Committed to the service of the word
Claret's initiative was not improvised. For a long time he had been thinking about the convenience, first of all, of preparing priests for the preaching of the Gospel, and then, of getting together with those who were animated "by his own spirit," to do with them, what he could not do alone. His experience as an itinerant missionary throughout Catalonia and the Canaries had carried him to the conviction that the people needed to be evangelized and that there were not enough priests prepared and zealous for this mission. However, as Claret himself recognized, it was not his own idea, but a divine inspiration that led him to set in motion an enterprise as risky as it was fragile.
At this moment, another one of the co-founders, Jose Xifre, assumes the leadership. Archbishop Claret, called to Madrid in 1857 to become Confessor of Queen Isabel II, tried to be very close to the new Superior General and to all the missionaries : he participated in the General Chapters, wrote the Constitutions which were approved by the Holy See on February 11, 1870, a few months before his death, gave directives and financially contributed in their needs. For the Congregation and by order of the Superior General, he wrote his Autobiography in 1862.
The Congregation suffered a new and serious trial. With the 1968 revolution the Congregation was civilly suppressed, a good number of missionaries had to take refuge in France and the Archbishop Claret had to go into exile, where he died a holy death in 1870. This is the time of the first martyr, Fr. Francis Crusats. However, the Founder could still see with great satisfaction how houses were being founded in different regions of Spain and even reached Algiers and Chile.
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