In my adolescence, I returned to the Christian life from which I had left shortly after receiving my First Communion. I was welcomed into a beautiful group of teenagers by a senior priest, almost blind, who was Fr. Andrés Pascual. In my experience I went to the parish of my neighborhood and did not know anything else. I was not yet aware of the reason why there was more than one priest in that temple and why a clear missionary dynamic was perceived in them.
In one of the formative meetings we were introduced to the figure of a great missionary who inspired that parochial modality that had caught my attention. The one who animated and generated that life was Father Claret who had lived in another context and in another era. For 13- and 14-year-olds, who found hard to connect with someone more distant in time like Jesus, it was not so easy to make this kind of vital attunement.
However, with inspiring persistence the admirable person of this Father Claret missionary was coming to us. In the manner of the “little flowers” we were given anecdotes of the great apostle, generating in our minds full of illusions the desire to get to know him better.
I was very struck by a booklet that came to my hands where the apostolic work of the Congregation was presented, which was headed by the “Definition of the Missionary”. The reading of this ideology allowed me to finally make the connection between the holy missionary from other latitudes and other times, with some religious men that I saw daily.
In that situation of growing excitement and adhesion, one day, they gave me the Autobiography of San Antonio María Claret. I remember that, despite my 16 years, I devoured it and I felt totally seduced by this great character, always passionate about the mission. From that moment on and gradually I felt called to follow the paths that this friend, disciple of Jesus, suggested to me and it was in this way that my missionary vocation and the desire to belong to the Congregation were awakened.
In the following years, throughout my formative process I was growing in the approach to Claret and in each stage of my life until today, various facets of his life and his spirituality have impacted me with greater intensity. During all the initial formation I was encouraged by those references to the Word, both in texts and in biblical figures, where our Founder used to feed his radical missionary commitment.
When I was assigned to the pastoral experience in an apostolic community before completing my formative itinerary, contact with the poorest approached me strongly to the experience of Claret, missionary bishop in Cuba. His itinerary on the Caribbean island was very motivating despite the climate and distances and the great creative capacity he showed in a completely new reality for him, both in the way of proclaiming the Gospel explicitly and in the whole task of human promotion.
After my perpetual profession as a brother it was a great challenge for me to identify with a Claret missionary priest and bishop, from a personal choice for a consecrated lay vocation. The admiration and the approach have been even greater because they allowed me to penetrate through his Autobiography, his letters and other writings in his soul and thus connect with his spirituality.
Today Claret, a man of fire, impels me and generates growing adherence and enthusiasm. Faced with a “liquid age”, with diffuse contours and porous identities and in crisis, this man, purified by the Fire of the Spirit, shapes me and shows me horizons of radicalism, creativity and strength that make him a tremendously up-to-date personality in his prophetic style.
Fernando Kuhn. Claretian Missionary Brother. Born in 1964 in Argentina. I did my first profession in 1984. I professed perpetually as a Brother in 1989. My ministries have been in the area of Youth Ministry, Vocation Ministry, Initial Formation, Academic Formation and Training for evangelization. I have also lived in insertion communities in popular suburban environment. I have participated in several Popular Missions.