Spain. On the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the appointment of Fr. Claret as President of the Royal Monastery of El Escorial, on June 1st a plaque was placed in the oratory of the room occupied by the saint in the same Monastery.
The act was solemnized with the presence of the Provincial of Santiago, Fr. Manuel Tamargo and a small group of Claretians. The host was the Prior of the Augustinians who presently manage the Monastery.
The period of El Escorial was glorious and painful at the same time for Claret. From the moment Queen Isabel II entrusted him with the task of bringing the Monastery out of its long situation of abandonment, Fr. Claret worked with all his might at recovering the true spirit that had inspired this great project in its origin.
Claret started by creating a Chaplains’ Corporation, at a time when the clergy, including the secularized Hieronymites, was very reluctant to live in community. He wrote for them the “Reglamento de la Comunidad de Capellanes Reales de San Lorenzo de El Escorial” (Regulations of the Community of Royal Chaplains of San Lorenzo of El Escorial). This was greatly inspired in the Constitutions of his Missionaries, whom he had tried to bring there, to no avail.
In addition to the material alterations of the building, there were other Claretian projects that arose in the milieu of El Escorial, namely: a Seminary, for which he wrote the book “El Colegial o Seminarista teórica y prácticamente instruído” (The theoretically and practically well-instructed Seminarian); a Secondary Education school and the first University cycle and a choir of boy sopranos. He also wrote some books such as “Miscelánea Interesante” (Interesting Miscellany), “La vocación de los niños” (Children’s vocation) and “Bálsamo eficaz” (Effective balm).
Many of these initiatives ran counter to other interests in the political and ecclesial world, which entailed great suffering for our Fr. Founder.