genover’s persistence, began looking for ways to expand their presence in that immense country, until he found the right place: Campinas. In September of 1899 a community was installed there permanently, presided over by Fr. Eusebio Sacristan. The house and the church were remodeled extensively while the apostolic activities and works of charity among the poorest multiplied.
Nicolas Garcia, CMFVI Superior General (1869-1950)
Hormicedo (Burgos, Spain). He spent time with the co-founders Fr. Xifre and Fr. Clotet, and with Fr. Serrat. Among his first assignments, we must underline that of the brief foundation of Spoleto, Italy. In 1912, Fr. Martin Alsina appointed him Provincial Superior of the Province of Betica. He was elected Superior General in Vic on October 11, 1922, and re-elected for the same office on December 4, 1937. He died in Rome nine months after leaving office as Superior General. During his two terms of office, with a total of 24 years, the Congregation grew by almost a hundred foundations. He accepted the Vicariate of Darien, the Prelature of Tocantins, the missions in China. He accentuated the teaching character of the Congregation, outlined its legal structure, its technique of promotion and organization, and indoctrinated his sons with remarkable circular letters full of doctrine. In his time appeared the remarkable magazines Palaestra Latina and Vida Religiosa.
The Difficulties of Missionary
Before I could leave the parish I had to contend with a great many difficulties both on the part of church superiors and the townspeople, but with God’s help I managed it. I set out for Barcelona with the intention of obtaining a visa and embarking for Rome, but in Barcelona they wouldn’t grant me one and I had to turn back. I went to Olost…From there I traveled to la Tria de Perafita, where I met an Oratorian, Father Matavera, a man of great experience, learning, and virtue, whom I told of my voyage…The good father listened to me with great patience and charity and encouraged me to continue in my purpose. I listened to him as if he were an oracle and presently resumed my travels. Having obtained a passport for the Spanish interior, I headed for Castellar de Nuch… (Aut 121)
My itinerary took me through Castellar de Nuch, Tosas, Puerto, Font del Picaso, Osseja, Olette, Prades, Perpignan, Narbonne, Montpellier, Nimes, and Marseilles, where I sailed on the steamer Tancrede. I landed at Civitavecchia and finally I arrived in Rome. (Aut 122)
FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION
Claret encountered difficulties both in leaving the parish and during the trip to Rome.
- What are the main difficulties you encounter in “going forth” as a missionary?
- Have you ever felt blocked, impeded, persecuted, etc?
- Recall and express thanks for your journeys, the assignments where you have been sent.
Everything was sweet to me, as long as I could win souls for Jesus Christ
and heaven and save them from hell.”