Josemaria Escriva. Founder of Opus Dei - Opus Dei founder St Josemaria Escriva, his life day by day, teachings on holiness, apostolate, laity, Catholic Church. Testimonies from Opus Dei members <![CDATA[A brief biography]]> Saint Josemaria Escriva was born in Barbastro, Spain, on 9 January 1902. He was ordained to the priesthood in Saragossa on 28 March 1925. On 2 October 1928, by divine inspiration, he founded Opus Dei. On 26 June 1975, he died unexpectedly in Rome in the room where he worked, after a last affectionate glance at a picture of Our Lady. Opus Dei had by then spread to five continents, with over 60.000 members of 80 nationalities, serving the Church with the same spirit of complete union with the Pope and the Bishops which characterised Saint Josemaría. His Holiness Pope John Paul II canonised the Founder of Opus Dei on 6 October 2002. His feast is celebrated on 26 June. The body of Saint Josemaría rests in the prelatic Church of Our Lady of Peace, Viale Bruno Buozzi 75, Rome.

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<![CDATA[“There’s something of a grandfather about God”]]> Eliana Palma, a Chilean grandmother, shares her ideas on grandparents’ role in families and society, and talks about how happy she was in the sixty years she spent with her husband, Tito.

1) How do you think grandparents could take part in this Year of Mercy? From your own long experience, what is the role of mercy in people’s lives?

Obviously, grandparents have an advantage over young people in that we’ve seen so much in the course of our lives, so maybe we look at things with different eyes. When you’re young you want everything to work out well at the first attempt. You’re a perfectionist. That applies to marriage too. But life teaches you little by little that perfection isn’t always possible – and that sometimes there are almost more failures than victories. Finally, when you get to a certain age, you understand how important it is to have someone close to you, who supports you. And that’s what grandparents are for people. A house with its doors open. People nearly always remember their grandparents when things get tough. Like that’s part of their mission, supporting others in those situations. Basically, being a grandparent is being merciful. We find it easier to turn a blind eye to the defects in our children and grandchildren, and to focus instead on the heap of things they do well. That’s a gift God gives with the passage of time.

I like to think that God sees us that way too. There’s something of a grandfather about him. He is merciful like that, he keeps us on our feet. God is also a house with its doors open. Just like with grandparents, lots of people turn to him when things get tough. And there he is, always waiting to come with us and help us on our way.

But to God, all of us are children. Grandparents too. However old we are, however much experience we have, however much we’ve seen, God has always seen more. And it’s great to know that no matter what stage you’re at in life, God is always waiting for you with open arms.

2) Eliana, tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born in Limache, a small town in the middle of Chile, and I was the fourth of six children. I had a really happy childhood, though life was not luxurious, with my parents and siblings. Last year two of them died within a week of each other. My younger sister also died a few years ago. Today the only ones left are my oldest sister, who is very sick, and I.

3) You were married for 61 years. What enabled you both to be faithful and constant in your marriage?

Yes, Tito and I were married and stayed together here on earth for 60 years. We got married 61 years ago. He died last year on October 21. He fell sick 8 years ago.

My husband was a thoroughly good man. The love of my life. He was unselfish, he had so many virtues. I was learning from him for my whole life, and that did me a whole lot of good. I always admired him, more every day. Not just in his years of good health, but also during the years when he was sick, and very limited in what he could do.

I never thought about “being faithful” as such. It wasn’t an issue: for me it was so obvious, faithfulness was what I’d seen in my parents, and what he’d seen in his. Tito loved me very much indeed, and he always told me how much he loved me. I’m grateful for that. We knew we had to make one another happy in little things and in big ones. That was our marriage. And that was what we also wanted to pass on to our children and grandchildren.

Sometimes when I hear about so many break-ups, I realize that we belonged to the times when if something broke, you fixed it, you didn’t just throw it away like people do today. Fix it as often as necessary, but it never occurs to you to throw it out. If you have that attitude it helps a lot.

4) You have children and grandchildren, and you’ve even had some of your grandchildren living in your house for several years. What was that like for you? How do you see grandparents’ role in that situation?

We have four children and fifteen grandchildren. In 1994, for various reasons, my daughter’s family moved into our house, with six children. The oldest was 12 and the youngest was a newborn baby. Tito and I did everything for those six grandchildren. We always saw that special situation as something coming from God. He undoubtedly gave us strength. We never felt tired. We felt we were playing an important role in that situation.

Our grandchildren are older now. The oldest is 34 and the youngest is 22. And our roles are beginning to be reversed, because they’ve been a great support to my husband and me. One of them is a priest. God is so generous!

We were always the sort of grandparents who respected our children’s freedom absolutely, and our grandchildren’s freedom too. God was always present, but we brought him into things more by the way we lived than by the things we said. And also, we never set fixed dates or days when everyone was obliged to be together. When the family got together it had to be because they wanted to be together. I think that when grandparents are taken into account, and treated affectionately and looked after, they can leave a very positive mark on their grandchildren. So it makes me sorry to see grandchildren who ignore their grandparents, and parents who don’t bring them together. Thank God, our experience was just the opposite.

5) In his catechesis on the family, Pope Francis said that grandparents’ words hold something special for young people. What do you think? What experience did you have with your grandchildren? What are grandparents’ responsibilities in that field?

It’s true. I always remember something the Pope said in his catechesis on the family: “A people that does not take care of grandparents, does not treat them well, has no future! Because such a people loses its memory.” Excluding them is like rejecting the past. It’s sad to see how often grandparents are seen as a burden. I remember my own grandparents telling us stories from their lives. How eagerly we listened! We didn’t realize at the time the good it was doing us, or the way they were helping us with their example.

Out of so many memories, there’s one about our grandson who is now a doctor. When he was quite small, he’d come and sit on the ground in front of my husband and say very seriously, looking him in the eyes, “Grampy, shall we have a talk?” You could see how he hung on his words. Talking with his grandad wasn’t boring, still less a duty. And later, when they were older, we could follow their interests because they’d ask what we thought about books, flowers, history, machines, the news, the town, the country, etc. etc. etc. One of the things that drew them to us was that they could see we were always ready for anything they wanted to ask us to tell us. You need to make sure you never look as if you haven’t the time or the interest or the energy to devote to your grandchildren. I must say, too, that we have learned a lot from them. And their interests were our interests, because of spending so much time with them.

For parents who haven’t yet realized that we grandparents can be a great help when asked, I’d suggest that for as long as their parents are in good health, and always, they should keep grandparents and grandchildren together.

6) You said that age and experience are an advantage. Growing old also brings challenges and difficulties. What did you find most difficult, and how do you tackle it?

I’ve always seen growing old as something completely natural, something that will come sooner or later. Life goes very quickly, and it’s vital to keep going forward with a lot of hope.

The hardest thing I’ve had to face was Tito’s incurable sickness and then his death. Even so, I am amazed at how the huge store of good memories he left, has helped me to keep going. My husband was 11 years older than me. When he fell sick, it happened very quickly, my children and grandchildren and I were able to see him declining steadily, and were also able to realize how that process was enlarging our hearts. We felt more love and tenderness for him all the time. He was the one who had always protected us, and now we were protecting and caring for him. We wanted to look after him, to do everything we could for him and more. Having him with us, in his sickness, for 8 years, was a great gift, a great blessing for all of us. It’s an indelible page in the story of our family. Painful, sad, yes, but framed by great happiness and unity.

7) What advice would you give to a couple of newly-weds who are beginning a family?

I’d tell newly-weds that marriage is a wonderful path. A path to travel along together. It’s good to be realistic and realize that there is no such thing as a fairy-tale marriage. Sometimes we idealize things too much. But it is possible to work at making that path into something really beautiful and inspiring.

There will often be conflicts, but that’s natural, and if they both have good will, they will end up loving each other even more. It’s a bad idea to think that one difficulty is grounds for a separation. Or a reason to be alarmed. I’d also tell them that trust and respect are absolutely fundamental. And that means treating each other well, in speech and in deeds. Another thing is to learn to forgive, including the ridiculous little everyday things, which are sometimes the hardest. It’s silly to argue about who is in the right. That mentality poisons the marriage. Think about the future, share your dreams. Look forward to growing old together. That produces great happiness.

For us, and I think for everyone, it is very important to put God at the centre of the family. Turn to him, thank him for everything. Thank him every day for giving me my husband, for giving me my wife. Praying together and suffering together are among the things that bring you closest. Putting God at the centre is what brings you closest of all. The path of marriage, for those of us who have travelled it, and for those who are starting out on it, is wonderful. It’s worth while spending yourself to take it forward.

<![CDATA[The Founder of Opus Dei in Ars]]> A special traffic office for Ars

For many years in the nineteenth century, Ars, a little French village, was the center of the religious life of the whole of France. Between 1818 and 1859, such huge crowds of pilgrims went there that the train company that covered the district had to open a special office in Lyons to organize the trains between the big city and the little village.

The reason for this was the village priest, John Baptiste Marie Vianney, who was born in 1786. He had had to overcome very many difficulties to be ordained to the priesthood, and when he was sent to the church in Ars, he infused a new zeal for holiness into the village by his preaching, penance, prayer and charity.

For forty-two years St John Marie Vianney’s life was marked by his limitless love for his vocation to the priesthood and his dedication to souls. The Curé of Ars, as he is commonly known, ended up spending over sixteen hours a day in the confessional, forgiving sins in God’s name, offering people encouragement and the warmth of his human affection and his identification with Jesus Christ the Priest. Pope Pius XI canonized him in 1925 and declared him the patron of all the secular clergy.

St Josemaria in Ars, France

St Josemaria always had recourse to the intercession of St John Marie Vianney with great faith, and talked a lot about the features of his priesthood. St Josemaria’s first journey to Ars, to see the places where St John Marie Vianney had carried out his priestly work so faithfully, and to pray before his tomb, was in 1953. Afterwards, always accompanied by Don Alvaro del Portillo, he went back often: in 1955, 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960.

St Josemaria, speaking of priests’ dedication to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, said: “Go and sit in the confessional every day, or at least two or three times a week, waiting for souls there like the fisherman waits for fish. At first maybe no-one will come. Take along your breviary, a spiritual reading book or something for your meditation. The first few days you’ll be able to use it. Then a little old lady will come and you’ll explain to her that it’s not enough just for her to be good, she needs to bring her grand-children. After four or five days two little girls will come, then an adolescent boy, and then a man, almost secretly. And at the end of two months they’ll give you no peace, you won’t have time to pray in the confessional, because your anointed hands will be busy, like Christ’s – configured with Christ’s, because you are Christ – saying, ‘I absolve you’.” And he wound up, “Love the confessional. Love it, love it! (…) That’s the way to atone to God our Lord for so many of our brother priests who don’t want to sit in the confessional now, or listen to souls, or administer God’s forgiveness” (St Josemaria, notes from a meeting with priests in Oporto, Portugal, October 31, 1972. AGP, P04, vol. II, p. 758).

For the 150th anniversary of the death of the Curé of Ars Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed a Year for Priests, “to encourage priests in this striving for spiritual perfection on which, above all, the effectiveness of their ministry depends” (Speech to participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for the Clergy, March 16, 2009).

Ars has currently under one thousand inhabitants, but every year it attracts 500,000 pilgrims from around the world.

<![CDATA[Rest]]> I have always seen rest as time set aside from daily tasks, never as days of idleness.
Rest means recuperation: to gain strength, form ideals and make plans. In other words it means a change of occupation, so that you can come back later with a new impetus to your daily job.
Furrow, 514

The example of Jesus
Whenever we get tired — in our work, in our studies, in our apostolic endeavours — when our horizon is darkened by lowering clouds, then let us turn our eyes to Jesus, to Jesus who is so good, and who also gets tired; to Jesus who is hungry and suffers thirst. Lord, how well you make yourself understood! How lovable you are! You show us that you are just like us, in everything but sin, so that we can feel utterly sure that, together with you, we can conquer all our evil inclinations, all our faults. For neither weariness nor hunger matter, nor thirst, nor tears... since Christ also grew weary, knew hunger, was thirsty, and wept. What is important is that we struggle to fulfil the will of our heavenly Father, battling away good-heartedly, for Our Lord is always at our side (cf. Jn 4:34).
Friends of God, 201

Cheerfulness, and supernatural and human optimism, can go hand in hand with physical tiredness, with sorrow, with tears (because we have a heart), and with difficulties in our interior life or our apostolic work.
He who is perfectus Deus, perfectus Homo — perfect God and perfect Man — and who enjoyed every happiness in Heaven, chose to experience fatigue and tiredness, tears and suffering... so that we might understand that if we are to be supernatural we must also be very human.
The Forge, 290

Setting to work again
You must fight against the tendency to be too lenient with yourselves. Everyone has this difficulty. Be demanding with yourselves! Sometimes we worry too much about our health, or about getting enough rest. Certainly it is necessary to rest, because we have to tackle our work each day with renewed vigour. But, as I wrote many years ago, ‘to rest is not to do nothing. It is to turn our attention to other activities that require less effort.’
Friends of God, 62

Seeking God in our rest
Why don’t you try converting your whole life into the service of God — your work and your rest, your tears and your smiles?
You can... and you must!
The Forge, 679

Strive never to lose this supernatural outlook, not even at times of rest or recreation, which are as important in our daily lives as is work itself.
Friends of God, 10

Setting a good example
Constantly call to mind that at every moment you are cooperating in the human and spiritual formation of those around you, and of all souls — for the blessed Communion of Saints reaches as far as that. At every moment: when you work and when you rest; when people see you happy or when they see you worried; when at your job, or out in the street, you pray as does a child of God and the peace of your soul shows through; when people see that you have suffered, that you have wept, and you smile.
The Forge, 846

With our Lady’s help
So your strength is fast failing you? Why don’t you say to your Mother, ‘comforter of the afflicted, help of Christians... our hope, Queen of apostles’?
The Way, 515]]>
<![CDATA[14 Questions about the Family]]> Answers offered by St Josemaria to questions about love in the family, family conflicts, parent-child relationships, raising children, and faith in the family. ]]> <![CDATA[Living Mercy]]> The Pope’s audiences are specially dedicated to the Year of Mercy. On June 30, he recalled that “It is one thing to speak of mercy, and it is another to live mercy. Paraphrasing the words of St James the Apostle (cf. 2:14-17), we could say: mercy without works is dead within itself. That’s it! What makes mercy come alive is its constant dynamism in order to go and meet those in need and the necessities of those in spiritual and material hardship.” Below is the full text of the audience on June 30, followed by some quotations from St Josemaria’s writings to help pray about mercy. ]]> <![CDATA[God’s Mercy]]> How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy]]> <![CDATA[Novena for forgiveness]]> Written by Fr Francisco Faus, is available in pdf, epub and Kindle formats, in which, while meditating on texts by St Josemaria, we ask God through his intercession for the grace of learning to forgive.]]> <![CDATA[Loss]]> A week ago I was buying some gates with their accessories at an ironmongers. I paid by credit card and had to show my identity card in the process. I went with a friend and we were in a hurry, so I packed up the accessories myself. The assistants loaded the gates for us and we set off. The next day I had to buy some other items with my card and this time I couldn’t find my identity card. The shop accepted my payment as it was for a small amount and I am a regular customer. I was extremely worried and prayed to St Josemaria and Our Lady to find it, with a little aspiration that people in this country often say – “Ojitos de la Virgen ponmela delante – Eyes of the Blessed Virgin, put it in front of me,” knowing St Josemaria’s great devotion for the Blessed Mother. I searched for my ID card at home, in my purse, in the car and in my friend’s car. I kept praying for it to appear, as it is essential for all sorts of transactions and other matters. In the end, a little discouraged because it was now a week since I lost the ID card, I went back to the ironmongers, and there it was! They gave it to me on the spot, and I give thanks to Saint Josemaria for this favor.]]> <![CDATA[A peanut]]> My sister’s two-year-old great-grandson swallowed a peanut which went down the wrong way and reached his lung. He was a week in the university hospital in the city in Germany where the family lives. They were unable to remove the peanut.
Meanwhile I was praying to St. Josemaria to intercede before Our Lord and his Blessed Mother for the child’s life to be saved.
A few days later they moved him to a hospital in Berlin. On February 11 last year, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, they removed the peanut and there were no after-effects. I am so grateful to St. Josemaria for this big little favor!
<![CDATA[Never give up hope]]> One day last October I woke up having resolved to leave my job, even though I knew that Brazil is going through a difficult time and that many people are looking for work. But I was unhappy in the job I was doing, so I left it. That same day I began to pray the St Josemaria Novena that my cousin gave me. I had some interviews, always convinced that if I was not offered that particular job it was because something better was waiting for me. Now, beginning of May, I have got a job I could never even have dreamed of. The message I want to give is to put love into every activity, and like that it will always work out for the best. What matters is never to give up hope!]]> <![CDATA[Inspired to Love]]> This documentary tells the story of St Josemaria, the “saint of the ordinary” and the founder of Opus Dei, and how his message has inspired people of all walks of life to find meaning in their everyday activities, seeing them as a way of serving others.]]> <![CDATA[1954.7.30]]> “That Pedro is a delight. He works marvelously and, being so clever, knows how to exploit very well, even with me, that charm and those [...]]]> <![CDATA[How can we live if we arent in love?]]> Without love, life wouldnt be worth living. Therefore St. Josemaría counseled: Fall madly in love, both when our love is in heaven and when its on earth.]]> <![CDATA[St Josemaria Official Twitter Account]]> Tweets by @St_Josemaria !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+"://";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");]]> <![CDATA[Pope Francis: “God does not need our prayer to discover what we need”]]> Video. (Rome Reports).During the Angelus, Pope Francis turned his attention on Jesus’ teaching on prayer, from the day’s Gospel.]]>