Dear Sacred Heart Family,
On this day in 1870 our father Founder, St. Anthony Mary Claret, was welcomed to his eternal reward after a short illness that had him cut short his participation in the 1st Vatican Council. It is amazing to consider
that he was the only participant in the entire council that has been declared a saint. His life was extraordinary and one that has inspired 1,000’s of individuals to serve Christ as a missionary. The value of his life was the focus of our recent retreat as they speak to the direction our own bishop is hoping to guide our diocese.
St. Anthony Mary Claret was born in 1807 to a devout family in Sallent Spain (near Barcelona). There he excelled in the family business of textiles as well as having a strong faith life. He heard his call to priesthood while in textile school and working in Barcelona after reflecting on one verse (Mark 8:38) “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”
What followed was 40 plus years of tireless service to God, first as a diocesan priest and later as the founder of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1849 with 5 other priests who had “a heart for the world” like him. Within this time, he was named as archbishop of (Santiago) Cuba transforming the church even though 13 attempts were made on his life.
In addition to his prolific spiritual writing (he wrote the most published book of the 19th century, The Straight and Path), he was named as confessor to the Queen Isabella II (1857) whom he accompanied in all her travels, even when she was exiled to France in 1868. He later split from her for their safety and after speaking at the first Vatican Council on the Immaculate Conception of Mary and infallibility (the only teachings approved at the Council) he returned to his exile in France where he died.
The pillars of his life speak well to the hopes I have for our parish which are: devotion to the Word of God, Mary, and the Eucharist as well as building community with a mission to serve those most in need. In the coming weeks and months please watch for the ways we will bring more of these to life in our parish and in our diocese as the world need his example more than ever.
With a heart for Mission,