The Congregation of the Claretian Missionaries, Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was founded in Spain on July 16, 1849. Starting today, July 14th, we are inviting you to pray a triduum with us and we will be sharing about those who founded the Congregation along with St. Anthony Mary Claret.
Day 1 (July 14)
Stephen Sala (Co-Founder)
Stephen Sala was born on May 28, 1812 in Barcelona. Inspired by Fr. Claret’s Spiritual Exercises, Fr. Sala accompanied Fr. Claret in many of his missions. He was the first person Fr. Claret recruited for the foundation of the Congregation. When Fr. Claret went to Cuba as Archbishop, he appointed Fr. Sala as his successor as Superior General of the Congregation. Fr. Xifré wrote about him: “He was most humble and meek of heart, zealous and, above all, so chaste and pure of heart that we do not hesitate to assert that he never in his life lost his baptismal grace.”
Josep Xifré (Co-Founder)
Josep Xifré was born in Barcelona on February 18, 1817. Josep Xifré providentially met Fr. Claret who had gone to Rome with the intention of joining the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. His apostolic spirit was very similar to Claret’s. Together with Fr. Claret, he founded the Congregation of Missionaries. After the death of Fr. Stephen Sala, he was designated as the third Superior General and held this office until his death. It was he who ordered Fr. Claret to write his Autobiography. He accompanied Fr. Claret during the last days of his life in Fontfroide, gave him the last sacraments and received his religious profession.
Lord, pour out the spirit you gave to St. Anthony Mary Claret on us whom you have called to follow Jesus in the Congregation of Claretian Missionaries, Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary so that we may announce the Gospel to all people. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Day 2 (July 15)
Manuel Vilaró (Co-Founder)
Manuel Vilaró was born in Vic on September 22, 1816. He was among the first to accompany Fr. Claret in his apostolic works. Because of his outstanding qualities, he was chosen for the foundation of the Congregation. It was he that, upon hearing Fr. Claret’s statement, “A great work begins today,” with a humorous smile, retorted: “How important can it be, since we are so young and so few?” Claret answered, “You will soon see. If we are few and young, then God’s great power will shine forth even more resplendently.”
Dominic Fábregas (Co-Founder)
Dominic Fábregas was born in Orís on July 10, 1817. He was rather short, simple and timid, of a somewhat melancholic character, industrious, with a clear and penetrating voice that drew large audiences to his sermons. He encountered Fr. Claret in Rome. He was ordained a priest in Rome. Back in Spain, he devoted himself to evangelize until one day he was called by Bishop Casadevall who invited him to get in touch with Fr. Claret. On July 16, 1849 he founded the Congregation together with Claret and the other companions. He was a General Consultor of the Congregation.
Lord, may your Word and the teaching and example of St. Anthony Mary Claret impel us to serve, with all our might, in the building up and growth of the Church. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Day 3 (July 16)
Venerable Jaime Clotet (Co-Founder)
Jaime Clotet was born in Manresa on July 24, 1822. Advised by Fr. Passarell, secretary to the Bishop of Vic, he met Fr. Claret. In July he joined Fr. Claret to found the Congregation. In 1870 he accompanied Fr. Claret in his last days in Fontfroide, and later on he wrote a Summary of his Life. His cause of Beatification has already been introduced in Rome. We end with this brief profile written by a biographer: “He was well loved and venerated by all, a tireless forger of his own Christian and religious perfection; solicitous for the welfare of everyone; he passed by this world leaving behind a delicate scent of sanctity. He had no enemy at all.”
Saint Anthony Mary Claret (Founder)
For a long time, Fr. Claret had been thinking of preparing priests who were endowed by the same spirit as he was for the preaching of the Gospel. His experience as an itinerant missionary throughout Catalonia and the Canaries had carried him to the conviction that the people needed to be evangelized and that there were not enough priests prepared and zealous for this mission. However, as Claret himself recognized, it was not his own idea, but a divine inspiration. On July 16, 1849, Saint Anthony Mary Claret, together with five young priests, founded the Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary with the words, “A great work begins today.”
Gathered into one community in order to collaborate in the ministry of the word, Lord grant that we may pool our personal gifts for the service of the common mission. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Could you be called to a vocation to serve the people of God as a missionary? Check out www.myclaret.org to find out more and contact a vocation director who will be happy to accompany you on your discernment journey.