Saint Anthony Mary Claret: Apostolic Missionary, Ultramontane Champion and Crusher of Communism

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Saint Anthony Mary Claret: Apostolic Missionary, Ultramontane Champion and Crusher of Communism
Saint Anthony Mary Claret: Apostolic Missionary, Ultramontane Champion and Crusher of Communism

Saint Anthony Mary Claret was one of the greatest saints the world has ever seen. He was an apostle par excellence, preaching and prophesying everywhere he went. He zealously defended Papal rights and fought against the errors of his time, especially liberalism and communism.

Much can be said of this extraordinary saint. He was a visionary, a slave of Our Lady, an apostle, a counter-revolutionary, an ultramontane, a prophet, a miracle worker and the crusher of Communism.

This article will quickly summarize the life and legend of Saint Anthony Mary Claret.

Devotion to Our Lady

Saint Anthony was born in Sallent, Diocese of Vich, in Barcelona Province, Spain, on December 23, 1807.

From a very young age, he had a great devotion to Our Lady. He later said he never tired of praying to her, knowing she always listened to her faithful sons. This great devotion would be his salvation.

Conversion and Vocation to the Priesthood

Growing up, Saint Anthony was very involved in his father’s weaving business. He decided to go to Barcelona to study and master the craft since he was very talented in it.

Once in Barcelona, Saint Anthony focused on weaving. He would go to Mass on Sundays and feast days but spent the rest of his time and energy on weaving. Thus, he neglected his priestly vocation, which he perceived at a young age.

One day while wading in the sea, Saint Anthony was dragged by a huge wave that pulled him out into the deep. Since he could not swim, he called upon the Blessed Virgin to save him.

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He soon found himself on the shore, shocked and semi-conscious. When recovering, he realized that he had almost died and then contemplated the state of his life and vocation. He decided to change his ways and end his mediocre life by entering the Vich diocesan seminary to pursue his priestly vocation.

At the seminary, he came upon the book, True Devotion to Mary by Saint Louis de Montfort and consecrated himself as a slave to Our Lady.

Apostolic Missionary

After being ordained a priest, he felt called to missionary work. He profited from Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises and adopted the Jesuit missionary spirit.

In 1849, he founded the Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which sought to “imitate Jesus Christ in working, suffering and always seeking only the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls.” Pope Blessed Pius IX approved the congregation in 1865.

Shortly after the founding of his congregation, he was appointed Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba at the request of Queen Isabella II of Spain.

During his time in office, he reorganized the Santiago seminary and restored clerical discipline. In his first two years alone, he validated over 9,000 irregular marriages. He visited his entire diocese three times, preaching and distributing the sacraments while erecting a hospital and many vocational schools for young people.

His exceptionally powerful voice attracted multitudes. Churches and sometimes even city squares could not contain those who came to see him. Captivated by his holiness, many people would follow the saint to the next city, where its inhabitants would often go out upon the road to meet and welcome the man of God.

The saint immediately set to work, barely eating and only sleeping two hours a day.

Prophet and Exorcist

Saint Anthony was also well known for his prophecies and exorcisms.

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He predicted an earthquake or a plague that threatened the city. Announcing it as a chastisement from God, he would admonish the people to convert from their perverted ways.

He also predicted the deaths of people. Once, for example, he addressed some women, saying, “You, women, you think that you still have a long time to live, but you are mistaken. You will die in six months.”

He would exorcise demons from the crowd saying, “I will expel the Devil that hovers over this audience.” Following these statements, the multitude would see and hear many strange noises and phenomena.

At one point, a devil wounded his side so badly that his ribs were exposed. He prayed to Our Lady and was cured.

Miracle Worker and Visionary

The saint also worked many miracles and had numerous visions.

Witnesses saw his body become transfigured while praying or preaching. He would levitate off the ground, stop earthquakes and storms by praying and was even seen walking on water. While celebrating Mass, a supernatural light would radiate from his body. Queen Isabella wrote a statement declaring that she had personally witnessed the miracle.

Saint Anthony also had visions of both Our Lord and Our Lady. The most important vision was when Our Lord told Saint Anthony of three great evils then falling upon mankind:

  1. A series of enormous, horrifying wars.
  2. The four powerful demons of pleasure, love of money, false reasoning and a will separated from God.
  3. Communism.

Our Lord told the saint that Communism would be the great foe of humanity and that devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Rosary were the means to fight it.

Attempts on His Life

Saint Anthony also fought against Freemasonry. His opposition to the sect led to at least fifteen assassination attempts on his life. To prevent potential assassins from attacking him when pressed by crowds, the people devised a wooden frame in which he walked to keep anyone from getting close.

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One time, someone associated with Freemasonry stabbed his cheek. The person was captured and sentenced to prison. Another time, a person hired by Freemasonry was sent to kill Saint Anthony. The assassin entered the church where Saint Anthony was preaching. Upon getting close to the saint, the assassin heard Saint Anthony state that people would be sent to kill him. The words awakened sentiments of guilt, and he converted. After the sermon, the would-be assassin told the saint of the plot and asked for pardon. Saint Anthony then pardoned the man and helped him escape the Masons, who were plotting to kill him for his failure.

Because of the many assassination attempts, Saint Anthony was transferred to Spain to be the confessor of the Queen.

Royal Confessor to the Spanish Crown

When Saint Anthony arrived in 1857, he found that the Queen was a liberal. However, through his intercession and counseling, the Queen became very anti-liberal and was eventually overthrown.

For nine years, he was the rector of the Escorial monastic school, and whenever the opportunity arose, he would go out and preach to the people.

Ultramontane Champion

In 1869, he went to Rome to prepare for the First Vatican Council. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Ultramontane movement and always fought for the rights of the Papacy, including Papal Infallibility and Primacy.

Thus, he said:

“The dogmatic declaration of the Infallibility of the Supreme Pontiff is extremely necessary in the Church. It is a matter that is feared very much by evil men; for this they have done all the efforts possible so that it is not declared.

“Hopefully, in the confession of this truth I could shed all my blood. Hopefully, I could consummate my career confessing and saying from the abundance of my heart this great truth: I believe that the Supreme Pontiff is infallible!”

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Saint Anthony loved these principles so much that, during the Council, upon hearing anti-Papal arguments, he became full of indignation and suffered a stroke. He never recovered from its effects and died some months later.

Death and Canonization

Saint Anthony died on October 24, 1870, at age 62. He was canonized on May 7, 1950, by Pope Pius XII.

In 1897 his relics were transferred to Vic, Spain, where his heart was found incorrupt.

Let the intercession of this great saint obtain for us the grace to fight against Communism and all modern errors.

Saint Anthony Mary Claret, pray for us!

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