Blessed Guadalupe

Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri (1916-1975), the Spanish chemist who brought the message of Opus Dei to Mexico, has been beatified in Madrid. In a letter, Pope Francis wrote that she was an example of holiness in "normality”

The delegate of the Holy Father for the beatification Mass was Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Concelebrating with him were the Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, Carlos Osoro, the Prelate of Opus Dei, Fernando Ocáriz, as well as six cardinals, nine archbishops, 17 bishops and some 150 priests.

Pope Francis: the joy of Guadalupe

In a letter, Pope Francis expressed his desire to join "in the joy and thanksgiving" for the beatification of Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri. The Auxiliary Vicar of the Prelature, Mariano Fazio, read the letter out loud at the end of the ceremony (link to the full text of the letter).

The new Blessed, Pope Francis wrote, "placed her many human and spiritual qualities at the service of others, helping in a particular way other women and families in need of education and development." The pontiff stressed that Guadalupe "did all this not with a proselytizing attitude but simply through her prayer and witness," "with the joy that came from knowing she was a daughter of God, as she had learned from Saint Josemaría himself."

The Prelate of Opus Dei, Fernando Ocáriz, after thanking God for the beatification of Guadalupe, asked Cardinal Becciu to convey to the Roman Pontiff his gratitude and that of the entire Prelature of Opus Dei. "Tell him," the prelate said, "that we are grateful for the message that he sent us and that we listened to today; that we express our filial affection and pray for his pastoral ministry as the successor of Peter" (words of gratitude from the Prelate of Opus Dei) .

The Prelate entrusted to the intercession of Blessed Guadalupe the intention that all the faithful of the Work will "be good children of the Church always, and that – as Saint Josemaria wanted – the Prelature of Opus Dei might always serve the Church 'as the Church wants to be served.' With the grace of God, the maternal mediation of Holy Mary, and the example of the new blessed, may we always know how to discover daily that our ordinary life is the place where Jesus Christ awaits us, as well as an opportunity to share the joy of the Gospel with others."

Cardinal Becciu stressed the new Blessed’s ability to teach us "that it is possible to harmonize prayer and action, contemplation and work." In addition, she "teaches us that the ability to listen and to always be cheerful, even in the most painful situations, is something beautiful and attractive." (full text of the homily of Cardinal Becciu).

"Guadalupe is presented before our eyes as a model of the Christian woman, always faithful to where God's plan wants her to be, especially in the social sphere and in scientific research. In short, Guadalupe was a gift for the whole Church and is a valuable example to follow.”

A global beatification, sustainable, digital

At 9 AM on Saturday, the Palacio Vistalegre Arena opened its doors. There were greetings, reunions and selfies, with participants coming from distant and exotic places: Nigeria, New Zealand, Singapore, India, Japan, with some dressed in regional attire.

More than 11,000 people of 60 nationalities came to Madrid to participate in the beatification, but many more followed virtually through television or streaming, from their homes or in the screenings organized in different cities around the world, accompanied by mariachis, Mexican food, or chemistry experiments. This was, without a doubt, a beatification of the 21st century: digital and international.

Among the attendees were relatives of the new Blessed. Luis Cruz, a great-nephew of Blessed Guadalupe and a university chaplain in Madrid, said his great aunt, "was a woman who knew how to put herself under God's gaze and to see the good of what happened to her and the good of each person." He stressed that, "she looked at you with a happy smile, and you enjoyed being with her."

The three sons of Antonio Sedano, the man who was cured of basal cell carcinoma through the intercession of Guadalupe, were also in attendance. They said they were "very grateful and excited. She continues to help us in small things.” Dr. José Ramón Fontenla, the first ophthalmologist who treated Mr. Sedano, was also present. "Coming to Vistalegre today,” the doctor said, “is a great joy and an occasion to ask for favors from the Blessed."

Inside the arena, participants sported wristbands labeled with an expression repeated by the new blessed ("And I’m so happy"), or smiled posing with a large photo of Guadalupe dressed as aviator at the foot of a plane in Tetouan. Others received information about the Guadalupe Scholarships at the stand of the NGO Harambee, which is sponsoring the research stays of 100 African women scientists.

Faithful prayed in the chapel installed for the occasion, while penitents waited in the area of confessionals to go to confession; liturgical items lined the sacristy, most of them coming from the beatification ceremony of Alvaro del Portillo, which also took place in Madrid. The sacred linens for the ceremony were prepared by volunteers in Spain, Switzerland and Lebanon. The wine "Perdiguera" came from the Agrarian Family School (EFA) Molino de Viento, an educational initiative in Campo de Criptana (Ciudad Real, Spain). The roses were a gift from Uruguay.

As the stands of Vistalegre Arena were filling up, a glance around the stadium featured participants of all ages, from infants to centenarians. It was clearly an inter-generational beatification.

The solemn formula

As the celebrants entered, the choir intoned Il Signore terra tutta, by Italian composer Marco Frisina. The singers form part of a professional choir "Grupo Alborada," under the direction of the baritone Gonzalo Burgos.

Almost 200 con-celebrants processed towards the altar. After the initial rites, the central moment of the ceremony took place. After hearing the words of petition by the Prelate, and a biographical sketch of the future blessed, Cardinal Becciu read the apostolic letter with the solemn formula of beatification: "We grant that the Venerable Servant of God Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri and Fernández de Heredia, lay faithful of the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei, who dedicated her life generously to the Lord, joyfully serving her brothers and sisters in the carrying out her daily tasks, from this hour may be called Blessed.”

Following these words, the image of the Blessed was unveiled while the hymn Christus Vincit sounded forth amid strong applause. From that moment, Guadalupe can be venerated throughout the Prelature of Opus Dei and the diocese of Madrid. Her feast day will be celebrated on May 18, a day she appreciated for being the anniversary of her First Communion.

The relics of the new blessed were taken to the altar by relatives of Guadalupe and members of the family of Antonio Sedano.

Cardinal Becciu: "Her heart, always open"

The time for the Liturgy of the Word arrived. During the homily, Cardinal Becciu reflected upon the biography of the new Blessed and stressed that "she teaches us how beautiful and attractive it is to have the ability to listen and be cheerful even in the most painful situations." "Her heart was always open to the needs of others, reaching out with welcome and understanding."

"Guadalupe is presented before our eyes as a model of the Christian woman, always faithful to where God's plan wants her to be, especially in the social sphere and in scientific research. In short, Guadalupe was a gift for the whole Church and is a valuable example to follow."

Cardinal Osoro: "Faithful like her"

At the end of the Mass, the Archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Osoro, spoke about the new Blessed. Referring to the 25th anniversary of the consecration of the Almudena Cathedral by Saint John Paul II, the Cardinal declared that "among these graces from heaven that we are receiving from our lady is God's gift of the beatification of Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri."

Cardinal Osoro described the new Blessed as "one of us." Born in Madrid, baptized in the parish of San Ildefonso, she discovered God's call in the temple of La Concepción and is buried in the Gran Vía in the Royal Oratory of Caballero de Gracia.

"All this," he said, "reminds us how the Blessed Virgin guided the steps of the new Blessed and sustained her on the path to holiness with abundant graces in and throughout her life. Saint Josemaría Escrivá used to say to his children, especially to the first people in the Work, like Blessed Guadalupe, that if he wanted them to imitate him in anything, it was in love for freedom and in love and devotion to Mary Most Holy. We entrust ourselves to the new Blessed to help us to be faithful like her, living God's will joyfully, and to teach us to trust like her in the intercession of our Lady."

Pilgrims "so happy"

A group of 24 students from Colegio Montefalco (Mexico) did not want to miss the celebration. They are clear about what attracts them most about the new Blessed and they eagerly tell the story: "Her example, her dedication, her true vocation, her smile ... And most especially, the fact that she is a woman." Many of these girls have used their savings and the money they received as a gift for their birthday party when turning fifteen for the trip.

Ana María del Carmen Ruiz is Mexican, 88 years old, a chemist like Guadalupe, whom she met in Mexico. "I remember her smile, her sympathy and thoughtfulness with everyone. It gave you peace to talk with her." She also admired how Guadalupe "wanted to be completely Mexican. She tried to use Mexican sayings, doing everything to be one of us." After so many years, she said, I still remember Guadalupe's example of holiness in ordinary life. I saw her so natural, working and laughing with people, that I never imagined she would be raised to the altars one day.”

Nikita came from Delhi, India. A designer, she said she was impressed by "the impact of Guadalupe in the university residences, with her understanding for others and her gentle demands." Malena, a Canadian, said, "I feel at home with the spirit of Guadalupe."

Ariel came from the Philippine city of Iloilo with a group of 15 boys from Westbridge School. "What they like most about Guadalupe is her character as a teacher," he said, adding that during this time she has granted many favors, the most important one being "the arrival of the visa the day before coming to Spain!"

Benita Maduadichie is from Nigeria and the fact that she was able to attend the beatification was due directly to Guadalupe: "I asked for a job to be able to come and just a week before the trip I found it.”

Maria is eight years old, from Warsaw, Poland, the third of four siblings. She was in Madrid with her parents, Katarigne and Michal, to thank Guadalupe for her First Communion, which she received on April 22nd. Her mother said that "Guadalupe was a happy person with a good sense of humor, and this is very attractive to me. She is a brave woman. She was not afraid of anything because she believed so much in God's love. She was very normal. She is an example for mothers, for women... I just love Guadalupe!"