This statue of St. Anthony Mary Claret, founder of the Claretian order, is found on the campus of Mount Claret Retreat Center in Phoenix. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)
Painting of St. Anthony Mary Claret, whose feast day is celebrated Oct. 24. (Public Domain)

Oct. 24

Anthony Mary Claret was born in Spain in 1807 and like his father, he was a weaver by trade. In his spare time, he studied Latin, and at the age of 22, he entered the seminary, and was ordained in 1835. He became a Jesuit novice in Rome, but failing health prompted his return to Spain.

He preached and worked in the missions for 10 years and then, in 1849, he founded the Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, or Claretians. Shortly thereafter, he was named Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba. While he was archbishop, he successfully reformed the clergy and the laity.

He returned to Spain to be Queen Isabella II’s confessor, to oversee his congregation, and to publish a few books. Anthony was committed to the Claretians’ mission of evangelization, especially through publishing.

In 1868, due to the Spanish Revolution, both Archbishop Claret and the queen were exiled. After the First Vatican Council, the archbishop sought refuge at a Cistercian monastery in France, where he died in 1870. He was canonized in 1950. His feast day is Oct. 24.

Currently Claretian priests serve at Sacred Heart Parish in Prescott and St. Catherine Labouré Parish in Chino Valley. The Mount Claret Retreat Center, established in 1989, was named for the saint.

Parts of this story were taken from Catholic News Agency.