1854. Ten seminarians from the Diocese of Gerona arrive in Santiago, Cuba.
1868. Claret has been indisposed for a few days, and today he can communicate to Fr. Joseph Xifre: I’m much better.
CONSTITUTION OF THE INSTITUTE (1858-1870)
THE FIRST SPIRITUAL DIRECTORY
Written by the Founder almost at the same time as the Constitutions and even finished before them and published in 1858 by Fr. Xifre with some important modifications. In addition to directing life in ministry, mainly missionary, with instructions and examinations, it brought the first ritual outline and collection of prayers and religious practices held at home, and those prescribed for the beginning and end of preaching. It consisted of seven sections: 1) an examination of the Constitutions for the day of recollection; 2) suffrages for those traveling; 3) an itinerary; 4) a practical way to begin and conclude a Mission; 5) eight formulas for other blessings; 6) prayers for those who are returning from traveling, for the sick and for thanksgiving; 7) meditation on death for the day of recollection. There was also a Directory of the Coadjutor Brothers, a booklet composed by Fr. Clotet and also published in 1858, in which the author recorded the current practices, according to the guidance received from the Founder himself.
Dionisio González de Mendoza
Collaborator of Claret (1815-1887)
Barriosuso de Valdivia (Palencia, Spain). He was Secretary of the Bishop of Puerto Rico since 1847. In 1855 he was appointed by Claret as Judicial Vicar of Santiago, Cuba and Vicar General. Beginning with Claret’s departure in 1857, he remained as ecclesiastical governor. Returning to Spain, Father Claret appointed him Vice President of El Escorial in 1860. He was one of Claret’s closest friends and collaborators. The Saint said of him: It seems to me that I know him, I have observed and studied him; I see in him talent, a sharp mind and the desire to achieve; it is true that he is too quiet and reserved which is the only defect I see in him; still I am fond of him; and the same affection that I have for him gives me reasons to overlook this defect; it is his nature sustained by the bitter lessons of life that he has seen in himself and others. He died in Barriosuso on January 6th. There a good number of Claretian documents were kept, in the so-called treasure of Barriosuso.
Love in Times of War
I remember that during the war of independence, which lasted from 1808 to 1814, the people of Sallent were so frightened of the French and with good reason, since the French—had burned the city of Manresa and the town of Calders, near Sallent—that everyone fled when they heard the news that the French army was on its way. During the first evacuation I recollect being carried on someone’s shoulders; but during the last evacuation, when I was four or five, I went on foot and gave grandfather John Clara, my mother’s father, a helping hand. It was at night, and his eyesight was failing, and I guided him through the obstacles with such patience and kindness that the poor old man was very glad to see that I hadn’t run off to join my brothers and cousins who had abandoned the two of us. I always showed him a great deal of affection until he died, and not only him but also all those who were elderly and disabled. (Aut 19).
FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION
- Bring to mind your grandparents or other elders from your birthplace.
- What is your attitude towards the elderly?
- Are you concerned for the elderly or sick Claretians?
- Find a time to meet with an older, sick missionary.
Neither the Founder nor the co-founders had any problem in calling the Congregation Holy, Sacred and Divine Work.”
(Aquilino Bocos Merino, Herencia y profecia, 21)