On 18 May 2019, Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri will be beatified by the Catholic Church. So what did this woman do to merit such a distinction?
We’ll find out by zooming in on some of the different facets of her otherwise normal life and discover why it is that Guadalupe is being presented to us now as a model of holiness today.
“We are frequently tempted to think that holiness is only for those who can withdraw from ordinary affairs to spend much time in prayer. That is not the case. We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves.”
POPE FRANCIS, Rejoice and be glad, 14
"The adventure of holiness begins with a yes to God."
SAINT JOHN PAUL II
Sometimes life surprises us in unimaginable ways. This certainly happened to Guadalupe. An unexpected turn of events allowed her to meet Saint Josemaría Escriva in 1944, marking a turning point in her life. God changed her plans and invited her to collaborate in a project that would occupy her heart, mind and soul for the rest of her life.
“Don't let your life be barren. Be useful. Make yourself felt. Shine forth with the torch of your faith and your love… and set aflame all the ways of the earth with the fire of Christ that you bear in your heart.”
SAINT JOSEMARÍA ESCRIVÁ
GO DEEPER: Do you want to get to know Guadalupe from the inside out? Read some of her letters to Saint Josemaria.
Would you like to see what the Zubarán University Residence looks like today?
Guadalupe did not have much experience to lean on at a time where women were just beginning to embark on new adventures professionally. In this context, Guadalupe undertook the task of directing Zurbarán, the first women’s university residence of Opus Dei in the world. Guadalupe did not exactly know what she was doing, but she rolled up her sleeves and got down to work.
Zurbarán was the first women’s university residence of Opus Dei in the world.
Objective: to offer women an adequate framework for their education and integral development. In a short period of time, Guadalupe forms a network of professors, experts and professionals that will eventually make Zurbarán a center for culture. Today, there are more than a hundred residences like this spread across five continents.
1950. Guadalupe travels to Mexico, leaving behind everything she has ever known. In five years, her heart is won over by a new land and its people.
Would you like to see what Montefalco looks like today?
Guadalupe enjoys a brief stay in Rome after being invited by the founder of Opus Dei, Saint Josemaria Escriva, to assist him more directly in the direction of this new institution within the Church. Guadalupe’s new work would be to promote and guide initiatives with an apostolic focus in the areas of family, and in particular to help married people. Shortly after arriving in Rome, however, Guadalupe experiences serious heart problems. Ultimately, she is forced to give up this new role and return to her home country of Spain.
Guadalupe’s return to Madrid represents a new phase in her life.
Despite her illness, she is able to resume her professional career right where she left off, but with a fresh outlook.
Guadalupe's life becomes a constant balance between her professional work, her dedication to friends and apostolic activities, as well as looking after her ageing mother.
Meanwhile, the soul of Guadalupe pulls on her ailing heart, which has suffered for many years. Against her will, her body says enough and Guadalupe is forced to bid her final farewell.
Guadalupe had dealt with illness from a young age. Her last letter to Saint Josemaría reflects her attitude toward it:
“Father, I am writing you from the clinic. I have been here 22 days and at the end of the month, the cardiologists will decide whether they should change the 'heart valves'. I am at peace and I am not worried about what is happening. This year, until coming to the clinic, I lived a normal life just as in previous years (but I am getting increasingly more tired).” (Letter to Saint Josemaria, written from Pamplona, Spain, on 22 June 1975).
Guadalupe dies on July 16, 1975, just 20 days after Saint Josemaría's death.
It is a death that everyone feels has arrived far too soon.
“Well done, good and faithful servant... Come share your Master's joy."
Matthew 25: 14-30
The goal of every Christian is Heaven and, from there, to continue to help many find God through the daily circumstances of life.