“We landed in Santiago de Cuba on May 26 of the same year of 1852. We were greeted with much applause from all over the city; but God Our Lord who in all things makes me taste both the sweetness and the bitterness, took away my joy of encountering the Archbishop, who was the only person I knew in this new world.” (Autobiography Mother M. Antonia Paris n. 161)
170 years ago, our first community arrived in Santiago de Cuba after a journey in stages: From Barcelona, passing through the Canary Islands, with unexpected stops. A journey that has become paradigmatic for the life of the Congregation. Mother Antonia and the first four companions have lived this time of three months with different feelings, delving into the experience of God, deepening the call: ” sometimes with imminent danger of death (Aut. 151) and fear (160) as the Mother Foundress says, other times, with great confidence, as immense as the ocean that surrounded the ship.” (159)
A time of learning and certainly a purification of the motivations of the Foundation’s inspirational experience.
We look at our first community with admiration for courage and abandonment in God.
Santiago de Cuba, sea of Archbishop S. Antonio M. Claret, becomes the scene of the birth of the Congregation, a place of attentive listening to reality and of the first missionary responses.
The Diocese of Santiago de Cuba remains to this day the place where the Claretians and the Claretian family walk with the People of God and realize the dream of both founders of “Proclaiming with joy the Good News of Jesus seeking the Kingdom of God and his justice and contributing to the renewal of the Church”.
On May 27 in the Church of the Virgen del Carmen, where the first community was welcomed, the Jubilee Year will open with the Eucharist.
(Photos illustrate Santiago de Cuba at the time of arrival and the possible model of ship)