June 26: The feast of *Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer*
Today, June 26, we commemorate the feast day of *Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer* (1902-1975), priest, modern-day saint, and founder of Opus Dei, an organization of lay people and priests dedicated to the teaching that everyone is called to holiness by God and that ordinary life can result in sanctity.
Josemaría Escrivá was born in Barbastro, Spain. He received a deep Christian education in the home, and the family turned to God during times of need, especially following the deaths of three of his five siblings in infancy and childhood.
Josemaria was ordained in 1925 and after two years he travelled to Madrid to earn his doctorate in law. It was while studying in Madrid that Josemaria received from the Lord the purpose of his life: to found Opus Dei– a way of sanctification in daily work and in the fulfilment of the Christian’s ordinary duties. Not limited to religious, this inspired society would be comprised of laity and religious, and would provide a template for bringing the Lord into the daily lives of its members.
The Spanish Civil War created a challenge to the saint’s mission. When the war broke out in Madrid, religious persecution forced Josemaría to go into hiding, ministering to his flock in secret. In the years after the civil war, he was able to return to Madrid and complete his doctorate in Law, all the while giving many retreats to laity, priests, and religious.
Saint Josemaria moved to Rome, obtaining a doctorate in Theology, and establishing Opus Dei as an institution. In 1950, it was officially approved by the Holy See.
By the time of his death in 1975, Opus Dei had begun in dozens of countries and had touched countless lives. Escrivá’s best-known publication is The Way, which has been translated into 43 languages and has sold several million copies. Escrivá died on 26 June 1975, aged 73 of a heart attack. He was canonized on October 6, 2002 by Pope John Paul II.
*Saint Josemaría Escrivá, pray for us*.