Prophecies in Cuba – St. Anthony Mary Claret

Prophecies in Cuba – St. Anthony Mary Claret

My original plan when starting this blog was to do one saint per week (on Fridays) highlighting the miracles they did during life or after death. Unfortunately, so many saints have very little information which has survived to our day, that it is impossible to do anything but a really dry repetition of what has already been written elsewhere on the internet. So, I’m going to try something a little different.

I started off on one of my favorite Church Miracles websites and looked for something that doesn’t belong on Mondays (which I’m really reserving for Marian apparitions – with associated miracles – and Eucharistic miracles.) I clicked on “prophecy” and there was this lengthy article about three particular saints and their prophecies. So, I grabbed the first one – who turned out to be St. Anthony Mary Claret. Plugging him into Google and what did I find? HUGE amounts of information on this amazing and recent saint! I think this will become a multi-part series because this guy is totally worth our devotion!

St. Anthony Mary Claret lived from 1807 to 1870 and founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who are known as the Claretians. He also worked many miracles and gave many prophecies. One of his most famous series of prophecies happened when he was the Archbishop of Santiago in Cuba.

prayer card and medal from Amazon

On August 20, 1852, he was preaching in Bayamo which was nearly 60 miles away (as a crow flies.) Apparently, he was in the middle of his sermon, speaking with his normal strength and eloquence when suddenly, he fell silent. His face went pale, and clearly shaken, he said to his audience:

“Let us pray to God for our brethren, residents of Santiago de Cuba, because they are in great tribulation. Tomorrow we shall go to console them.”

“But what happened in Santiago?” someone asked.

Just then, an estimated 7.2 earthquake struck. They heard the subterranean “thunder”, felt the building vibrated and saw the furniture move. All around, houses and churches were ruined, people were afraid to be indoors well after the shaking stopped.

When they arrived in Santiago, the destruction was terrible. Even the Cathedral was ruined, the altars broken. People wished to cheer up the archbishop, saying the earthquake would not happen again. His reply was:

‘They will return. It is useless to construct the cathedral and the houses. The earthquake will return soon. God wishes it. They are the great missionaries that God sends so that obstinate hearts, who do not wish to listen to words of love, may be converted.’

From the devastation, the people erected tents for dwellings and improvised a chapel from where St. Anthony Mary Claret spoke. In one of his messages, he gave this comparison:

“God does with many of us as a mother does to a lazy sleeping child, she shakes the cot or bed so as to awaken him and cause him to arise. If that does not suffice, she whips him.

“God does the same with many of his children, lethargic sinners. He shakes their beds, that is, their houses, by means of earthquakes, saving their bodies and their lives. If that does not awaken them and they do not arise, He will give them blows, sending them the cholera and the pest. God has made that known to me.”

Thankfully, whipping is no longer an acceptable method of chastising a child, but I think the point is still very clear. If God’s gentle voice does not awaken us, He shakes us. If that does not work, then He must resort to other measures. Does that mean that every earthquake is punishment? Hardly. But there is no reason He cannot (or will not) use natural forces to bring us to our knees and remind us who our true Father is. But the archbishop wasn’t finished with his message.

“God does the same with many of his children, lethargic sinners. He shakes their beds, that is, their houses, by means of earthquakes, saving their bodies and their lives. If that does not awaken them and they do not arise, He will give them blows, sending them the cholera and the pest. God has made that known to me.”

At that, Father Claret was moved to tears and wept as they all begged God for mercy and pardon.

Yet, cholera hit only a month later. It claimed 10% of Santiago’s population with 3,000 lives, yet all received the last sacraments before passing.

Yet, the sorrow was not over. He observed continued racism in Santiago which deeply saddened him.

Once again, as he was preaching, his voice changed and he delivered another prophecy.

“I have come to announce three great chastisements, which God has reserved to move many obstinate hearts to repentance. The first, the earthquake, has already been fulfilled. The second will soon come to pass; it will be the cholera. And the third . . . ” Here he paused and exclaimed: “Do penance for your sins and for those of the people, so that God may stay the arm ready to strike.”

He repeated this prophecy in the towns of Vicario and Manazilla. But the third chastisement, he kept private until Father Currius asked him. The reply:

“The punishment is a great war in which the Europeans, especially the Spaniards, will be pursued to death like hares in the forest.”

Thus it happened. On September 11, 1868, in that same place—- Sara—–more than three thousand peasants, on horseback, with guns and chopping knives, gathered by Don Carlos Manuel Cespedes, sent forth the cry of independence against Spain, and surprising the unarmed troops of the town, gave knife-thrusts to the Europeans. Two of the Spaniards, before being assassinated exclaimed:

“This is a punishment of God! We have heard Father Claret’s prophecy of this insurrection. My God, have mercy!”

Once more, Father Claret uttered a prophecy. Many had noticed that he seemed unwell; finally, the rector of the seminary asked if he would like a doctor.

After a brief silence he exclaimed: “Let us beg God to avoid a terrible punishment which threatens this archbishopric. If it does not destroy the entire fruit of our apostolic works, it will carry away a great part of it.”

He then changed the course of the conversation, touching upon indifferent things. But soon, as though overtaken by a sudden vision, he repeated the same words:

“Let us pray God that this may not happen!”

Although he did not go into further detail, his words were well remembered at the time a terrible schism attributed to Llorent, a clergyman who declared himself archbishop and led many away from the church. Fortunately for St. Anthony Mary Claret, he was not forced to witness this last tragedy while he was still in Cuba. For, he was soon called back to Spain to become the archbishop-missionary.

autobiography from Amazon

He left Santiago on Feb 22, 1857, seen off by a large and emotional crowd. Even as he left, he could not help feeling concerned about their future:

On looking into the future, he saw with prophetic light, the ravages of war, which was to inundate the fields with blood, and cover the city with ruins. He remembered the prediction of Jesus Christ:

“Days will come over thee! Then thy enemies will draw near, will oppress thee! They will cast thee upon the earth and they will overthrow thy children. There shall not be left a stone upon a stone, and all because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation.”

We will look more at St. Anthony Mary Claret’s time in Spain next week.

(All the quotes came from an old 1937 article found here: http://www.catholictradition.org/Priests/claret2-4.htm )

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