St. Anthony Mary Claret was the Archbishop fo the Diocese of the Canary Islands. With a group of five other priests he was the Founder of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, also known as the Claretians. His feast day is celebrated by the Catholic Church on October 24, the day he died. He is the patron saint of the Catholic Press, Educators and weavers.
St. Anthony Mary Claret was born in Catalonia, Spain in 1807. At the age of twelve he became a weaver. He entered the seminary at Vic in 1829 and was ordained to the priesthood on June 13, 1835 on the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua, whom he was named after. He entered the Jesuit novitiate but had to leave due to his ill health.
St. Anthony Mary Claret was assigned to missionary work throughout Catalonia. In 1848 he was sent to the Canary Islands where he gave retreats for fifteen months. When he returned to Spain, he established the Congregation the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (The Claretians) on the feast of “Our Lady of Mt. Carmel" (July 16, 1848).
He also founded the religious library at Barcelona called “Libreria Religiosa”. It is now known as “Libreria Claret). He was appointed Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba in 1849. Over 9,000 marriages were validated within two years of his arrival. He began a hospital and several schools. The first women’s religious institute in Cuba was begun by St. Anthony. It was known as the Religious of Mary Institute.
In 1857 he was recalled to Spain and he became the Confessor to Queen Isabella II. He became a resident of an Italian Hospice. Preaching everywhere he went, he also distributed books. Eventually, his life in danger, he went to France where he preached in Paris.
In 1869, he participated in the First Vatican Council. He had to withdraw due to poor health. He died on Oct. 24, 1870, at the age of 62 in a Cistercian monastery in France.
The following quote is from St. Anthony Mary Claret:
“The man who burns with the fire of divine love is a son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and wherever he goes, he enkindles that flame. He desires and works with all his strength to inflame all men with the fire of God’s love. Nothing deters him, he rejoices in poverty, he labors strenuously, he welcomes hardships, he laughs off false accusations, he rejoices in anguish. He thinks only of how he might follow Jesus Christ and imitate him by his prayers, his labors, his sufferings, and be caring always and only for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.”