Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer y Albás was a Roman Catholic priest and founder of Opus Dei. He was born on January 9 1902 in Barbastro, Aragon, Spain and died of cardiac arrest on June 26 1975 in Rome, Italy at the age of 73. His feast day is celebrated on June 26 every year.
|Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer Biography|
|Date of Birth||January 9 1902|
|Place of Birth||Barbastro, Aragon, Spain|
|Profession||Roman Catholic priest and founder of Opus Dei|
|Place of Work||Spain and Rome|
|Date of Death||June 26 1975 at the age of 73|
|Place of Death||Rome, Italy|
|Feast Day||June 26|
|Beatification||By Pope John Paul II on May 17 1992 at Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City|
|Canonization||By Pope John Paul II on October 6 2002 at Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City|
|Patron Saint of||
Saint Josemaria Escriva Life History
St Josemaria Escriva was born on January 9 1902, in Barbastro, Huesca, Aragon, Spain. His father was Jose Escriva y Corzan and his mother was Maria de los Dolores Albas y Blanc. Out of six children, he was the second born but the first of two sons.
Josemaria’s father was a businessman as well as a partner in a textile company. Eventually, that textile company went bankrupt and Jose Escriva and his family were forced, in 1915, to move and seek employment as a clerk in a clothing store in the city of Logrono in La Rioja province.
After he saw footprints in the snow left by a monk who was walking barefoot, Josemaria felt for the first time that he had been chosen for something. He received his father’s blessings and went for his priesthood studies in Logroño and Zaragoza.
Josemaria was ordained as a deacon on December 20 1924 and as a priest on March 28 1925. He was sent briefly to a rural parish in Perdiguera, Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain. In 1927, he went to Madrid, Spain to study law at the Central University. While he was here, he was employed as a private tutor and as a chaplain.
In 1928, Josemaria founded Opus Dei (Work of God), a way of life through which Catholics would sanctify themselves by their secular work. Its final approval was given in 1950 by Pope Pius XII as an institution of pontifical right.
During the Spanish Civil War, Josemaria Escriva escaped from Madrid to the city of Burgos but after the war was over, he resumed and completed his studies of a doctorate in law in Madrid.
On February 14 1943, he founded the Opus Dei affiliated, Priestly Society of the Holy Cross. In 1946, Josemaria relocated to Rome and guided the development of Opus Dei throughout the world with tireless charity and operative hope.
He tirelessly embraced the task of forming the members of Opus Dei by mobilizing lay people to vocations of priesthood and the religious life. He also breathed life to numerous initiatives in human welfare and evangelization work.
Josemaria Escriva founded several institutions to aid him in fostering and spreading Opus Dei. These are some of them;
- In 1948: The Roman College of the Holy Cross (Collegium Romanum Sanctae Crucis), Opus Dei men educational center in Rome.
- In 1953: Roman College of Saint Mary (Collegium Romanum Sanctae Mariae) Opus Dei women educational center in Rome.
- The University of Navarre, Pamplona, Spain
- The University of Piura, Peru
The two Roman Colleges are now joined into the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross while the above two universities are secular but affiliated with Opus Dei.
Pope Pius XII appointed Josemaria Escriva as an Honorary Domestic Prelate in 1950. This bestowed on him the title of Monsignor. He enrolled at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome where he graduated with a doctorate of theology degree in 1955.
It is said that when he was two years old, he might have suffered from epilepsy and the doctors were afraid that he might die. His mother took him to Torreciudad Marian shrine in Aragon, Spain and he recovered. This prompted him to oversee the design and construction of a major shrine at Torreciudad in the 1960s and 1970s.
After Josemaria Escriva’s death, on July 7 1975, the shrine was inaugurated and became Opus Dei’s spiritual center and an important pilgrimage destination.
Opus Dei grew exponentially, and by 1975 when Josemaria died, membership was around 60,000 and spread in 80 countries.
The salient personalities of Josemaria Escriva were his capacity for organization and government and the energy he would put into it. He was also very obedient to the Pope and Church hierarchy and had a great love for Holy Mother Church. He also loved The Blessed Virgin Mary and wrote a beautiful small book called The Holy Rosary.
At an early age, Josemaria Escriva would always carry the rosary in his pocket. After founding Opus Dei, he instructed that the image of the Virgin Mary should be placed in all the offices and rooms in Opus Dei and encouraged his followers to greet these images when they entered a room. He often preached that “To Jesus, we go and to Him, we return through Mary”.
Josemaria had a very good sense of humor and would crack jokes, roam the stage, makes faces, and make off-the-cuff remarks which would leave his audience in stitches.
Josemaria Escriva was an exemplary priest, with a very solid spiritual and doctrinal formation, very intelligent, prudent, humble, and self-sacrificing in work.Bishop Leopoldo Eijo y Garay, the Bishop of Madrid where Opus Dei was started
When Josemaria Escriva gave an explanation of the name ‘Opus Dei’, he would say that he knew he had to found something, and would expound and say that what he was founding was not his own work, but ‘God’s work’ and that the Lord was merely using him to make that work done.
Josemaria Escriva taught his spiritual students that wealth is good, but it should only be used to serve God. One should not get attached to it.
Josemaria Escriva loved prayers very much. He would recite some of these aspirations from the early age of sixteen. The aspirations he recited were;
- Domine, ut videam!, Lord, that I might see!
- Domina, ut sit!, Lady, that it might be!
- Omnes cum Petro ad Iesum per Mariam!, All together with Peter to Jesus through Mary!
- Regnare Christum volumus! We want Christ to reign!
- Deo omnis gloria! All the glory to God!
St Josemaria’s life and work remind us that when you do the work that God has given you, you will be loving God and accomplishing the divine will by serving God. When God created you, he had a plan and a mission for you. Therefore, St Josemaria Escriva was chosen by God to remind us that we can achieve holiness by merely carrying out our daily life and ordinary activities are very valid and timely.
Josemaria often said that Jesus was not an example to imitate from afar, but a person we should continuously live alongside. On liturgy, he applied the prescriptions of Vatican II within Opus Dei.
He practiced self-flagellation and also recommended it to others in Opus Dei as a good practice for corporal mortification. He would whip himself thoroughly blood would sprinkle to the walls of his cubicle.
His principal work was the initiation, government and expansion of Opus Dei. Escrivá’s best-known publications are
- The Way
- Christ is Passing By
- The Forge
- Conversations with Monsignor Josemaría Escrivá
- Friends of God
- In Love with the Church
- Holy Rosary
These books have been translated into 43 languages and has sold several million copies.
St Josemaria Escriva Birth
He was born on January 9 1902, in Barbastro, Huesca, Aragon, Spain.
St Josemaria Escriva Death
He died of cardiac arrest on June 26 1975, after entering his room where he collapsed on the floor and died.
St Josemaria Escriva’s father was Jose Escriva y Corzan and his mother was Maria de los Dolores Albas y Blanc. Out of six children, he was the second born but the first of two sons.
On February 19 1981, the Cause of Josemaria Escriva’s beatification was introduced in Rome after there was reports that Sister Concepción Boullón Rubio was miraculously cured of lipomatosis in 1976. It was said that her family had prayed to Josemaria for help. The cure of Sister Rubio was accepted on July 6 1991 and Pope John Paul II beatified him on May 17 1992.
In November 1992, Dr Manuel Nevado Rey was miraculously cured from the incurable cancerous chronic radiodermatitis disease after Escrivá’s intervention was sought through prayer. The miracle was validated by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and in December 2001, Pope John Paul II approved it and thereafter on October 6 2002, canonized St Josemaria Escriva.
The body of St Josemaria Escriva is interred in a casket located beneath the altar of Our Lady of Peace, Prelatic Church of Opus Dei, Viale Bruno Buozzi, 75 00197 Rome, Italy.
St Josemaria Escriva Feast Day
The feast day is celebrated on June 26 every year in the Catholic Church
St Josemaria Escriva is the Patron Saint of
- Opus Dei
- People with diabetes
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