St. Anthony Mary Claret
December 23, 1807-October 24,
Canonized in 1950
Patron of Weavers and Savings
The well-liked Spanish priest Anthony Claret
was the fifth of eleven children. His family was poor but hard working
at the family trade of weaving. Anthony's earliest memories of home
the family's praying the Rosary and going to church which imbued him
a deep love and devotion to Jesus and Mary.
By age twenty-one
Anthony had been educated and was in much demand for his skill as a
At one time he suffered because of poor health, and during the days of
recovery he imagined himself as a Carthusian monk. Anthony went to the
bishop for advice. The bishop suggested that he first go to the
seminary and then, if he wished, leave and become a monk. Anthony
this advice and enjoyed seminary life. He was ordained two years
than usual because of a civil war in Spain.
Anthony finally realized
that his health would prevent him from being a monk or a Jesuit
He was sent to a small mountain village where he studied medicine and
many of the sick. He discovered his power to read hearts and his
to understand people.
Anthony began a busy
schedule of preaching throughout Spain. His gentle faith and great
in spreading devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and in reviving
to the Eucharist made him a popular preacher. He also published a
that led the bishop of the Canary Islands to invite him to preach there
for a year, fulfilling Anthony's dream to be a missionary.
When Anthony returned
to Spain, he founded a congregation called the Missionary Sons of the
Heart of Mary [Claretians]. Then he was assigned as archbishop of Cuba.
Not having had an archbishop for fourteen years, the island was in need
of renewal. Anthony reorganized the seminary training, preached in all
the churches, heard confessions, and guided people to Christ. He worked
for updated farm methods and credit unions. He wanted the people to own
their own farms, knowing that this would improve family life. He made
by teaching black slaves. Fifteen times people tried to assassinate
Once a man stabbed him and was given a death sentence, but Anthony had
this changed to a prison sentence.
After eight years, Anthony
was called to Spain to be Queen Isabella II's confessor: he would not
at the palace but come only to hear her confession and instruct the
This freed him to open a religious publishing house and write more than
two hundred books and pamphlets.
In 1886 a revolution took
place, and those associated with the court were accused of treason.
fled to Rome where Vatican Council I was in session. There he defended
the infallibility of the pope. Then he retired to a Cistercian
in France where he stayed in solitude until his death. His Feast Day is