OCTOBER 24, 2012 St. Anthony Marie Claret

The saint of today, like all the saints of the Catholic Church, are given to us to teach us something of how to achieve our destiny in heaven. Each has a really important message for us.

St. Anthony Marie Claret is a perfect example.

He was born 23 December1807 in Catalonia in a family of weavers. He followed that trade but soon felt called to the Priesthood. He tried to enter the Carthusians as well as the Jesuits, but was preventerd in both efforts by ill health. He entered the seminary of the diocese of Vic and, after ordination in 1835, he became a Missionary; preaching in poor villages in that country. Little by little he attracted other priests to join him and thus founded, at 42 years of age, an Institute of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary ; which we call the “Claretians”.

Eventually he was raised to the Episcopacy and in due time appointed Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba. This was a very prestigious position because he thus was the Primate of that Ecclesiastical Province.

However, his work was very difficult because the wealthy magnates were very venal. They flaunted the sanctity of Marriage and brazenly oppressed their workers. Anthony went about Cuba preaching and trying to remedy the situation. He tried to help the people to have family farms with diverse products that they could eat. However the wealthy were making their money with sugar that favored monoculture.

Naturally, the wealthy and powerful did not appreciate his efforts to call them to task and they opposed him even to the point of trying to assassinate him. Fortunately the assassin only scarred his face. St. Anhony suceeded I having the death sentence of the assassin commuted to a prison term However, his enemies went to Rome and made such a fuss that the Pope recalled him to Spain.

Being such a high-ranking Archbishop, he was appointed Confessor to the Queen Isabella II of of Spain who was reigning after the death of the King..

He was active at the First Vatican Council in Rome but while he was there, turmoil broke out in Spain. A revolution took place, the Queen , to keep political control, recognized the Masonic revolutionaries of Italy and Spain.. Eventually she was exiled to Paris.

As the Confessor, Archbishop Anthony worked to reconcile her to the Church and lived in France. He continued to serve the exiled Queen’s spiritual needs until he died..

Note the picture. He was deposed as Primate of Cuba and now was reduced to being a confessor to a single charge – an impoverished old woman. He even had to use what funds he had to help her in a hidden way.

Yet he remained faithful to the work that the Lord had given him; carrying out his spiritual duties in spite of all the changes taking place around him.

He died an obscure person but is honored by the Church as a witness to his importance that God sees for a single human being. There is no one that God rejects. He works to save everyone . We cannot look at the external power or wealth of lack of it as a sign of the ultimate destiny of anyone. Thus, the most repulsive street person is as important in the eyes of God and His Church as the Pope himself.

It is obvious that we Catholics must respect and show compassion to everyone we meet, no matter what the circumstances because our task is to bring each person closer to God by our example, prayers and sacrifices.

That is a very important lesson for our times.