MARCH

16

1862. Claret gives First Communion to Princess Isabella.

1859. The government approves the Rule of the Academy of St. Michael, which was created the previous summer. It will be published in May.

1870. Thanks to Claret’s efforts and trips, today the decree is signed to approve the Constitutions of the Carmelite Sisters of Charity. A few days later Claret sends word and congratulates the Mother General and the whole congregation.

EXPANSION (1906-1922)

PIOUS DEVOTIONS AND THE SONG OF THE MISSIONARY

In 1906 the new General Superior wrote his first Circular Letter to the Congregation Remedios del descontento en la Religion [Remedies Against Discontent in Religious Life]. He had observed that discontentment is one of the main evils that affect Missionaries and their vocational fidelity. As a remedy he proposed pious devotions, which was not a matter of the intellect but of the will, to practice fidelity and dedication to the vocation. It was a call to joy and happiness in the vocation and mission.

Although we do not know the exact date we do know that the lyrics to the Song of the Missionary (Jesus you know that I, your soldier …) were composed by Fr. Agapito Ajuria, who died in Corisco (Equatorial Guinea) in 1908; and the music was composed later, in 1912, by Fr. Vidal Bandres, Missionary in Choco (Colombia). This song acquired great fame among the seminarians and served the Martyrs of Barbastro as spiritual motivation in the last days of their martyrdom. In the 1950s, it was frequently sung because of the profound feeling about martyrdom.

Rafael Benjumea

Court Painter (1820-1888)

Sevilla Spain). He was a Spanish painter of history, a portraitist of small format and paintings of Sevillian themes of Costumbrismo. From the beginning of his studies he was protected as an artist by the Duke of Montpensier, for whose family he made some works. In 1850 he was summoned as a second chamber painter of Isabella II. In two of the compositions made in this period (The Baptism of the Princess Concepcion and The Presentation and Baptism of Alfonso XII), you can see Father Claret. These paintings led him to resort to a complaint against Queen Isabella II in 1873 for not paying the artist for these works. These paintings were esteemed for their great resemblance in the portraits and by the richness in the details. He was awarded the title of Royal Knight and distinguished Order of Charles III and of the Holy Sepulcher and appointed Commander of the American Order of Isabella the Catholic.

The Example of the Saints

I frequently read the lives of those Saints who were distinguished for their zeal in saving souls, and I felt the good effect of it, for I applied to myself those words of Augustine: Tu non eris sicut isti et istae? Will you not be like these men and women and work as they did at saving souls? The lives of the saints that most moved me were those of St. Dominic, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. John Nepomuceno, St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Bernardine of Siena, St. Thomas of Villanova, St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Philip Neri, St. Francis Xavier, St. Francis Borgia, St. Camillus de Lellis, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Francis Regis, St. Vincent de Paul, and St. Francis de Sales. (Aut 226)

In the course of meditating on the lives and works of these saints, I used to feel such a burning within me that I couldn’t sit still. I had to get up and run from one place to another, preaching continually. I can’t describe what I felt inside me. Nothing tired me; I wasn’t terrified at the awful calumnies being leveled against me, or afraid of the greatest persecutions… (Aut 227)

FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION

 

  • Are there figures of saints who motivate your apostolic zeal in a special way?
  • Are there other Christian figures that are an example for you?
  • What is a saint for you today?

Pope Francis talks about the “saints next door”.

  • Do you know them? Do they live with you? Who are they?

 

 

“The experience of God is the only force capable of arousing
that hope that never dies, in spite of the many difficulties
and of giving impetus to our commitment towards life.”

(Josep M. Abella Batlle, Missionaries, p. 40)

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