1857. Claret arrives in Havana, on his way to the Peninsula; the Bishop and the civil authorities receive him with great honors. He will be in Havana until April 12th, carrying out an intense apostolate.
1859. The Queen appoints Claret as the protector (supreme authority) of the Montserrat hospital. At the end of the summer, he will move there.
EXPANSION (1906-1922)IN FRANCE AGAIN
To speak of the Congregation in France was to speak of its origins in Prades and Thuir up to the moment when the Province of Castilla set its sights on Paris, a city of so many Claretian reminiscences. The Spaniards missed having a Spanish-language chaplaincy in Paris. The tenacity of Fr. Gabriel Palmer, Chaplain and Auditor in the Royal Chapel, and the good management of Fr. John Postius convinced King Alfonso XIII (1886-1941) and the Government to take advantage of the Claretian Missionaries being the ones chosen for such a commitment. So, Fr. Martin Alsina traveled to Paris in November 1913, accompanied by the community that was to take charge of the mission, with Fr. Emilio Martin as Superior. At first, after a time of uncertainty, they stayed in Rue de Mesnil, carrying out ministry in a chapel of the parish of Saint Honore, and after intense negotiations in Rue de la Pompe, where we still reside. Let us remember that Claret, when he was exiled in Paris (1868-1869), gave conferences to the Spanish speakers and founded a charitable association for the poor.
Jose MARIA GIRABAL, CMFMissionary and Artist (1916-1996)
Artés (Barcelona, Spain). He studied in Barbastro, Cervera and Solsona, where he was surprised by the 1936 revolution. He fled to France. After the war, he finished his studies in Zafra (Badajoz) and was ordained a priest. He worked in various communities in his Province, Catalonia, especially as a formator in Cervera and as a professor in Barcelona and Sabadell. In 1949 he was assigned to Sallent, dedicating himself to preaching. Then he was in Lleida, Sant Boi de Llobregat and Tarragona. For many years he served in the clinic of Nuestra Señora del Redel. He was a great painter and writer, published in magazines like El Benjamin [The Benjamin], becoming director. He published several successful books with illustrations, including La Vida ilustrada de San Antonio Maria Claret [The Illustrated Life of St. Anthony Mary Claret] and Leyendas de Montserrat [Tales of Monserrat]. He adorned cloisters, like that of Gracia (in Barcelona), and painted murals. He excelled as a priest and artist. He was tested a lot by his health, especially in the last stage of his life. He died in Vic.
The Religious Press
In order to be able to give books away or to sell them as cheaply as possible, I planned on setting up a Religious Press under the protection of our Lady of Montserrat, patroness of Catalonia, and that of the glorious St. Michael. I shared my plans with Fr. Caixal and Fr. Palau, who were then canons of the cathedral at Tarragona and are now Bishops of Urgel and Barcelona, respectively. They are still running it under the immediate direction of an administrator. (Aut 329)
Through the offices of the Religious Publishing House, both clergy and laity have been and are still able to purchase good books, the best available and at the lowest prices. In fact, no press in Spain offers books printed as correctly or with the same quality of type and paper as those printed by the Libreria Religiosa… (Aut 331)
FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION
- What does it mean for you today to continue the missionary work of an Apostle of the Press like Claret was?
- How do you think your Province or Delegation could commit itself to the apostolate in various communications media?
- How are you doing that?
in a permanent state of acceptance of the gift of God
that transforms us at each moment,
and thus launches us into mission.”