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Antony Claret

(1807—1870)


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(1807–70),

archbishop of Cuba, founder of the Claretian congregation. Born at Sallent in northern Spain, Antony followed his father's trade of weaving before going to a seminary at Vich. He was ordained priest in 1835, went to Rome, and joined the Jesuits to devote himself to missionary work overseas. But his health broke down and he returned to Spain. For ten years he preached tirelessly in Catalonia, founding the congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, commonly called Claretians. Soon afterwards he was appointed to the turbulent see of Cuba, where he encountered all kinds of opposition, even attempted assassination. But in 1857 he resigned, returned to Spain to be the confessor of Queen Isabella II, and devoted himself to preaching and writing, especially in Catalan. A special feature of his apostolate was his emphasis on the printed as well as the spoken word: he is reputed to have published 200 books or pamphlets. His considerable cultural interests are also evidenced by his establishing, while Rector of the Escorial, a science laboratory and a natural history museum, with schools of music and of languages. At the revolution of 1868 he went into exile with Queen Isabella and died in the Cistercian monastery of Fontfroide, near Narbonne. He was canonized in 1950 by Pius XII. Feast: 24 October.

B.T.A., iv. 195–6;J. Echevarria, Reminiscences of Antony Claret (1938);D. Sargent, The Assignments of Antonio Claret (1950);see also the summary of his life in decree of canonization, A.A.S., xliv (1952), 345–58.

Subjects: Christianity.


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