Free e-book on engineer Isidoro Zorzano

"Isidoro 100%" is a portrait, a conversation about Isidoro Zorzano which summarises the most significant of the 259 testimonies that were collected after his death, due to lymphoma when he was about to turn 41 and was working as a railway engineer.

Download the free e-book here.

Enrique Muñiz, author of the book, explains that he has not tried to write a new biography, but rather an agile book, with many photographs in the hard copy, which allows today's readers to get closer to the figure of Isidoro and his example of the search for holiness in ordinary life.

Isidoro, who first met Saint Josemaría when they were both high school students in Logroño, was the Founder's confidant in the early days of the Work, and the first to persevere in the vocation to Opus Dei that the founder presented to him directly in 1930.

“In the introduction to the book,” Muñiz explains, “I explain why I consider myself Isidoro's neighbour and list many others who have every reason to do the same as me: ‘his countrymen in Buenos Aires and even more so the neighbours of Corrientes Avenue and Riobamba, the small homeland of the tango, and the place where Isidoro was born; or the parishioners of San Alberto Magno (St Albert the Great), in Vallecas (Madrid), where his remains are laid to rest; not to mention, industrial engineers and railway workers, his colleagues. And that is not the end of the neighbourhoods. Isidoro was a migrant -both in Argentina, because he was the son of Spaniards, and in Spain because he was born in Argentina; he studied by the sweat of his brow -his teachers doubted that he would finish the Baccalaureate and it took him three years to pass the entrance exam to the Engineering School; he lost his father at the age of nine, his grandmother in the pandemic known as the Spanish flu of 1918, his brother Fernando on Epiphany 1920 due to typhoid fever and his brother Paco in the battle of Brunete, during the Spanish Civil War; his family was ruined by the bankruptcy of the Banco Español del Río de la Plata... There is more: he came from a large family (five siblings), his parents had a haberdashery -what we would call today self-employed entrepreneurs-, he liked collecting postage stamps, he knew how to make homemade galena radio receivers, he was passionate about education, he was rigorous in keeping the accounts of his house -and those of Opus Dei-, he was short (1.63 m. when he was measured in 1923) and wore glasses, he went mountain hiking…’

In addition to the testimonies collected after his death, I have of course followed the biography of Isidoro written by José Miguel Pero-Sanz in 1996 (now in its fifth edition), the e-mails of thanks received at the Office for the causes of Saints in Opus Dei, and many of the messages that arrive through the mailbox next to his tomb. I have also spoken to students and professors at the Industrial College, and to devout locals who come to ask God for favours through his intercession....

There are some unpublished photos in the book, such as the one of the crucifix in front of which he made a particularly important decision, and I have also been able to locate the location of the clinic where he spent most of his time during his last illness - which, incidentally, was in a villa where there is now a school - but in general the novelty of the book is not that it has made any great discoveries.

Isidoro was very normal. Perhaps the most original thing about my story is the title: young people now use "100%" as a catch-all. I think people my age would have preferred the title "Isidoro 100% engineer", "Isidoro, the quest for sainthood at 100%" or, at least, "Isidoro at 100%"; but I let myself be convinced by my younger advisors: they don't care much whether 100% is the simplification of an adverb or a nominal attribute without the verb to be. They are 100% young and they have persuaded me.

The good example of ordinary people who find God behind the ordinary events of their ordinary lives – ‘those men and women who work to bring home the bread,’ in the words of Pope Francis - helps us to be better. May the reading of these pages also serve to encourage someone to ask God for a miracle through Isidoro's intercession, leading to his beatification... and then another, God willing, to his canonisation.”