Roman Catholics led by Claretian communities in many parts of the world, including the Philippines, will commemorate Saturday (Oct. 24) the Feast of Saint Anthony (San Antonio) Claret, a well-loved Spanish bishop and founder of the Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, more popularly known as the Claretians.
Ordained priest in the year 1835, St. Anthony was a missionary worker, confessor, preacher, and religious writer. He authored around 200 spiritual books, the most famous of which was “The Right Way,” which was read by millions of Catholics across the world.
He promoted the teaching and discipline of the clergy and popularized devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the holy rosary.
Born in Catalonia, Spain on December 23, 1807, he served as archbishop of Santiago in Cuba for seven years. In 1849, he founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, whose main apostolate was local and foreign missions. The Claretians, in the early 21st century had over 450 houses and 3100 members, with missions in five continents,
In 1842, the Vatican declared St. Anthony as “Apostolic Missionary.” He died in 1870 and was canonized by Pope Pius XII on May 7, 1950.