Saint Josemaria
The Life of St Josemaria Escriva
Josemaria Escriva was born in Spain on January 9, 1902 and died in Rome on June 26, 1975. On 2 October 1928, by divine inspiration, he founded Opus Dei.
1902 - 1975

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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1902 - 0

A Christian Family

St Josemaria recalled gratefully how his parents introduced him step by step to the Christian way of life
1914 - 1918

Footprints in the Snow

It may seem surprising that a little thing like some footprints in the snow was enough to make a teenager take the great decision to give his life to God. But that is the language God often uses to call people, and that is how generous souls who seek God sincerely are capable of responding, with faith.
1918 - 1925

The Seminary Years

Why am I becoming a priest? Our Lord wants something: what is it? And in Latin — not very elegant Latin — … I kept repeating Domine, ut videam! Ut sit! Ut sit! The thing that you want, and that I don’t know — make it happen!”
1925 - 1928

Among the Poor and the Sick

Among the poor, the sick, and the children, he sought the strength needed to set in motion the immense project that God had placed on his shoulders that day. It was a school of suffering where his soul would be tempered to its mission.
1928

The Founding of Opus Dei

“I was 26, had God’s grace and good humor and nothing else. And I had to do Opus Dei”.
It was October 2, 1928, the feast of the Guardian Angels. Father Josemaría would never forget the sound of the church bells…
He was doing a retreat during these first few days of October.
1928 - 1936

The First Years of Opus Dei

1928, 1929, 1930… St Josemaria had to fulfil God’s will, but had no trained assistants, no money, and no patrons.
1936 - 1939

The Civil War

The Spanish Civil War has broken out, together with one of the most violent periods of religious persecution in the history of the Church
1938 - 1945

Beginning Again

After escaping to the other side of Spain and staying briefly in Pamplona, St Josemaria settled in Burgos. From there, in conditions of great deprivation, in a country devastated by war, he carried out an intense apostolate.
1939 - 1946

Helping Priests

“I began to give many, many retreats — they used to last seven days at that time — in a number of Spanish dioceses. I was very young and it embarrassed me."
1946

Traveling to Rome

Christ, Mary, and the Pope had always been the great loves of his life. And now at last he was there, very close to the Vicar of Christ, on the night of June 23-24, 1946.
1946 - 1951

Joy, Sorrow, Hope

“Do you know why the Work has developed so much? Because it’s been treated like a sack of wheat; it’s been beaten and battered about. But the seeds are so small that they haven’t broken. On the contrary, they’ve been scattered to the four winds...”
Hence the Father’s joy when he discovered the canonical way for married people to join Opus Dei.
1946 - 1951

Expansion

Between 1946 and 1960 Opus Dei began its apostolate in several new countries, including Portugal, Italy, Great Britain, France, Ireland, the US, Kenya, and Japan.
These were years of physical suffering. The Father’s diabetes was the cause of great discomfort: he lived with a constant headache, suffered chronic thirst, and gained too much weight, in addition to the other problems that can arise in connection with this illness.
1952 - 1970

Of a hundred souls, we are interested in a hundred

On October 2, 1928, St Josemaria had seen that Opus Dei was for all kinds of people.
1962 - 1965

Vatican II

On January 25, 1959, on hearing that an ecumenical council had been convened, the founder of Opus Dei welcomed the news with great hope and asked everyone to pray “for the happy outcome of this great initiative of an ecumenical council.”
1970 - 1971

Difficult Times

“If we all pray together, if we add just a bit of good will, our Lord will give us his grace and end this dark, terrible night. Then will come the dawn, the morning filled with sunlight.”
1970 - 1975

Catechetical Trips

St Josemaria decided to put his shoulder to the wheel in the task of strengthening people’s faith. Starting in 1970, he went on long catechetical trips to various countries around the world.
1975

I Seek Your Face

St Josemaria’s soul burned with the desire to see God’s face. “Lord, I long to see your face, to contemplate you in wonder!”
1975

I Will Help You More

On June 26, 1975, at 12 noon, St Josemaria died in his office. The news of his death traveled quickly round the world.

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Msgr Lluis Clavell recalls St Josemaria whom he met in 1970.

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