Saint of the day
St. Anthony Mary Claret
Anthony was born in Spain in 1807. It was the same year that Napoleon invaded that country. Perhaps that was a hint of the exciting events that would follow Anthony throughout his life. He became a priest in 1835 and was assigned to his home parish. For the next ten years, he preached missions and retreats in Catalonia. Later he went to the Canary Islands and worked in the missions for about a year.
In 1849, Anthony started a new religious Order called the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They are known as Claretians. This Order is dedicated to the work of preaching missions in parishes.
Queen Isabella II of Spain thought highly of St. Anthony. She suggested that he was the best person to become archbishop of Santiago, Cuba. His apostolate in Cuba turned out to be an exciting seven years. Archbishop Anthony visited parishes, speaking out against social evils, especially slavery. He blessed marriages and baptized children. He was a reformer who had enemies who opposed the changes he introduced. He received death threats often, and was wounded in an assassination attempt, but he did not stop his wonderful work until he was recalled to Spain in 1857.
During Anthony’s priesthood he was head of a seminary in Madrid. He established the school of St. Michael to foster the study of arts and literature, and he even tried to start a school of agriculture. Father Anthony was convinced of the power of the printed word. He wrote 144 books and pamphlets, and preached over 25,000 sermons! His best-known book, The Right Way, has reached millions of people. He went to Rome to attend Vatican Council I in 1869, and he died in 1870. St. Anthony Mary Claret was declared a saint by Pope Pius XII in 1950.
St. Anthony Claret shows us how to have a missionary heart. We can pray for people all over the world, especially those who are suffering and poor. We can also help bring the light of the Gospel to other lands by giving some of our spending money to the missions.