Filipe Maroto was born on May 26, 1875, in Garcillán, Segovia, Spain, to a modest farming family, He entered the Claretian seminary at Segovia on September 25, 1889. After studying analogy at Segovia and rhetoric at Barbastro. Maroto began his Novitiate at Cervera in July 1891, along with 3 novice-priests, 75 students and 34 brothers, and would make his First Profession of Vows on July 25, 1892. He remained at Cervera until 1897, studying Philosophy and Dogmatic Theology before completing his studies in Moral Theology and canon law at Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Ordained a priest on May 13, 1900, Maroto was sent to Rome to study canon and civil law at the Roman Pontifical Seminary.
In 1897, Maroto began his career as professor of canon law. Subsequently, he served as procurator, postulator, and general consultor. On April 23, 1934, he was elected Superior General of the Congregation. Maroto was respected in Rome for both his spirituality and intellect. His command of canon law was such that other Claretian canonists were sometimes referred to as Marotini.
Given his short time as Superior General, Maroto wrote few circular letters. Those few emphasized our universal mission and the formation suited to that mission, as well the promotion of that mission in all ways possible in our schools. Maroto also implemented the mandates of the 1934 General Chapter, such as the opening of the International College in Rome in 1934 and the transfer of the general curia to Via Giulia in Rome. In 1938, the International College moved to Albano, then in 1953 to the general curia in Rome. In 1959, the International College Claretianum opened on the Via Aurelia.
Devastated by the events of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), particularly the martyrdom of 271 professed Claretians priests, brothers and students, Maroto died unexpectedly of a heart attack on July 11, 1937.
The Spanish Civil War took a grave toll on Claretian missions, particularly in Equatorial Guinea and China. The magazine El Misionero ceased publication, funds were absconded from the Pious Missionary Union, and the Philatelic Circle of Cervera disappeared. In his letter The Mission of the Congregation, (1937), Maroto urged all Claretian Missionaries to step up.
Universal Mission of the Congregation
“In that difficulty, the first thing that perhaps we could place before our eyes is the universality that our Congregation has by living out the words of our Blessed Father in the Constitutions who propose the same in looking at all things for the glory of God, the sanctification of its members and the salvation of souls in the entire world. Even more, the Congregation is already worldwide and works in many nations, we still regret that it is barely known in many parts of the world, and in truth there are vast regions of activity where the Congregation has not sensed even their blessings, or just beginning to place their feet; there is a need to effectively develop its expansion in all regions so that our missionaries can say in all truth, by saying what is required of them by their Constitutions, that they are apostles of the world.
“To this end, we have been decisively in taking steps in that direction. For instance, as mandated by the General Chapter, we have moved the residence of the General Government and the General Curia to Rome, the center of Catholicism and the center of apostolic, religious and ecclesiastical life throughout the world. (2, pp. 147-153).”
In his circular letter on the occasion of the beatification of our Founder, Maroto writes:
“As we continue to foster our universal mission, all of us must strive to deserve the guidance of Divine Providence. As true religious, we ought to pray unceasingly for the increase of zealous workers in the vineyard of the Lord and for the resources necessary to carry this work forward. Undoubtedly , we will succeed, as long as we seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and if each and every one of us makes the contribution of which he is capable” (2, pp. 412-413).
Formation for the Universal Mission
In his circular letter The Missions in the Congregation (2, pp. 147-153), Fr. Maroto made it clear that he expected formation directors, prefects and teachers to inculcate the spirit of universal mission opportune et importune, in every time and place. Preachers, catechists and teachers each in his respective sphere, were to endeavor to identify potential missionaries.
“We wish to say to the young people in our schools. The Congregation has a promising future in the missions among non-Christians, and you must rise to the challenge for the glory of God, the consolation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the happiness of the Heart of Mary our Mother, as well as the honor of the Institute, which cares for you like a mother, and for your own glory and crown. Do not seek out ministries, which put you in the limelight and require little effort, yet assure you of a comfortable and leisurely life. These are by no means worthy of a son of Claret” (2, pp. 312-313).
- CLARETIAN MISSIONARIES. Biographical data, in Annales Congregationis, t. 34, pp. 25, 512′ t. 35, pp. 46 et seq.; t. 36. pp. 56 ff.
- MAROTO, F., Circulars in Col CC, index by Generalate p. XXIII
- PALACIOS. J. Mª., Historical notes about the formation in the Congregation, Rome 1997.
- SANZ, V., Traces of Claret, Madrid 1997.