It was also my dream to visit the small chapel at Fussimanya where Little Claret often visited with her sister Rosa praying the rosary (Aut. No. 49). Claret’s devotion to Our Lady of Fussimanya was so amazing and he always felt emotional being with her. I could feel the tenderness of being close to this mother and offering myself telling “Mother here is your son”. I believe that it is in the contemplation of Mary at Fussimanya Claret found the powerful inspiration to follow Jesus and to generously dedicate himself to his apostolic ministry.
The high point of my stay in Vic was the Eucharistic Celebration at the crypt of the Church of Claret. Every Saturday the group of formators visited this Crypt and celebrated the Holy Eucharist. Standing by the sepulcher with the mortal remains of Claret, was always an inspiration to imbibe the real spirit of our founder and the patrimony of our congregation. Jesudoss, cmf. always reminded us that we are in the Bethlehem of Claretians.
It was also an occasion to visit the Claretian places in Barcelona. Barcelona is important city for us because it is here Anthony Mary Claret lived as a young textile student and industrial technician. Later on, he preached here as missionary and Archbishop. Also here he founded the publishing house of his Religious Library. In this city, as royal confessor, he accompanied Queen Isabel II and the royal family and above all as founder, he lived together with his missionaries, the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In Barcelona the most blessed moment for me was visiting the elderly Claretians in our community. I felt so privileged to be with many holy Claretians specially with Joan Sidera cmf the eldest Claretian in the world, 99 years old. I was told that he is the last person from the generation of martyrs of Barbastro. His short message for us during our visit was that “you are formators and therefore be well formed”.
I was also fortunate to visit Frontfroide Monastery in France. When Antony Mary Claret arrived at the Monastery in a hot afternoon on August 6, 1870, he was suffering from persecution and illness. Here, he was welcomed by the Prior and stayed in the same guesthouse that I could visit with my other companions. He lived here for two months, praying and writing; and here he endured his last illness that since early October forced him to stay in bed until his death occurred on 24th October 1870. We were in a way fortunate to celebrate the holy Eucharist in one of the small Chapels in this monastery (at present it is no more a monastery) even though we had to face some difficulties on our arrival. Indeed it was God’s will that we were allowed to celebrate the Eucharist.
According to the testimony of Fr Francisco Xavier (abbot of Frontfroide in 1902), Fr. Claret would come down every day in the morning to the great and beautiful Monastery church; after a long preparation he used to celebrate Mass. He also would go down to the church every day to visit the Blessed Sacrament. Claret did not follow the daily timetable of the monks. However, he sometimes attended the conventual mass, always sitting on a modest seat in the choir. I could also visit the simple cemetery where he was buried, on whose tombstone the following epitaph can be read: “I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile” (Gregory VIII).