MARCH

04

1844. Claret continues Lenten preaching in Manresa (Barcelona).

1853. Claret continues the mission in Baracoa (Cuba).

1865. Claret visits the Vincentians, whose Major Superior, like that of his missionaries, has just obtained from Rome the faculty of extending dimissorial letters. Claret obtains a copy of the form and sends it to Fr. Joseph Xifre.

THE CONSOLIDATION (1899-1906)

EARLY HISTORY OF THE CONGREGATION

Fr. Mariano Aguilar, who had already published Vida Admirable del P. Claret [Admirable Life of Father Claret], prepared the first History of the Congregation (1901) in two volumes, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, which did not satisfy everyone because it contained a not so generous or broad concept of the nature and demands of the History. He told about the difficulties he had in the Prologue of the work: at times for not having been able to search the archives of our houses myself, at other times for the omission that was almost necessary at the beginning of the Congregation to record the main events and conserve the interesting documents, many of which have been lost, and in the end, because of the excessive modesty of not a few Fathers.

We must remember here that Fr. Aguilar, together with Fr. Manuel Pardinilla, Fr. Jose Busquet and Fr. Juan Ayneto, were the fruit of the intellectual concerns of the Congregation which made Fr. Xifre send them to study in the Roman Universities.

Pedro Grau, CMF

Apostolic Vicar of Quibdo (1903-2002)

Sant Jaume de Villadrover (Barcelona, Spain). He made his first religious profession in 1919 and was ordained a priest in 1929. From his first assignment in 1930, his missionary life was linked to the difficult missions of Choco, in Colombia. He carried out tasks of governance in Colombia and Venezuela, including that of Provincial Superior and formator of Claretian seminarians. He was director of the magazine El Voto Nacional [The National Vow] and initiator of the widespread Hoja Dominical [Sunday Bulletin]. He knew a lot about the life of a constant traveler, a navigator, the hot sun and the downpours he endured in a canoe, the nights on the riverside farms. Nothing daunted him. Pius XII appointed him Titular Bishop of Pella and Apostolic Vicar of Quibdo, where he worked with exemplary dedication until 1983 when he was succeeded by the Claretian Jorge Ivan Castaño. With a missionary, joyful and tireless spirit, he knew how to give and receive the affection of the people to whom he gave himself and for whom he always lived.

Evangelize With Freedom

In mid-March, I left Rome for Catalonia. The fathers of the Company wanted me to settle in the city of Manresa, while the Rev. Father Fermin de Alcaraz wanted me to go to Berga, where missions were being held. Nevertheless, in view of my condition, I was given complete freedom to decide. I placed myself under observation in Olost. From Olost I went to Vic, where my superior told me to go to neither of the places that had been suggested but to Viladrau, and to this end I was named regent of the parish and left for Viladrau on May 13. Here I successfully recovered from my illness. (Aut 167)

In the parish of Viladrau there was an elderly and disabled pastor and an assistant pastor from the town itself…This was very convenient because it allowed me to start out on missions from there. (Aut 168)

 

How admirable God’s Providence is! He freed me from going to Berga, where my mere presence would have put me in danger because the royalists were in power there… (Aut 169)

FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION

 

Berga and Manresa were cities controlled by the two opposing political factions of that time. Thanks to the assignment he was given by the head of the diocese, Claret was able to evangelize with freedom.

  • Do you find dangers that could hinder your freedom as an evangelizer?
  • Does your attitude towards the various political tendencies diminish your missionary freedom?
  • Watch some scenes from the movie “Of Gods and men”.

 

“To live our Claretian missionary vocation with enthusiasm is the first condition for building the future that we all long for. It is not a matter of promoting some vain forms of triumphalism, but rather one of feeling glad to have been called to this family of evangelizers and of consolidating our sincere adherence to the project of life that has inspired that family and given it meaning.”

(Josep M. Abella Batlle, Witnesses and Messengers of the God of Life, 26)

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