Between 1840 and 1850 a singular idea started to haunt the heart of Claret and to “keep him busy before God:” Is the external structure of religious life essential to the consecrated life? How can the opportunity of embracing the gospel of radicalism be offered to those who wish to remain in the world or are compelled to live in it? Furthermore, should the process of de-Christianisation, which was then beginning, continue its progression, how to bring the Good News to people when they should come to reject whatever was presented to them as a visible sign of gospel demand? Claret then began to glimpse the need of introducing in the very heart of the world the transforming force of people who should have made of Christ the supreme value in which all other values could find their place and meaning. Little by little this idea was taking shape until it became a dream and, later on, a joyful reality.
The first step was the publication of a booklet, “The Daughters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary,” which was published in the spring of 1850. The ideal presented was almost revolutionary at that time: living the fullness of consecrated life in the world, side by side with the rest of the people, having the Heart of Mary as a cloister. In the time of Claret, nothing more could be done, and Cordimarian Filiation could only be a water spring born in silence, a current perceived only by those who, like Claret, received a prophetic vision projected toward the future. But the life of that inexhaustible spring unhurriedly pushed from inside. More than a century would go by before the Church would realize that a new current had been born in her inner self, that was struggling to permeate the most hidden corners of the world with Gospel transparency. That current would come to be known as Cordimarian Filiation.
Plasencia (Spain), 1943. A group of Claretian Missionaries lovingly picks up the lamp lighted by Fr. Claret and decides to make the dream come true. The Claretian book becomes the “rule of life” for a core of enthusiastic young girls, and they decided to constitute themselves into a “family” within the Church. At the same time, the same spark ignites in several places in Europe and America, and several groups are organized. All of them are animated by the same spirit, and a strikingly rich unity can already be seen in that diversity that had brought it to life. In 1947 Pius XII promulgates the apostolic constitution Provida Mater Ecclesia, that recognises and approves the Secular Institutes among the forms of life that imply Gospel radicalism. Fr. Claret’s dream has already got its own channel within the Church, and the organizational efforts are now directed to obtain its definition as a Secular Institute. On November 21, 1973, the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin, Cordimarian Filiation is approved by the Church as a Secular Institute of Pontifical Right. It was the end of a long journey and the beginning of a horizon hopefully open toward the third millennium of the Christian era.
Following Christ virgin, poor and obedient in the midst of a world dominated by selfishness, consumerism, and self-sufficiency, thus making one’s own life self-sacrifice for the brethren: this is Cordimarian Filiation today. Claret did not want the Daughters of the Hear of Mary “separated” from the rest of society. They were born in the Church to “remain and act in the world until it is transformed in Christ.” Through their life and their word, the radicalism of the Gospel must be made present in daily life, in the common conditions of the world, and in the general law of work, with its risks and insecurities.