Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer
- Category : Religion-Saint-Stigmatist
- Type : GE
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Penetration 4
Spanish ecclesiastic, the founder of a Catholic sect "Opus Dei" (God's Work) in Spain. Escriva de Balaguer y Albas, marques of Peralta, Monsignor Josemaria, known as "El Padre." His organization spread around the world to some 80,000 members, doing service and benefits and becoming wealthy in their endeavors. His devotees feel that he is a Saint.
Escriva had a difficult childhood with family dissension and he left home early. Devout, he felt that he had a mission to serve and he built his power base as the charismatic founder of a lurid, elitist and power-hungry fundamentalist Catholic sect. He had five siblings: Carmen (1899-1957) and Santiago (1919-1994), plus three younger sisters who died when they were small children. His parents, Jose and Dolores, gave their children a deep Christian education. In 1915, his dad’s business failed and the family moved to Logrono. It was there as a teenager that Josemaria for the first time sensed his vocation. Moved by the sight of footprints left in the snow by a barefoot friar, he sensed that God was asking something of him, though he did not know exactly what it was. He thought becoming a priest would help him discover and fulfill this calling from God, so he began to prepare for the priesthood, first in Logrono and later in Saragossa. Josemaria's father died in 1924, leaving him as head of the family. After his ordination in 1925, he began his ministry in a rural parish, and subsequently continued it in Saragossa. In 1927, Fr. Josemaria's bishop gave him permission to move to Madrid to obtain his doctorate in law.
On 10/02/1928, Fr. Josemaria received his mission from God while on spiritual retreat – the founding of Opus Dei, a way of sanctification in daily work and in the fulfillment of the Christian's ordinary duties. In 1946 Fr. Josemaria took up residence in Rome where he obtained a doctorate in Theology from the Lateran University and was appointed by Pope Pius XII as a consulter to two Vatican Congregations, as an honorary member of the Pontifical Academy of Theology, and as an honorary prelate. He traveled often throughout Europe and to Mexico and Latin America.
Opus Dei accumulated several banks, business ventures in the press, media, private schools and universities, and became a powerful lobby worldwide and within the Vatican. The members of the sect are mainly recruited from among the upper and middle-classes with methods remarkably similar to that of cult brainwashing. The organization became famed for merciless proselytizing of its followers through practices such as self-mortification, enforced celibacy and rigid disciplines. Critics feel that the sect is a coercive, secretive, conservative and ambitious organization, created by an ill-tempered, manipulative and controversial figure. "They are a danger to society," said Javier Sainz Moreno, a finance and tax law professor at Madrid's Autonomous University. He claims the organization has enriched itself in a string of murky financial deals. Opus Dei's reputation for elitism started during the 1939-75 dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco. Many of the technocrats in Franco's later governments belonged to the movement, and are widely credited with helping bring about Spain's economic boom of the 1960s.
Today, Opus Dei runs IESE, one of the nation's leading business schools, and the University of Navarra, which Escriva founded in 1952. Two of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's children went to Opus-run schools.
Escriva died 6/26/1975, Rome. On 5/17/1992 pilgrims from some 60 counties, more than 200,000 people, jammed St. Peter's Square to watch the Pope beatify him, the final step before Sainthood as declared by the Roman Catholic Vatican. Pope John Paul II declared Josemaria Escrivà de Balaguer a Saint, Rome, 10/06/ 2002, 10.24 MEDT, Rome (Bordoni from Italian TV) Sainthood came just 27 years after his death, one of the shortest waiting spans in the Vatican's history.