1858. Finally, after wishing for so long, Claret begins preaching missions in Madrid, in the church of San Cayetano.
1868. In a letter with today’s date, Claret advises Fr. Joseph Xifre, just as he has done many times, to found a house in Algiers that will serve as a refuge in case of religious persecution in Spain.
EARLY EXPANSION (1870-1899)DEATH OF FR. Joseph Xifre
For their part, the Provincials, mainly Fr. Isaac Burgos, began to prepare the Ordinary Chapter of 1900 ahead of time. There was an attempt to decentralize the government of the Congregation. However, Fr. Xifre died on November 3, 1899, after having governed the Congregation for 41 years. He had done a tremendous job. He took over the Congregation with 1 house (Vic) and 15 members, and at the time of his death, there were 61 houses and 1,368 Professed, 104 Novices and 249 Postulants.
At this point, it is fitting to highlight how much Fr. Xifre did for the Congregation, despite the criticisms by some and his limitations that he himself recognized. He can truly be called the second founder of the Congregation. Without him, our Congregation would not have reached the expansion it did. On November 4, 1899, at 8 a.m., in the Chapel of the University of Cervera, the Office for the Dead was prayed, followed by a solemn sung Mass.
JULIAN MUNARRIZ, CMFGeneral Consultor (1871-1962)
Allo (Navarra, Spain). Member of a family of seven children, three of which were Claretian Missionaries: Fr. Julian, the eldest, Blessed Fr. Felipe de Jesus, Superior of the martyr community of Barbastro, and Fr. Saturnino, who died very young in a mission in Equatorial Guinea. He made his profession in the hands of Fr. Xifre. Barely ordained, the superiors directed him towards formation. In 1913 he was promoted to the position of Provincial Superior of Castilla. In 1937 he was appointed General Consultor and Assistant for Castilla, Betica and Fernando Poo. He attended all the General Chapters from 1922 to 1949. He suffered the ups and downs of both the Spanish Civil War and World War II. After his term in the General Government, he was assigned to the Italian Province, moving to Rome-Via Giulia and then to Claretianum of Via Aurelia as confessor. He wrote Recuerdos edificantes de la Congregacion [Uplifting Memories of the Congregation]. He died in Rome at the age of 91 and laid to rest at the Campo Verano cemetery.
The Frustrated Desire to Go to the Missions
I began immediately to apply myself to the task for which I had made my journey. The only letter of recommendation I had was addressed to His Excellency, Bishop Vilardell, a Catalan, who had recently been consecrated bishop of Lebanon and had just left for his new post when I arrived in Rome. I then applied to the Cardinal Prefect of the Propaganda Fide, but he had just left for a stay in the country and they told me that he would be gone for the whole month of October. I believed that this was providential since it gave me time to make the retreat… (Aut 138)
With this in mind, I went to visit one of the fathers of the professed house of the Company of Jesus…On the days he appointed, I gave him an account of my spirit, and during the closing days he remarked, Since God our Lord is calling you to the foreign missions, it would be better for you to join the Company of Jesus because it would be the means whereby you could both be sent and accompanied by others. For it is a very dangerous business going it alone. I answered, As for me, I know well enough that it would be better, but what could I do that the Company would admit me? (Aut 139)
FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION
In Rome Claret experiences three failures: he could neither go to Lebanon nor offer himself to Propaganda Fide nor profess as a Jesuit.
- What is your attitude towards the experiences that you consider frustrating in your life?
- Do you believe that God guides your life even along unsuspected paths?
for it deals with something prior to ourselves and can succeed in uniting us
in a way that transcends our petty and limited individual consciousness.
It is a question about the origin of all that is, in whose light we can glimpse the goal and thus the meaning of our common path.”
(Francis, Lumen Fidei, 25)