Feast Day : February 2
Josemaria was born in Barbastro, Aragón, Spain, on January 9, 1902. In 1915, his father’s business failed, and the family moved to Logrono, where he found other work. It was in Logrono also that Josemaria first conceived of entering the priesthood. When he saw a monk’s bare footprints in the snow, he felt God was calling him. He entered the Logrono seminary and continued at the seminary in Saragossa, where he was ordained on March 28, 1925. In 1927, Josemaria moved to Madrid to study law. He still felt God wanted something particular from him, but did not know what. Then while on a retreat, on October 2, 1928, he realized that God wanted him to found Opus Dei, with the mission of encouraging all baptized Christians throughout the world, and in any station of life, to spread the word of God and to evangelize for the Catholic faith. Two years later, on February 14, 1930, he realized that Opus Dei was meant to develop its apostolate among women as well as men. Josemaria was forced into hiding by the religious persecution during the Spanish Civil War; he continued to practice his ministry clandestinely and finally was able to leave Madrid. Escaping through the Pyrenees Mountains, he took up residence in Burgos. When the war ended in 1939, he returned to Madrid, where he finally received his law degree. On February 14, 1943, Josemaria founded the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross as a complement to Opus Dei. This new society provided for the priestly ordination of lay members of Opus Dei and allowed priests from diverse dioceses to share in the spirituality and ascetic life of Opus Dei, while remaining dependent on their own bishops. In 1946, Josemaria moved to Rome. There he obtained a doctorate in theology from the Lateran University and was named consultor to two Vatican Congregations, as well as an honorary member of the Pontifical Academy of Theology and Prelate of Honor, by Pope Pius XII (r. 1939–58). Josemaria made frequent trips to various countries in Europe in order to develop the organization. In 1970, he traveled to Mexico, and in 1974 and 1975 he made long trips to Central and South America, where he held large gatherings. Everywhere he fostered vocations to the priesthood and to the religious life. At his death, Opus Dei had more than 60,000 members of 80 nationalities. On November 18, 1982, Opus Dei was erected by John Paul II as a personal prelature of international scope, and renamed the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei. Josemaria died in Rome on June 26, 1975. Many miracles have been attributed to his intercession since then. In one, Carmelite sister Concepcion Boullon Rubio was at the point of death in 1976 when she was suddenly and completely cured of a rare disease called lipomatosis after family members prayed to God for a cure through Josemaria. The miracle was unanimously approved by the Board of Physicians for the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, by a meeting of the Theological Consultors, by the Congregation of Cardinals and Bishops, and finally, by Pope John Paul II.