10 things you didn’t know about St Josemaria

You probably know that St Josemaria, whose feast-day is 26th June, founded Opus Dei. Here are some not so well-known facts about him and the organization.

  1. When he founded Opus Dei he didn’t know what name to give it. Some time later his spiritual director asked him, “How is that work of God going?” And he realised that here was the perfect name for an organisation dedicated to making everyday work into a path to God – the Work of God, or Opus Dei.


  1. As a Catholic priest in Spain’s Republican zone during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), his life was constantly in danger. One night a man who looked like him was hanged in the street outside his mother’s house – probably the murderers thought it was him. St Josemaria prayed for the soul of that unknown man for the rest of his life, and also prayed for forgiveness for his would-be murderers.


  1. After the Spanish Civil War was over and he was back in Madrid, he once talked to a taxi-driver on a short trip about loving God by doing his daily work well. The taxi-driver’s response was, “Where were you during the war? In Madrid? Too bad they didn’t kill you!” St Josemaria, after paying his fare, gave him all the change he had in his pocket and said, “Buy some sweets for your wife and children.”


  1. One day he had to make a journey but, as so often in his life, had no money for the fare. At the station ticket-office he put down all the coins he had managed to scrape together and asked, “How far will that much money get me?” And made the rest of the trip on foot.

Saint Josemaria

  1. After he moved to Rome in 1946, he used to sleep on the floor because there was no money for proper beds. At one stage he found his face was paralyzed by the intense cold – because they had no money for heating either.


  1. After St Josemaria died in 1975, bishops from all around the world sent in requests for the cause of his beatification and canonisation to be opened. In all, about six thousand letters were received in the Vatican, from clergy, religious and lay people.


  1. On the day St Josemaria was canonised, 6th October 2002, a dock was named after him in Civitavecchia, the port nearest Rome. An official naming ceremony was followed by an international festival with passengers from the boats that had come for the canonisation.


  1. Blessed Oscar Romero used to go to an Opus Dei priest for spiritual direction.


  1. Pope Francis is a big fan of St Josemaria, having prayed for and received help through his intercession at a critical juncture in his life.


  1. St Josemaria stayed in London in the summers of 1958 to 1962 inclusive, to take a break from his usual surroundings and be able to work in coolness and tranquillity. Altogether he spent longer in England than any other country except Spain and Italy.

Alvaro del Portillo, CTS booklet



Helena Scott is the author, together with Ethel Tolansky, of CTS title Alvaro del Portillo 



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One comment on “10 things you didn’t know about St Josemaria

  1. Amazing facts really was a great man!l will appreciate getting more from other holy people.

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