Brief History Of The Congregation/Order
Our Congregation was founded on August 25, 1855 in Santiago de Cuba by Venerable Maria Antonia Paris and Saint Anthony Mary Claret.
Maria Antonia Paris was born in Spain, Valmoll on June 28, 1813. She desired to consecrate her life entirely to God and for this reason she entered the Company of Mary, but due to the persecution of the Church in Spain, remained a postulant for 9 years.
As a postulant, in 1842 in Tarragona, Anthonia had internal experience which changed and marked her life. When she was praying in front of the Crucified Jesus asking for the needs of the Church persecuted in Spain, to her surprise, she understood that the ultimate cause of it did not lie in the governments, but in the Church’s lack of faithfulness to the Gospel. God wanted the Church and religious orders within it to return to the lifestyle of apostles. Antonia saw the book of Holy Gospel imprinting inside her heart and understood that Jesus asked her to work for the renewal of the Church by living strictly evangelical life and teaching it to every creature. Then she asked God “How will I do this?” And He answered “ A new order I want, not new in its doctrine, but in its practice”. During the same experience she understood that st Anthony Mary Claret, then a well-known missionary priest, will be the one to help her.
It was some years later, when Claret became an Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba, he invited her and 4 companions to start a new order there. On February 22, 1852, she left Spain for Cuba and crossed the Atlantic Ocean with boldness and decision to do God’s will whatever it may cost. Claret’s missionary insight, coupled with Maria Anthonia’s desire for a life of radical faithfulness to the Gospel, converged into a new form of religious life in the Church.
Both Founders saw the need for the renewal of the Church and they designed a plan of renewal “to help the Church to restore its beauty”. The new order was to be an essential element of this work of renewal with its testimony and work of evangelization. Antonia went as far as sending Pope Pius IX a draft of this plan, which was rooted in a life of simplicity, joyful poverty, community, prayer and proclamation of the Gospel to all baptized, but especially to consecrated persons. One hundred years later, the Second Vatican Council has spoken in similar terms about the renewal of the Church.
On August 25, 1855 the new order – Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters – was officially founded in Santiago de Cuba by Venerable Maria Antonia Paris and St Anthony Mary Claret. Our first apostolate of evangelization was education of the girls. Soon other convents were established both in Cuba and in Spain with the school for girls in each one of them.
Antonia spent last years in Spain and died on January 17, 1885. The Church proclaimed her heroic virtues on December 23,1993.
Our Founder St Anthony Mary Claret was born in Spain, Sallent on December 23, 1807. At a very early age of 5 he had a strong sense of the eternal life that God wanted all men and women to enjoy. He wanted to spare sinners eternal unhappiness and felt moved to work for their salvation. When he was 17, his father sent him to Barcelona to study the latest technique of textile manufacturing so that he may later help him in family textile enterprise. But one day during mass the words of the Gospel kept resounding in his heart “ what good is it for a man to win the whole word if he loses his soul?”. Claret, after a time of discernment decided to give up business and to become a priest. His missionary zeal of working for the salvation of souls made him to leave parish work and to go to Rome where he entered Jesuits Order to be sent to foreign mission. Yet, this was not in God’s plans, and he returned to Spain. There he was preaching popular missions all over Catalonia and Canary Islands. He travelled on foot, attracting large crowds with his sermons. He dedicated his work to Mary, felt forged by her and sent by Her as an apostle.
To make his work more effective, on 1849, he founded the congregation of Sons of the Heart of Mary Immaculate, later known as Claretian Missionaries.
He was appointed Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba, where he worked tirelessly preaching the word of God, reforming seminary, establishing institutions promoting human development and fighting racism and slavery. He wrote countless books about spirituality.
In 1857 Claret was called back to Spain to be confessor of Queen Izabella II. Being in the Spanish court he looked for every opportunity to preach, especially accompanying the Queen during official travels.
He participated in Vatican I council where he defended teaching about papal infallibility. He died on exile in Fontfroide, France on October 24, 1870. Claret was beatified in 1834 and canonized in 1850 by Pope Pius XII.
After death of our Founders the Congregation spread into 25 countries on 4 continents. Our forst community in Nigeria was founded in Owerri, Imo State in 2008 and the second in Aondona, Benue State in 2016.
Canonical Status, Pontifical Right, 24th August 1920Motto – “One Family, One Heart”
Charism – “Our reason for being in the Church is that God may be known and loved by all”Mission/Vision Statement, – Our MISSION Today, As Religious Of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters Is To Live Out And Joyfully Announce The Good News Of Jesus Seeking The Kingdom Of God And Its Justice Creatively In Any Form Of Evangelization And Contribute To The Renewal Of The Church In Fraternity And Evangelical Poverty.
We Privilege The Proclamation Of The Gospel Among The Most Needy And Excluded, Those Who Have Lost Faith, Those Who Do Not Know Christ.
We Denounce Situations Of Injustice And Contribute In The Search For Alternatives, In Dialogue And Discernment.
We bring The Words And Gestures Of Jesus to the hearts of men and women as a way of humanization and hope. We get involved in the reality of the people, like Jesus who touched the daily life of the sick, the poor, women, children and foreigners.
Our way of living is rooted in the Experience Of God And Community. We care for our Ongoing Formation to be in tune with the challenges of the times.
Apostolate & purpose – Our missionary commitments are in :
- Schools (Educational Centers)
- Social Works
- Mission Ad-Gentes
- Youth Groups
- Spirituality Houses
- Apostolate With Consecrated
- Pastoral Care In Parishes And Dioceses
- Spiritual Exercises
- Written Word
Postal Address, Email:
Claretian Missionary Sisters
Secret Heart Parish In Redemption Estate
Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria
Email – Claretiansistersnigeria@Gmail.Com
Formation Houses And Contact/Phone Numbers
Postulancy – Owerri, Obinze – 07034850118, 08101833394
Contact /Residential Address Of The Congregation
Date And Place Founded:
25 AUGUST, 1855 In Santiago De Cuba
List Of Member:
- Sr. Vivian Anyanwu
- Sr. Anna Daszkowska
- Sr. Angelica Emereonye
- Sr. Agueda Kasongo
- Sr. Felicia Kwaghvihi
- Sr. Jeannette Namwisi
- Sr. Vivian Okoro
Superior Representative –
Sr Anna Daszkowska, RMI