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SELECTED PASSAGES FROM THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF
ST. ANTHONY MARY CLARET

IMPRESSIONS FROM CLARET'S CORRESPONDENCE

On April 24 (1869), I saw the Supreme Pontiff, the immortal Pius IX. We had arrived in Rome on April 2, and on April 3 I petitioned for an audience. On April 11 I attended Mass with the other bishops and, because many outsiders had come to see the Pope, I was in hopes that I could talk with him again at greater length. Well, in fact I have spoken with him at length and he was most kind and consoling. He told me, "Caro mio, I know the slanders and evil things that have been said against you. I have read them." Then he began to quote the Scriptures and give me reasons for consolation; but, thank God, I was and am at peace. When my turn came to speak I told him, "Holy Father, the disciple should not be more respected than his teacher, nor the servant than his master." On hearing me say this, and seeing my tranquility, the Pope manifested the joy he felt in his heart and he went on to talk of other matters (Letter to Xifre, May 2, 1869).

I have suffered more than usual and have felt a deep desire to die. It seems to me that I have fulfilled my mission. In Paris and In Rome I have preached God's Law: Paris, the capital of the world and Rome, the capital of Catholicism. I have done this both by word of mouth and by writing. I have observed holy poverty in what concerns me and today, thank God, I receive nothing from the diocese of Cuba or the queen. (Letter to Currius, October 2, 1869)

The labors and fatigues of the Council have kept me very busy upholding and defending the rights of the Church and the Holy Father. In the presence of all the patriarchs, archbishops, and bishops, in full session, I stated from the pulpit that I was ready to give my life's blood for this cause. My words made a deep impression... (Letter to Mother Paris).

With the Lord's help I am disposed and resigned to God's will, whether He gives me good health or this indisposition(not to mention that of the hernia, which often causes me a great deal of suffering); even if He should choose to send me death, I put myself entirely in his holy hands.(Letter to Xifre, July 1870)

May 26, 1870: My desire is to die, in order to go to heaven and be united to God. "I desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ." Like the Blessed Virgin Mary, my sweet Mother.

I have to be like a candle that burns and spends its wax and light until it goes out. The members of the body seeks to be united to their head, iron filings are drawn to the magnet, and I want to be united with Jesus in the Eucharist and in heaven.

Jesus is the head of the Church; Mary is its neck, and what is most immediate about her is her heart.

The arms of Mary are the Missionaries of her Congregation who will work zealously, hold everyone in their embrace, and pray to Jesus and Mary. The Blessed Virgin Mary will use them as her arms and maternal breasts, to feed her little ones, as a mother would seek out the services of a wet nurse. Yes, the Missionaries are wet nurses, who must feed the poor at the breasts of wisdom and love, and provide for them equally from these two breasts. Thus, like good and healthy mothers, they must see to it that they, too, eat frequently – both for themselves and for the sake of those they have to feed, just as all good nurses do. The food they must take is prayer – mental, vocal, and ejaculatory – and spiritual reading, moral theology, dogma, and sermons.

Parting words to the Congregation:

I am still of the opinion I spoke to you about on the night we left Prades, namely, that I should go to Rome. I can't be of any help to you, nor you to me. On the contrary, I believe that we will be prejudicial to one another, without wanting or intending to do so. I am a mysterious being... like a refugee ... like a fugitive from justice, and what's worse, I don't know how long this can go on. Hence, I have resolved to depart..... If you wish to bid me a final farewell, I will wait for you; if not, let this be my farewell to you and all the members of the Congregation.(Letter to Father Xifre, August 15, 1870)

CMF
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