Tags: History, books

The following is a basic list of books about St Josemaria Escriva and Opus Dei. For more detailed enquiries, to go to the bibliographical database of the University of Navarre’s “Center of Documentation and Studies on Josemaria Escriva”.

For a basic list of relevant works in other languages, click here.



Peter Berglar. Opus Dei. Life and Work of its Founder Josemaria Escriva, Princeton: Scepter, 1994.
An analysis of different historical, biographical and spiritual aspects of Opus Dei, providing a fundamental key to understanding the recent history of the Catholic Church.

Salvador Bernal. Msgr. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer: a Profile of the Founder of Opus Dei (tr. A. Byrne), Dublin: Veritas, 1977.
A collection of impressions and anecdotes gathered shortly after St Josemaria’s death which taken together provide a convincing outline of the salient features of his character and teachings.

John F. Coverdale. Uncommon Faith: the early years of Opus Dei (1928-1943) , Princeton: Scepter, 2002.
The early history of Opus Dei, from the time when it was just an idea in its founder’s head at its creation in Spain in 1928, until 1943. The story includes the first Opus Dei Centers, the first few dozen members, its development, the years of the Spanish Civil War, rebuilding Opus Dei in Madrid, expansion, and the opposition from the Falange and universities. The author is a historian specializing in the history of Spain and was also Consultor to the US State Department for matters relating to Spain.

François Gondrand. At God’s Pace: Josemaria Escriva, Founder of Opus Dei, Princeton: Scepter, 1987.
Gondrand, a media specialist, knew Msgr. Escriva personally, and his book gives a vivid picture of his personality. From October 2 1928 onwards Josemaria Escriva played a leading role in a remarkable spiritual adventure. Who was he? Why had he become a priest? What gave rise to Opus Dei, the organization to whose development he devoted all his strength, at God’s pace? What difficulties and what joys did he meet along his path? Gondrand provides the answer to these and many more questions.

Dennis M. Helming. Footprints in the Snow: a pictorial biography of Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, New York – London: Scepter Publishers, 1986.
Including a preface by Malcolm Muggeridge, this profusely illustrated work follows St Josemaria’s trajectory from his birth in a small town in Spain to his last resting-place in Rome, via a hazardous war-time trek across the Pyrenees and his catechetical trips to Latin America in his closing years.

William Keenan. St Josemaria Escriva and the Origins of Opus Dei: The Day the Bells Rang Out, 2004. St Albans: Batchford Press, available from: .
The first volume of a series, this book covers St Josemaria’s life from his earliest childhood memories to the middle of the Spanish Civil War.

William Keenan. The Path Through the Mountains: St Josemaria Escriva and the Origins of Opus Dei, 2011. St Albans: Batchford Press, available from:
Volume II in the series recounts the events in St Josemaria’s life and spiritual journey from the Spanish Civil War to his arrival in Rome in 1946.

Ethel Tolansky and Helena Scott. Josemaria Escriva, London: Catholic Truth Society, 2001.
A 60-page booklet that traces Fr Escriva’s journey from childhood and family tragedy, through vocational struggle and civil war to the personal discovery of his own fairly revolutionary task of teaching ordinary lay people how to find God in their work.

Pilar Urbano. The Man of Villa Tevere, Princeton NJ: Scepter Publishers, 2011 ( Paints a vivid portrait of the day-to-day life of St. Josemaria Escriva, “the saint of ordinary life.” Set in the world headquarters of Opus Dei, this account is rich with anecdotes culled from the Founder’s contemporaries about his life in Rome until his death in 1975.

Andres Vazquez de Prada. The Founder of Opus Dei: the Life of Josemaria Escriva.
Volume I: The Early Years (tr. B. Browne), Princeton New Jersey: Scepter Publishers, 2001.
Volume II: God and Daring, Princeton New Jersey: Scepter Publishers, 2003.
Volume III: The Divine Ways on Earth, Princeton New Jersey: Scepter Publishers, 2005.
The first complete biography of St Josemaria, this is an in-depth study making full use of the documents, testimonies, letters and other material relating to the founder of Opus Dei, contained in the archive of the Opus Dei .