MARCH

19

1840. Claret sails from Civittavecchia (Rome) to return to Spain.

1845. Claret is preaching during Lent in Mataro (Barcelona), and recruiting priests for the Spiritual Exercises that he will lead for them during the week of Easter.

1859. Claret begins to preach a mission in Chamberi (Madrid); some former Cuban collaborators help him as confessors.

EXPANSION (1906-1922)

THE PREFECTURE DEL CHOCO (COLOMBIA)

A cluster of circumstances made Fr. Martin Alsina assume the missions of Choco, trusting in the Congregation’s missionary dedication. It was the year 1909. It was an extensive territory with two Provinces: San Juan and Atrato, whose capitals were Istmina and Quibdo. Fr. Juan Gil, from Segovia, was appointed the first Apostolic Prefect and Superior of Plasencia. The difficulties were enormous at first and only men of tireless zeal could overcome them, although some had to pay with their lives for the tremendous endeavor, among them the Apostolic Prefect himself, who died shortly after writing his first report. He was replaced by Fr. Francisco Gutierrez; something similar to what had previously happened in Cuba and in Equatorial Guinea.

Soon they saw the need to found a community that would serve as a bridge and the Office of the Mission Procure. Cartagena was chosen in 1909. With the same objectives, the community of Bogota was founded in 1912, with Fr. Antonio Pueyo assuming responsibility for the Church of the Voto Nacional.

Saint Joseph

Co-patron of the Congregation

Father Claret received a divine illumination: On May 7, 1865, at 3:30 in the afternoon, the feast of the Patronage of St. Joseph, Jesus told me to be very devout to St. Joseph and to approach him with confidence – (Aut 831). For the Congregation, this trust continues to be valid, which affects the evangelizing mission. His patronage should be invoked as encouragement in the renewed effort of evangelization in the world and of new evangelization in those countries and nations in which the Christian life was flourishing and which are now facing difficult trials. To bring the first proclamation of Christ and to take it back where it has been neglected or forgotten, the Church needs a special power from on high. A gift certainly of the Spirit of the Lord, not detached from the intercession and example of Saint Joseph. In 1870 a pamphlet of Claret’s was published about La devocion a San Jose [The devotion to St. Joseph], which was later expanded.

The Example of Two Women Saints With Missionary Spirits

From the Life of St. Rose of Lima… “She cried continually over their misery and asked God to convert all sinners. She even used to say that she would gladly suffer all the torments of hell herself alone, as long as she could do so without sinning, if by doing so no one would be damned. For this reason, she had a great desire to see the Gospel preached to unbelievers and penance preached to sinners…” (Aut 239)

From the Life of St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi. “It would be hard to find any apostolic man with a more burning zeal for the salvation of souls. She had a lively and most tender concern for their welfare, and it seemed to her that she had no love at all for the Lord unless everyone else loved Him, too. On learning of the great strides that the faith was making in the Indies in her day, she would say that if her vocation allowed, she would travel throughout the world to save souls and would envy the birds their wings that she might fly about everywhere to accomplish the task. ‘If only it were possible for someone to take me to the Indies,’ she used to say, ‘so that I could take those little Indian children and instruct them in our holy faith…” (Aut 259)

FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION

 

  • Do you know some women who with their missionary commitment challenge you to give yourself more in the mission?
  • Are there women who, with the simple experience of their faith, are authentic examples of evangelical life?
  • Search for and pray with some writings of holy women.

 

“I have learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.
The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid,
but he who conquers that fear.”

(Nelson Mandela).

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