The Congregation

The Claretians of the United States and Canada are part of a worldwide Congregation of approximately 3,019 missionaries in 68 countries. Our Congregation, Sons of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary – or Claretian Missionaries – ( was founded by Saint Anthony Mary Claret in Vic, Spain, on July 16, 1849, and was approved by Pope Pius IX on December 22, 1865. A timeline of St. Claret’s life follows.

Brief Biography of St. Anthony Mary Claret

1807Born, December 23 in Sallent (near Barcelona), Spain, of a profoundly religious family of weavers.
1825At 18, goes to Barcelona to learn new methods in textile manufacturing.
1829After a failed attempt to enter the Carthusians, enters the Seminary of Vic. In 1830 decides to become a diocesan priest.
1835 Ordination to the priesthood. Appointed administrator of his home parish.
1839Enters the Jesuit Novitiate in Rome. After a few profitable months, a mysterious leg ailment forces him to leave.
1840 Begins his missionary preaching journeys between parish duties.
1843-1847Missionary campaigns. He travels throughout Catalonia (Spain) on foot, preaching ceaselessly and distributing books and leaflets he has written.
1848 Goes to the Canary Islands, where he carries out an apostolate, the effects of which are remembered to this day.
1849July 16. After his return to Catalonia, he founds the Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretian Missionaries).
1850October 6. Consecrated by Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba.
1851February 16. Arrives in Santiago, Cuba.
1851-1855Reforms the clergy, creates new parishes, sets up credit unions, and sends a missionary team to preach continually throughout his diocese. He makes three pastoral visits of the whole diocese, traveling by mule and on foot.
1856February 1. During his fourth pastoral visit, at Holguin, an attempt is made on his life. He is seriously wounded in his face and one of his arms.
1857-1867Queen Isabella II calls him back to Madrid and appoints him her Confessor. He commits himself to write and edit books and to preach missions in all cities visited by the queen. Rewrites the Constitutions of his Missionaries, presides over their first Chapter, and wins the approval of the Queen and the Holy See.
1868September 30. Leaves Spain for France at the outbreak of a revolution, accompanying the Queen into exile.
1869April 2. Arrives in Rome and takes part in meetings with theologians in preparation for the First Vatican Council.

December 8. Attends sessions of the Council.
1870May 31. At a public session of the Council, he delivers an address in defense of papal infallibility.

Returns to France to live with his Missionaries. Then he takes refuge in the Cistercian monastery of Fontfroide.

October 24. Dies a holy death, surrounded by his Missionaries and the Cistercian monks.
1950 May 8. Anthony Mary Claret is canonized a Saint by Pope Pius XII.