Oct. 24 - Saint Anthony Mary Claret

St. Anthony Mary Claret (1807–1870) was born in Spain, the fifth of eleven children, the same year Napoleon invaded the country. He took up his father's trade of weaving before entering the priesthood. He served as a parish priest with a missionary's zeal for the salvation of souls. He often preached multiple sermons in a single day, traveled to preach parish missions and retreats for the clergy, and heard confessions for hours on end. His labors were rewarded by many people returning to a fervent practice of the Catholic faith, especially as a result of his meek and gentle manner. He was made Archbishop of Santiago and sent to Cuba from 1849-1857. His great reforms of the neglected diocese, both ecclesiastically and socially, were so sweeping and effective that his life was threatened. He was recalled back to Spain as confessor to the queen, where his tireless and fruitful priestly work continued. To increase his apostolic efforts he founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, known today as the Claretians. He also founded a major Catholic publisher in Spain, and wrote or published hundreds of books. He was so opposed in his efforts that he was severely persecuted and eventually exiled to Paris, along with the Spanish queen, by revolutionary enemies of religion. He took part in the First Vatican Council, his wisdom and sanctity being evident to all, before suffering a stroke and dying in exile in France. During his life St. Anthony Marie Claret had the gift of prophesy and reading of consciences, in addition to performing many miracles. A resplendent light was also observed to shine from his face as he offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. His feast day is October 24th.

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