Laura Busca Otaegui (called “Laurita” by those who knew her well) was born on November 3, 1912 in Zumárraga, in the Basque region of Spain. In 1935, she obtained a degree in pharmacology at the Central University in Madrid. That same year she met her future husband, Eduardo Ortiz de Landazuri. After they both lived through the civil war years in Spain, they were married on June 17, 1941, at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Arantzazu. Their marriage was a fruitful one, with seven children.
A warm-hearted and understanding person, she sought holiness in the midst of her daily work as the mother of a large family. She asked for admission to Opus Dei on January 8, 1953. Following the advice of Saint Josemaria Escriva, Laura and her husband Eduardo strove to make their family a “bright and cheerful home.” Her life was marked by an extraordinary self-giving in caring for her husband and children, and for many other people, drawing strength from her deep piety and love for God.
From the 50’s on she suffered from a painful back ailment, which she bore with fortitude and joyful acceptance of God’s will.
On December 11, 1998, she had the joy of being present, in Pamplona, at the opening of the diocesan Process on the virtues of her husband Eduardo, and soon after was given the opportunity to offer testimony in the Process. After a painful illness borne with extraordinary Christian fortitude, she died in Pamplona, with a reputation for holiness, on October 11, 2000.
After finishing his degree in medicine, Eduardo Ortiz de Landazuri worked in the King’s Hospital, in Madrid. In 1935 he went to Germany for further studies.
In 1940, after the disruption of the Spanish Civil War, he went to the Clinical Hospital in Madrid in order to work alongside Dr Jimenez Diaz, whom he always regarded as his teacher and master in medicine. In 1944 he obtained a doctorate in his speciality.
In September 1958, he joined the Faculty of Medicine at the recently-begun University of Navarra. He was to spend the rest of his working life until the day of his retirement working there and in the University Hospital.
At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War his father, a professional soldier, was imprisoned in Madrid and condemned to death. Eduardo with his mother and sister spent the night with his father before he faced the firing squad on September 8, 1936.
Later, referring to those days, he said that they had been the most painful days of his life. The event left a deep mark on his soul and was the start of a profound spiritual crisis, the beginning of his inner conversion to God.
On June 17, 1941, he married Laura Busca Otaegui. They had met in 1935 at the King’s Hospital where she had been working in the pharmacy. They eventually had seven children. Thereafter, his wife and children always came first in his life.
On June 1, 1952, he asked for admission to Opus Dei. His contact with the Work meant the start of a serious struggle for continual improvement in his Christian life following the way opened by the holy life and teachings of the Founder, Saint Josemaria Escriva, a person he came to love greatly.
Little by little, growing in the awareness of his divine filiation, Eduardo developed a simple and firm piety. People always found him serene and cheerful, even when faced with serious difficulties or in moments of tiredness.
He worked exceptionally hard. His day started very early, with time dedicated to personal prayer and daily Mass, and usually finished in the early hours of the following day.
He showed great care for his colleagues and assistants. For his students he was a teacher and guide not only in professional matters but also in personal ones. He was friendly with everyone and tried to make himself always available. But at the same time he was demanding both on himself and on others because he wanted the talents he and they had received to be used for God’s glory.
Patients found him a true friend, for he paid attention to every aspect of their life to help them attain both bodily and spiritual health.
In Opus Dei he learned the value of fosterng a unity of life. He came to see that the care of his family, his study and work, his interaction with friends, colleagues and students should all be deeply influenced by his faith. He found in each activity, done carefully and with order, a way to draw closer to God; it was the offering of his life, turning it into true contemplative prayer.
He retired from teaching in 1983 when he was 73 years old. A short while later he was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour. On being operated on it was discovered that the cancer was too extensive to be curable
From the very beginning he was aware of the seriousness of his illness and he accepted it, uniting himself ever more completely with Christ’s sufferings on the Cross and offering his life for the Church. In the last two years of his life he kept up his professional contacts, eager to bring many souls to God.
On May 1, 1985, he was brought to the University Clinic at Pamplona, where he himself had given loving professional care to so many sick people. He died there at 9 am on May 20, while praying the words: “Lord, increase my faith, increase my hope, increase my love, so that my heart may resemble yours!”
His reputation for sanctity quickly spread after his death, a reputation that many people had appreciated even in his lifetime, and every day more and more people ask him to intercede for them with God.