In the framework of the preparations for the celebration of the 175th anniversary of the foundation of the Congregation, the Centre of Claretian Spirituality (CESC) has carried out the digitalization of the historical narrative contained in the three volumes of our most recent congregational historical research. Their authors and titles are: Fr. Jesus Álvarez Gómez, CMF, Misioneros Claretianos. I: Retorno a los orígenes (PCL, Madrid 1993, 428 pages) and Misioneros Claretianos. II: Transmisión y recepción del carisma claretiano (PCL, Madrid 1997, 713 pages) together with Fr. Gustavo Alonso, CMF, Misioneros Claretianos. III: La renovación conciliar (Ed. Claretiana, Buenos Aires 2007, 640 pages). The three form an integral, combined and updated vision of the history of our Congregation. Their pages invite us on a journey through our past up to the year 2000, offering a rigorous and profound source of data and a good hermeneutical inspiration. It allows us to immerse ourselves in the spirit and historical development of the life and work of Saint Anthony Mary Claret.
The main motive behind this collection’s creation was to keep alive in our collective memory the process of our Congregation from its beginnings until the time of the conciliar renewal. In doing so, we connect intimately with our rich and founding historical roots. As expressed in the Chapter Document CPR n. 9, we have succeeded in keeping Claret’s spirit alive as an exemplary model and source of identity in the different geographical and cultural settings where our missionary life has spread. Through a lucid and discerning examination of the signs of our times, we recognize the enduring relevance and power of the charism that the Holy Spirit has bestowed on us through our Founder.
In the foreword to the first volume, written by Cardinal Aquilino Bocos, CMF, when he was serving as Superior General of the Congregation at the time of its publication, he highlights the valuable contribution of this collection in preparing future missionaries to be informed and properly equipped to welcome and keep alive the spirit of the Founder. The first two volumes were written by the Claretian scholar, Fr. Jesús Álvarez Gómez, CMF (1934-2001), who distinguished himself as a Church History and Consecrated Life professor. His profound knowledge of the history and charism of the Congregation is evident in his meticulous work. Years later, in 2007, Fr. Gustavo Alonzo, CMF, Superior General (1979-1991), added the latest studies to this collection. His outstanding intellectual capacity, excellent style and unwavering Claretian spirit are vividly reflected in the third and final volume.
Volume I: Back to the Origins:
The first volume, entitled “Retorno a los orígenes“, explores the origins of the Congregation. As the subtitle suggests, it takes on an interesting journey that brings us closer to the first events that made the foundation possible. It offers a synthetic and complete vision of the founder’s biography, St. Anthony Mary Claret, in the context of the culture and historical events he lived through.
Volume II: Transmission and Reception of the Claretian Charism:
The second volume, entitled “Transmisión y recepción del carisma claretiano“, takes a distinctive approach. It does not limit itself to counting the number of houses and missions the Congregation established. Still, it focuses on highlighting the internal evolutionary thread that made the unfolding of the Claretian identity possible without losing its coherence with the founder’s charism. This volume takes a thematic and spiritual journey through the Congregation’s history up to the very threshold of the Second Vatican Council. It shows the profound impact of the charism in the various cultures and settings where the Congregation was inserted.
Volume III: Conciliar Renewal:
The third volume, “La renovación conciliar“, is of the greatest interest for understanding the Congregation’s historical, spiritual, and practical evolution in the post-conciliar period. “The book shows a coherent and audacious path that finds, above all in the General Chapters, significant moments of synthesis and new proposals” (Claretian Missionaries III, p. 7).
Initially published in Spanish, this trilogy has also been translated into English. Thanks to the modest service of the Claretian Spirituality Centre (CESC), all three volumes are now available to readers, researchers, and supporters. This digital offering marks a significant service, making this fundamental work more accessible than ever before through our website.
The digitalization of “Misioneros Claretianos, I, II and III” evidences the commitment to preserve and share the rich history and charism, thus ensuring that the spirit of the founder, St. Anthony Mary Claret, continues to inspire and guide Claretians around the world.