1850. Claret is preaching Spiritual Exercises in the Convent of Santa Catalina (Vic).
1868. With the bull Singularis Natura, Pius IX commissioned Claret to deliver The Golden Rose to the queen.
EARLY EXPANSION (1870-1899)THE FOUNDATION IN CERVERA
The initial difficulties in Santo Domingo and the growth in the number of formandi in the Congregation led to the acceptance of the providential offer that was made in 1887 to occupy the grandiose building of the former University of Cervera (Lleida), even larger than the Santo Domingo building. Fr. Pedro Mulleras was the first Superior, followed by Fr. Antonio Naval. Soon works began and the novitiate and the scholasticate for philosophy students were opened.
Despite the enormous expenses involved in preparing the spacious building, which had been used as barracks for troops, Fr. Xifre moved forward trusting in Providence and making painful cuts. Thanks to the Coadjutor Brothers, it was prepared, moving the staff in August 1888. Fr. Xifre himself moved his residence there. The community was growing, reaching 322 members in one year. The royal chapel went from having four small altars to sixteen new altars. A Physics laboratory and a Natural History museum were also built.
Basilio Gil BuenoBishop of Huesca (1811-1870)
Palazuelos (Guadalajara, Spain). He was Dean of Barbastro and restored the Seminary. Later, he was named Chapter Vicar and Ecclesiastical Governor sede vacante. In 1861 he was promoted to be Bishop of Huesca. Banished in 1868 by the revolutionary junta, he was able to return to his diocese after a year of grief and hardship. He was a man of recognized virtue and science who was mainly concerned with the formation of the clergy. He went to Rome in 1869 to the First Vatican Council. While seriously ill in Rome, he received the last sacraments from the Archbishop of Zaragoza, Fray Manuel Garcia Gil. On February 12, 1870, Claret visited him ten minutes before he died at his residence on Via Giulia 118. Claret also attended his funeral on February 15th in Santa Maria Vallicella. The bishop’s secretary was Venerable Saturnino Lopez Novoa, co-founder of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Elderly together with Saint Teresa de Jesus Jornet.
Victory with Mary’s Strength
I had the following experience while I was in my second year of philosophy at Vich. That winter I had caught a bad cold and was ordered to bed; so I obeyed. One day as I lay there…I felt a terrible temptation. I turned to Mary, called on my guardian angel, and prayed to all my name-saints… (Aut 95)
Finally, I turned over on my other side, to see if the temptation would go away when suddenly I saw the Blessed Virgin Mary, very beautiful and gracious… and in her arms, I saw a huge garland of the most beautiful roses… (Aut 96)
I also saw a band of saints standing at her right hand, in an attitude of prayer…I believed…that those were my patron saints praying and interceding for me so that I wouldn’t fall into the temptation… (Aut 97).
…What made me believe that what had happened was real, and a special grace from Mary, was the fact that from that moment on I was free from temptation and for many years stayed free of any temptation against chastity. If later there have been any such temptations, they have been so insignificant that they hardly deserve to be called temptations. Glory to Mary! Victory through Mary! (Aut 98)
FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION
- Were there temptations that you still remember because they marked your spiritual journey during your process of formation?
- What resources did you use and do you use now to deal with them positively?
- Do you turn to Mary, “the victorious woman,” to overcome temptations?
For Claret, Mary is Mother, Teacher and Formator. His relationship with her is decisive at critical moments.
- Call to mind your temptations in Mary’s presence and discover the victory of Grace over sin.
of what we are called to be, that is,
children of the Heart of Mary, from the Magnificat to Calvary.”
(Aquilino Bocos Merino, Missionary Testament of our Martyrs)