Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer (1902-1975)
Blessed Pope John Paul II canonized St. Josemaría, the founder of Opus Dei, in 2002 . . .
Feast Day: June 26
Canonized: October 6, 2002
Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer grew up in a devout and happy Catholic home, although the family was forced to overcome many challenges. Josemaría entered the seminary in 1920. At the age of 22, he was appointed an inspector in the seminary by his archbishop. Ordained in 1925, he went on to earn a doctorate in civil law in Madrid and a doctorate in theology from the Lateran University in Rome. He also worked as an instructor in law to support his family following the death of his father.
In 1928, Josemaría established the Personal Prelature Opus Dei and devoted the rest of his life to its promotion and development. In 1934, he published Spiritual Considerations, the first version of The Way, one of the most popular devotional works in modern history. In 1943, he started the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross.
In the period following World War II, Josemaría embarked upon plans to expand Opus Dei beyond the confines of Spain. In 1950, Pope Pius XII granted Opus Dei definitive approval.
In 1982, Pope John Paul II gave Opus Dei its definitive status in Church law as a Personal Prelature. Josemaría’s canonization in 2002 was attended by more than 500,000 pilgrims and 42 cardinals. John Paul declared: “St. Josemaría was a master in the practice of prayer, which he considered to be an extraordinary ‘weapon’ to redeem the world.”
This column is written for Legatus by Dr. Matthew Bunson, editor of “The Catholic Answer Magazine” and author of “John Paul II’s Book of Saints.”