Following the recent declaration of the heroic virtues of Guadalupe Ortiz, the press office of Opus Dei in Rome held a press conference about Guadalupe and her renowned holiness, this past June 22nd.
“Yesterday in his general audience, Pope Francis spoke about the hope of sanctity, referring to the saints as witnesses and friends of hope on the path towards holiness. Many times people think that it is easier to become a delinquent than a saint. But the Pope said that this isn't the case, because Our Lord helps us with his grace. I think that Guadalupe is a good companion on the path to holiness, because her example is very encouraging.” This is how Francesco Russo, priest and director of Opus Dei's office for the causes of saints, opened the session.
According to Antonio Rodriguez de Rivera, priest and postulator of the cause, Guadalupe is, “an accessible example because she had a very normal life. Guadalupe was a dedicated woman, pious, who always went to the Tabernacle for her strength, who forgot about herself in order to care for others.”
A Woman of Faith
Claudia Robles, a lawyer from Mexico, explained that despite never having met Guadalupe, she became well-acquainted with her through the incredible impact Guadalupe made during the six years she lived in Mexico, from 1950 to 1956. “Her life in Mexico reflects her constancy in living the virtues up until her death,” Claudia observed.
“It's impressive to see her faith and confidence before the impossible. I think it was from St. Josemaria that she learned to dream with her feet firmly on the ground. After graduating from Chemistry, with a very promising future ahead, in a time when very few women received university degrees - even less so in sciences -, with a great faith in God and that Opus Dei was God’s will, Guadalupe left for an unknown country, on a far continent. Without knowing anybody and without the 'security' of economic means, she arrived in Mexico in 1950 to begin Opus Dei there.”
The different impressions offered highlighted how Guadalupe, with the help of others, started various projects during her six years in Mexico, such as a residence for young university students and a hospitality school-residence in Mexico City. Many of the beneficiaries were girls from the rural area of Michoacán. She was also involved in starting Chapultepec, a high school in Culiacan, and in the expansion of Opus Dei across the Mexican Republic and other countries in America.
The testimonies also point to how Guadalupe taught by example: she would always be the one to start the hardest jobs. It is well known that Guadalupe did not have much talent in the area of domestic work; nevertheless, one often saw her scrubbing the floors or cooking typical Mexican dishes for the students to make them feel at home. She had a great trust in people and their capacities, and knew how to transmit the need to help others.
The testimonies also point to how Guadalupe taught by example.
One of the initiatives that Guadalupe started is Montefalco, an estate that was an important sugar mill in the early twentieth century, but that fell into ruins after the Mexican Revolution in 1910. In 1951, less than a year after Guadalupe’s arrival in Mexico, the property was donated in order to start a social center to help farmers from the surrounding area. One day she brought some friends to see Montefalco, explaining what it would be like in the future. Although some of them labeled her as naïve, shortly thereafter the project started to grow successfully and it still exists today.
In less than six years, Guadalupe was able to see the beginning of that impossible “dream” become a reality: in 1956 – despite not having finished construction and the many difficulties involved – Montefalco was functioning. The activities have not ceased since then and today it is a learning center that provides professional and human development for girls and young people, having seen more than 5,000 students pass through its doors.
According to the postulator, Guadalupe’s joy and contagious smile are what stand out among all of the testimonies gathered over the beatification process, consequences of her friendship with God.
Guadalupe, help from heaven
Since her death many people from all over the world have begun to ask God for favors and miracles through the mediation of Guadalupe: Spain, Mexico, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Lithuania, Kenya, India, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, the United States and Canada. Many of those who have invoked the help of Guadalupe for different needs write the favors they have received to the site www.guadalupeortizdelandazuri.org.
The postulator of the cause explained, “there is a presumed miracle that the Congregation of the Cause of Saints has to study: the cure of a skin tumor (carcinoma) in the eye that could not be operated on due to the high risk of losing vision. They invoked the help of Guadalupe with a lot of faith, and one night the tumor disappeared.”
Many people all over the world have begun to ask God for favors and miracles through the mediation of Guadalupe.
This extraordinary cure has been studied in the diocese of Barcelona, where they received various testimonies; afterwards two medical experts intervened and have verified that the eye has been completely cured. All of this evidence has been presented to the Congregation in procedural statements and will now be presented to medical consultants who will have to study whether or not the cure is explicable from a medical standpoint. If they consider that it is not, the theological consultants will have to examine if the cure can be attributed to the intercession of Guadalupe. Should it be so, the case can be presented to the cardinals and bishops of the Congregation: “It is a long process, but it is for the sake of prudence,” the postulator assured.
Many saints?Franceso Russo commented that one could possibly think that they are promoting too many causes for canonization and that there are too many saints. However, one could answer that there will never be enough saints and that – paraphrasing what Pope Francis said in his last general audience – it is beautiful to be accompanied by many witnesses because in the diversity of the saints, no one feels alone, we all feel supported and called to sanctity.