CONGREGATION OF MISSIONARIES
SONS OF THE
IMMACULATE HEART OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Place/Date of Foundation: Vich, Barcelona, Spain/July 16, 1849
Philippine Foundation: 1946
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The Congregation of Missionaries, Sons of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary was founded on the 16th of July 1849 in a small room in the Seminary of Vich in Barcelona, Spain by St. Anthony Mary Claret y Clara and his co-founders Jaume Clotet, Josép Xifré, Dominique Fabregas, Esteban Sala, & Manuel Vilaró. Anthony Claret had been thinking for a long time about preparing priests to proclaim the Gospel and bringing together a group of priests who shared his vision to accomplish works he could not do alone. Through his evangelizing missionary work i
Catalonia and the Canary Islands he was convinced that people needed to be evangelized and
there were not as much priests who were sufficiently prepared or zealous enough for this mission.
He was a humble man who knew that his vision came from God and not through his own means.
Only 20 days after its founding, Anthony Claret received news of his appointment as Archbishop
of Cuba which he accepted with reluctance. The Congregation was left in God’s hands and under
the guidance of one of the co-founders, Esteban Sala, who died in 1858. Another co-founder, José
Xifré, took over the directorship.
Archbishop Claret, called back from Cuba to Madrid, Spain to be Confessor to Queen Isabella
II, contrived to remain very close to the new Superior General and to all the missionaries. He
attended the General Chapters. He gave spiritual and financial guidance to his religious institute.
He also wrote his autobiography for the good of the Congregation and at the order of the Superior
General, who had previously been his spiritual director. With the coming of the Revolution of
1868, the Congregation was suppressed by the state and all the Missionaries had to seek refuge
in France, Archbishop Claret also had to go into exile there. He played a major role editing the
Constitutions, which the Holy See approved on February 11, 1870, only a few months before his
death in the Monastery of Frontfroide, France.