Antony María Claret, was born at Sallent in Spain, of pious and respectable parents. As a youth he practiced the weaver's trade, but later became priest. After some time in the parochial ministry, he went to Rome, hoping that the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith would send him to the foreign missions. But God disposed otherwise, and he returned to Spain, where he traveled throughout Catalonia and the Canary Islands as an apostolic missionary. Besides writing many worthwhile books, he founded the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Having been appointed archbishop of Santiago in Cuba, he was conspicuous for the virtues of a zealous shepherd. He restored the seminary, promoted the teaching and the discipline of the clergy, started projects for social welfare, and founded the teaching Sisters of Mary Immaculate for the Christian education of girls. At length having been summoned to Madrid, to become confessor to the Queen of Spain and her adviser in the most serious affairs of the Church, he gave an outstanding example of austerity and of all virtues. At the Vatican Council he strenuously defended the infallibility of the Pope. He was responsible for a remarkable spread of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and her Rosary. Finally he died in exile at Fontfroide in France in the year 1870. Renowned for his miracles, he was beatified by Pope Pius XI and canonized by Pius XII.
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