In order to find the appropriate way for Opus Dei to organize within the Code of Canon Law, Josemaría moved to live in Rome. Additionally, he promoted the construction of the headquarters of the Work, with more optimism than economic security. In 1954, his older sister, Carmen, passed away, which was very tough for both Josemaría and his younger brother, Santiago.

Meanwhile, the work of the Work began in countries such as France, England, Mexico, the United States, Switzerland, Brazil, Japan, and Kenya. From 1962 to 1965, the Second Vatican Council took place (a meeting of all the bishops in the world), which, among several things, emphasized the universal call to holiness; that is, that everyone is called to Heaven.

The Church, like any other human institution, has a series of legal norms organized in the Code of Canon Law. There, its organization and hierarchy are established, as well as the rights and obligations of the faithful, the sacraments, and the sanctions in case these norms are not fulfilled.

For Josemaría, it was very important that Opus Dei be regulated within the Church's code of law. However, there was a problem: there was no "legal framework" – so to speak – for an organization within the Church where laymen and laywomen, as well as priests, could collaborate in parallel. There is always a first time for everything.

Therefore, Josemaría saw it necessary to move to Rome, in order to closely follow these procedures.

It was the year 1946. That year the General Assembly of the United Nations had just been inaugurated in London, and in September Freddie Mercury would be born in Tanzania. Meanwhile, Josemaría traveled to Rome to settle in an apartment on Piazza della Città Leonina, n. 9. From the window, you could see the windows of Pope Pius XII's rooms; Josemaría spent that first Roman night praying for him.

Josemaría faced a serious health crisis: in 1944, he had been diagnosed with diabetes, which meant a very strict diet and continuous injections. One day he wrote: "Doctors claim that I could die at any moment... When I lie down, I don't know if I will get up. And when I get up in the morning, I don't know if I will make it to the end of the day" [1]. During the first years in Rome, the disease worsened: his whole body became ulcerated, he lost almost all his teeth, and he almost completely lost his sight. After so many treatments, his skin was so tough that it was very difficult to give him injections. But Josemaría laughed: "This little donkey has tough skin"... he would comment, or: "The needles nowadays are not as good as those from back then".

While Álvaro and Josemaría moved between paperwork and procedures in the Vatican, the Work continued to grow worldwide. Opus Dei centers began to be established in England (1940), Italy (1943), Portugal (1945), Great Britain (1946), and Ireland and France (1947).

At the end of 1948, the first supernumeraries joined Opus Dei: Tomás Alvira, Víctor García Hoz, and Mariano Navarro Rubio. Perhaps at that moment, those words that Josemaría had been saying since 1930 resonated in their ears: "Are you laughing because I tell you that you have a 'matrimonial vocation'? —Well, you do: yes, a vocation" [2].

In 1949, Opus Dei crossed the pond to start in Mexico and the United States. The following year, 1950, Pope Pius XII gave final approval to the Work. Although it was still not the appropriate legal framework (that is, not all dimensions of the work were well understood), this approval provided greater legal stability to Opus Dei within the Church.

Josemaría also had another dream: to build the central headquarters of Opus Dei in Rome. A house was needed where the people who would help him organize the Work – present and future – could live, as well as other members of Opus Dei from around the world who would spend periods in Rome to be trained near the founder. In 1947, they acquired a house on Via Bruno Buozzi (1 kilometer from the Gardens of Villa Borghese) for a symbolic amount and with the promise to complete the payment with the cost of the mortgage. Three years after starting the adaptation works of the building, Josemaría summarized his situation in 1952 with these words: "We are economically exhausted... and those houses need to be finished" [3].

While Josemaría and Álvaro, along with other faithful members of Opus Dei, juggled to finish the construction of the central headquarters, a young Spaniard –Ismael Sánchez Bella– moved to Pamplona in 1952 to start what would become the University of Navarra. Driven by Josemaría, Ismael inaugurated the School of Law on October 17 of that same year, with 48 students and eight professors.

The work of Opus Dei reached new countries: Chile and Argentina (1950), Colombia and Venezuela (1951), Germany (1952), Guatemala and Peru (1953), Ecuador (1954), Uruguay and Switzerland (1956), and Brazil, Austria, and Canada (1957). In 1958, Japan and Kenya became the first countries on their respective continents where Opus Dei centers were opened.

On April 27, 1954, the feast of the Virgin of Montserrat, Álvaro had a big scare. While they were eating, Josemaría began to ask for absolution (when a priest forgives a believer's sins in the name of God) and then collapsed to the floor, unconscious. Álvaro recalls: "I immediately gave him absolution, and did what I knew: called the doctor and put sugar in his mouth, forcing him with water to swallow, because he was not reacting and his pulse was not noticeable" [4]. Josemaría was like this for 10 minutes, until he finally regained consciousness. When the doctors arrived, he was already much better. From that day on, the founder was completely cured of diabetes.

The same year of his cure, Josemaría received the sad news that his older sister, Carmen –who lived in Rome, in a chalet, with Santiago– had an incurable cancer. For the three Escrivá siblings, Carmen's illness was very hard. In addition to the care she received from both of them, Carmen also received affection from the members of the Work, who affectionately called her Aunt Carmen. She died in the early hours of June 20, with Josemaría praying by her bedside.

By the year 1963, the work of Opus Dei was already present on all 6 continents. In 1962, Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council, that is, a meeting with all the bishops in the world, to reflect on the present and future of the Church. The council –whose main purpose was the relationship between the Church and the modern world– was concluded by Pope Paul VI in 1965. Among several things, it emphasized the universal call to holiness; that is, that all, all, all baptized persons can and should aspire to reach Heaven.

Josemaría, although he did not directly intervene in the council's work, asked all the members of the Work to pray for the fruits of this work. In the following years, there began to be a strong confusion in the Church, which pained him greatly. Incorrect interpretations of the conclusions of the Second Vatican Council led many people to abandon the faith, their vocation, and the Pope. That is why, in 1967, Josemaría sent a letter to his children with a tone full of hope and trust in God: "These bad times will pass, as they have always passed. In the Church there have never been lacking sick people and illnesses [...]. Optimistic, joyful! God is with us! That is why, every day, I fill myself with hope. The virtue of hope makes us see life as it is: beautiful, of God" [5].

At the same time, Josemaría began the year 1970 praying especially for Opus Dei to find the appropriate legal form within the Code of Canon Law.