Biography of Isidoro Zorzano

Isidoro Zorzano was born in Buenos Aires on September 13, 1902. His parents were Spanish, and the family moved back to Spain from Argentina when he was still quite young.

From his youth he was remarkable for his diligence and seriousness about his commitments. One of his schoolmates at the Institute of Logroño was St. Josemaría Escrivá, which would turn out to be a decisive factor in his life.

In 1927, he finished his schooling in engineering in Madrid. His application to his studies and his spirit of service made him an example for all his colleagues. These qualities stood out in a still more evident way during his years of professional practice. In a time of social and ideological conflicts in Spain, Isidoro was deeply respected by both his professional colleagues and the laborers at the railroad company where he worked, because of his professional competence and his spirit of sacrifice.

Out of a desire to please God and an eagerness to bring many souls closer to him, he also dedicated time and effort to teaching, to involvement in professional associations, and to social and welfare initiatives in poor neighborhoods.

On August 24, 1930, he asked for admission to Opus Dei. He was one of the first members, and he always gave a luminous example of fidelity to God’s call in the middle of the world.

From 1936 to 1939, during the religious persecution unleashed in Spain and the ensuing civil war, he displayed heroic courage. Notwithstanding the danger he was in because he was known as a devout Catholic, he used the freedom of movement he had as a citizen of Argentina to provide spiritual and material help to many people, including the members of Opus Dei who were hidden in various parts of Madrid or locked up in jail.

At the beginning of the forties, he first began to experience the symptoms of the illness that led to his death: malignant lymphogranulomatosis. His union with our Lord grew day by day during his prolonged suffering. Doctors, nurses, and religious who treated him were amazed at the spiritual cheerfulness with which he bore his acute pain. He died on July 15, 1943, after having received the Anointing of the Sick from the founder of Opus Dei.

His life manifests the way in which the spirit of Opus Dei is practiced: searching for holiness in ordinary Christian life in the middle of the world, illuminating every sphere of human life with the light of faith and love. His reputation for holiness spread rapidly after his death, and his cause of canonization was opened in Madrid in 1948. A process was opened in 1964 in Montreal to examine a miraculous healing attributed to his intercession.

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