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Saint Josemaria Escriva

Also known as Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer

Memorial 26 June

Profile One of six children born to Jose and Dolores Escriva; three of his siblings died in infancy. His father was a small businessman, and when his business failed in 1915, the family moved to Logrono. As a young man, Josemaria saw the bare footprints left in the snow by a monk; the sight moved him, and kindled a desire for religious vocation. He studied for the priesthood in Logrono and Zaragoza. His father died in 1924, and Josemaria had to simultaneously support the family while studying. Ordained in Zaragoza on 28 March 1925. Assigned for a while to a rural parish, and then in Zaragoza. Moved to Madrid in 1927 to study law. Following a profound spiritual retreat, he founded Opus Dei in Madrid on 2 October 1928, which opened a new way for the faithful to sanctify themselves in the midst of the world through their work and fulfillment of their personal, family and social duties. The next few years were spent studying at the University of Madrid, teaching to support his mother and siblings, ministering to the poor and sick, and working to build the foundation of Opus Dei. Religious persecution in the Spanish Civil War forced him into hiding, and he ministered covertly to his parishioners. He escaped across the Pyrenees to Burgos. At the end of the war in 1939, he returned to his studies in Madrid.

Doctor of law. Retreat master for laity, priests, and religious. On 14 February 1943, he founded the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, united to Opus Dei. Moved to Rome in 1946. Obtained a doctorate in theology from the Lateran University. Consultor to two Vatican Congregations. Honorary member of the Pontifical Academy of Theology. Named a prelate of honor by Pope Pius XII. Opus Dei received the approval of the Holy See on 16 June 1950. Josemaria travelled frequently throughout Europe and Latin America to work for the growth of Opus Dei. By the time of his death, Opus Dei had spread to five continents with over 60,000 members of 80 nationalities, and today has over 80,000 members, most laymen. In 1976 Carmelite sister Concepcion Boullon Rubio was at the point of death when she was suddenly and completely cured of lipomatosis after members of her family prayed to God for a cure through the intercession of Saint Josemaria.

His Cause for canonization was introduced in Rome on 19 February 1981. On 9 April 1990, Pope John Paul II declared that he lived the Christian virtues to a heroic degree. The cure of Sister Rubio was unanimously approved by the Board of Physicians for the Congregation of the Causes of Saints on 6 July 1991. On 20 December 2001 a second miracle attributed to Monsignor Escriva's intervention was decreed by the Congregation and approved by Pope John Paul II. Born 9 January 1902 at Barbastro, Spain

Died 26 June 1975 of natural causes in his office in Rome, Italy body at Prelatic Church of Our Lady of Peace at Viale Bruno Buozzi 75, Rome, Italy

Beatified 17 May 1992 by Pope John Paul II

Canonized 6 October 2002 by Pope John Paul II

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