Visiting the Fonts of Our Charism

IMG 6217Two days after the Feast of St. Claret, I landed in Vic on a train from Barcelona. The pastoral landscape outside was green and refreshing and carried me back to memories. In a travel of about one hour, I tried to recollect the places and incidents in the life of Claret that I had read in his autobiography many years ago. Vic came before I had anticipated and I hurried down the train with the mental map of our house, thanks to Google map. But, as I was exiting the station someone called out my name loudly in an otherwise quiet station. Fr. Carlos Sanches, a missionary from Paraguay? He is an authority on the biography and history of Claret and his times.

IMG 6218After the lunch, Fr. Sanches almost realigned my memories on Claret with fresh anecdotes that I had not heard before. The high point was the mass at the crypt of the Church of Claret. Standing by the sepulcher with the mortal remains of Claret, Fr. Sanches narrated to me the the story of a Carpenter of the house in Vic who protected the remains of Claret buried in his house during the revolution of 1936. Seeing the letter to the General written by Fr. Sebastian the Rector of the house during the revolution time brought tears to my eyes. At the gunpoint, Fr. Sebastian requested the executors to grant him his last wish. He was given a few minutes for prayer. He miraculously escaped with those few minutes to write that letter to the General to indicate where he and the carpenter together had secretly buried the body of Claret. Without this letter, we would have lost all the mortal remains of Claret!

IMG 6202Traveling through the township of Vic brought a cascade of memories from Claret’s life. Almost every byway in the township had been trodden by Claret. They all hold little little stories of him. I walked on probably the same cobblestones that he had stepped on, touched the same walls that he had blessed with his saintly fragrance. So, seeing the shoes in the museum that carried his feet on millions of steps brought to me an inexplicable reverence and recollection.

In the evening, having dinner with the community of the happy veteran missionaries there took me out of the recollected mood. In the following morning, as I was leaving for Barcelona, Fr. Sanches accompanied me to the railway station and bid an emotional good bye. As the train started to move a little misty fog was beginning to blanket Vic.

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