Dora and the Dignity of Work

"Daily work has the same dignity whether you are a neuro-surgeon or the lady dedicated to ironing clothes at home," writes Álvaro Sarmiento on the occasion of International Worker's Day, celebrated on May 1st.

Original article in La Tribuna (Honduras) on 6 May 2017 (English translation)


On May 1st, International Workers' Day is commemorated around the world. For some it simply means another day off, and very conveniently, because it makes for a three day weekend.

For others, it implies that workers unions will renew their efforts through a reminder campaign, not to miss the opportunity to manifest their presence by some kind of protest in the street.

Work is an essential element of the dignity of the human person, and I'm not referring to an abstract philosophical or political concept, but rather, for example, the effort of dozens of people at LA TRIBUNA to revise and assemble columns sent to the Editor, the planning and dozens of actions needed, from the newspaper boy to the web-editor, who also need to do their work well, finished up to the last detail. We buy the newspaper to read it, not to fight with ink stains or typos.

Daily work has the same dignity whether you are a neuro-surgeon or the lady who dedicates herself to ironing clothes at home. We can affirm that work has more value depending on how well it is done, if the details are well cared for and taken as an opportunity to serve others, and for some as an occassion to please God. All this implies prior preparation, study, and good materials to be able to do the best work possible, among other things.


I understood all this better when I came to know the life of a woman from Lyon, Spain, whose name is Dora del Hoyo, the first assistant numerary of Opus Dei.

Surely this statement from the founder of Opus Dei, Saint Josemaria, sheds lights on all of this: "We either find God in the little things or we'll never find Him." Dora was a serious and pious woman with an excellent capacity and possesion of the technical knowledge needed for domestic work, who imparted what she knew to people from all over the world who shared her profession.

How would our country be different if each of us would struggle every day like Dora to "do what we ought and concentrate on what we are doing"? In our daily work, as a receptionist in an office, as a bus driver, or bartender, or government official... Surely many of us could benefit from knowing Dora, and learn from the example of her work and life.

In the words of monsignor Javier Echevarría, “I think she was an exemplary woman both in terms of her humanity and Christian outlook." Certainly an exeptional worker, a model worthy to be celebrated today.

By Álvaro Sarmiento, specialist in International Trade and Customs in La Tribuna

Original, complete article in Spanish here