The last General Chapter invites us to “drink from the source of our Claretian spirituality in its origin and development” (QC 48).
Remembering the life of Fr. Clotet allows us to approach the sources of our Claretian spirituality in its origin and in its first development. Fr. Jaime Clotet was the youngest missionary of the five who gathered together with Fr. Claret in the cell of the seminary of Vic on 16 July 1849 for the foundation of our Congregation; he was almost 27 years old (he turned 27 just nine days later). He was a privileged witness of the awakening of our missionary charism in the Church from a strategic vantage point, since he was Sub-Director General for thirty years, from 1858 to 1888. He was also the formator of the first generations of Brothers in the Congregation, for whom, as early as 1858, he wrote the Directori dels Hermanos Adjudants. The disagreements he had with Fr. Xifré are testimony to his delicate spirit and his desire to attend to the missionaries with the utmost loyalty. Fr. Clotet and Fr. Xifré, with their unconditional love and dedication to the Congregation, show us that fraternal love makes it possible to overcome difficulties and integrate differences.
He was the missionary of the first century of our Congregation who most admired the Founder. Although they only lived together for a short time, he had the good fortune to accompany him during his last illness and his death in the monastery of Fontfroide (France). The letters he sent daily to the Superior General and to other Missionaries and friends informing them of the progress of his illness and death are a true monument of his filial love. We can consider Fr. Clotet as the main biographer of Fr. Claret in the first hour of Claretian history. He collected many documents and testimonies of people who had dealt directly with the Founder. In the weeks following the death of Fr. Claret he published in the Diocesan Bulletin of Vic some warm biographical Notes of His Excellency and Illustrious Antonio María Claret, and immediately promoted the publication of the first biography of the Saint, composed by his friend Francisco de Asís Aguilar, to whom he provided abundant and valuable information. In 1882 he published his Resumen de la Admirable Vida del Excmo. e Ilmo. Antonio María Claret y Clará, a biography followed by a rich collection of testimonies. Finally, commissioned by Fr. José Xifré, in 1891-92 he wrote the Vida Edificante del P. Claret, Misionero y Fundador, of almost 1,000 pages, which remained unpublished until the year 2000. From 1889 onwards, he worked hard for the beatification of the Founder. To Fr. Clotet we owe a great part of the documentary wealth we have to delve into the life and spirit of Fr Claret.
Fr. Clotet was a great missionary, especially in his dedication to preaching, especially to the catechesis of the deaf. At a time when these people were excluded from society and neglected in their education, Fr. Clotet devoted himself with love and passion to their evangelization. He published a catechism and a catechist’s manual for them. Various Catalan groups of people with this disability have special gratitude and devotion to him. In Mexico City, there is a school for them dedicated to his memory.In June 1897, when he was almost blind, he had the good fortune to accompany the remains of the Founder on their transfer from Fontfroide to Vic and to take part in the solemn funeral honors paid to him in the cathedral of Vic. The following year, on 4 February, Fr. Jaime Clotet died in the odor of sanctity in the mission house in Gràcia (Barcelona). His remains rest in a side altar of the Shrine of the Heart of Mary in Barcelona. After his cause for beatification was introduced, Pope John Paul II declared him Venerable on 13 May 1989.