José Maria Hernández Garnica was born in Madrid on 17 November 1913. As a university student he came into contact with Saint Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei, and asked to join in 1935. He was one of the first three priests ordained for Opus Dei, in 1944.
Shortly afterwards, he was specially entrusted by Saint Josemaría with developing the apostolic work of Opus Dei with women. He managed to combine this task with many other pastoral assignments. He carried out his priestly ministry all across Europe: in Ireland, England, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland and Spain.
Fr José Maria first came to Britain in October 1955 and then made frequent visits. It was he who had recommended that Saint Josemaría and Blessed Alvaro come to London for the summer break in 1958. They would come five years in a row, until 1962, when the Second Vatican Council work detained them in Rome.
Fr José Maria was good with his hands, and helped with setting up altars in oratories in Britain. His last visit was in the summer of 1970 when he spent three weeks at Wickenden Manor in Sussex. He died in Barcelona several years later in December 1972. After his death, his canonization cause was quickly opened. The Holy See is currently studying a Report – the Positio – to determine whether he lived the virtues to a heroic degree, and thus can be called “Venerable,” two steps before full sainthood.
Newsletters about Fr José Maria are published each year. The one for 2017 is now available in English on this website, along with three other newsletters in English and a short video about his life. These newsletters reflect different aspects of his life and work and offer just a few of the many favours people have received worldwide through his intercession.