Josemaría returned to Madrid in 1939, at the end of the Civil War. There, he resumed the apostolic work of Opus Dei. In 1940, in addition to the student residence (which they rebuilt on Jenner Street), he began a new center for Opus Dei. A year later, his mother, Doña Dolores, passed away, which caused him great suffering.

Shortly after, he started the first center for women of the Work, located on Jorge Manrique Street, and in 1944 the bishop of Madrid-Alcalá ordained the first three priests of Opus Dei. With a new impulse, the Work took its first steps in a new country, the land of the Virgin of Fatima: Portugal.

After many years of war, Josemaría had a great longing to return to Madrid with the hope of resuming the work he had started there years ago.

He wrote in a letter: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and of Saint Mary. Jesus bless my children and keep them. I feel God's inspiration to write to you on the eve of the victorious taking of Madrid. The day of returning to our home is near, and we must think about recovering our apostolic activities" [1].

Josemaría was consumed by the desire to make God's dreams – dreams that he had also made his own – a reality. While his letter crossed borders, neighborhoods, and cities to reach the members of the Work who had survived the years of war, a piece of news of great importance for the Church arrived: Pope Pius XI had passed away. Three weeks later, the election of a new head of the Church, Pope Pius XII, was announced.

Days later, on Monday, March 27, 1939, Josemaría took a military supply truck. Sitting next to the driver, he finally began the journey back to Madrid. After spending the night in Cantalejo, he was able to enter the capital on foot. He was wearing his cassock. "The emotion was uncontrollable. He was possibly the first priest seen in cassock on the street since July 1936. People rushed to kiss his hand, and Don Josemaría handed them a crucifix" [2].

One of the first things he did was visit and embrace his mother and siblings. He also met with some members of the Work, including Álvaro del Portillo, and organized a retreat course for young people. As he walked down Ferraz Street, he could see that the residence, which had involved so much effort, was completely destroyed. After the natural impulse of sadness, he pushed forward again. In mid-1939, Josemaría began again to make the inquiries and preparations necessary to reopen the university residence.

Thus, when the 1939-1940 academic year began, more than twenty students were part of the first generation of the residence located at number 6 Jenner Street. Little by little, and with the indispensable help of his mother and siblings – especially Carmen –, Josemaría started the work of the residence.

However, the environment was not easy. On one occasion, a few months after his return to Madrid, Josemaría took a taxi in the city and started chatting with the driver: he spoke to him about Jesus and how He calls us to sanctify ourselves through work. The taxi driver listened but said nothing. Finally, upon arriving at his destination, the driver asked:

— "Excuse me, where were you during the time of the war?"

— "In Madrid," replied the priest.

— "It's a pity they didn't kill you!" replied the taxi driver.

Josemaría then asked the taxi driver:

— "Do you have children?"

The taxi driver nodded, and Josemaría gave him a tip saying, "Here, so you can buy some sweets for your wife and children."

In 1940, a new center for Opus Dei was opened on Diego de León Street. As the work increased – and also the number of young people who applied for admission to Opus Dei –, Josemaría asked Álvaro del Portillo to help him in the direction of the Work.

When the Jenner Residence began to function with some stability, Josemaría encouraged the young people of Opus Dei to broaden their horizons, because – as he used to say – "of a hundred souls, we are interested in all hundred." He wanted no person to be left without knowing God. Thus, they began to make weekend trips to different cities in Spain: Valencia, Valladolid, Salamanca, Zaragoza, Barcelona. In addition, Josemaría felt a strong inner responsibility to serve the Church in whatever the bishop asked of him. Therefore, he spent many days preaching retreat courses for diocesan priests.

Precisely, Josemaría was preaching a retreat course for priests in the city of Lleida when he received a call from Álvaro: "Father, Grandma has passed away," Álvaro heard. He returned to the chapel, without a tear. He immediately understood that the Lord my God had done what was most convenient: and he cried, like a child, praying aloud: "May the just and loving Will of God, above all things, be done, fulfilled, praised, and eternally exalted. Amen. Amen" [3].

A friend lent him a car so he could return to Madrid as soon as possible. Josemaría, in a low voice, protested, pained: "My God, my God, what have you done? You are taking everything from me; you take everything from me" [4]. Once again, he showed that relationship full of trust with the Lord, which also led him to speak to Him as a friend. For everyone –Don José, Doña Dolores, Carmen, Chon, Lola, Rosario, and Santiago– had, in one way or another, been part of the mission that God had entrusted to Josemaría. That's how it goes: vocation is never carried out in solitude. God relies on the people around us to move forward.

It was evident that Doña Dolores continued to help her son from Heaven, especially concerning the women of the Work. Little by little, the first women arrived: Lola, Amparo, Nisa, Encarnita, Dora, Julia, Guadalupe… With optimism and great determination, they set up the first women's center of Opus Dei, in a house located at number 19 Jorge Manrique Street. Josemaría had great confidence in them, perhaps recalling that point from "The Way": "Woman is more resilient than man, and more faithful, in the hour of pain. —Mary Magdalene and Mary Cleophas and Salome! With a group of brave women, like them, well united to the Sorrowful Virgin, what a great work of souls would be done in the world!" [5].

On February 14, 1943, the day marking 13 years since the beginning of the work with women of the Work, God showed Josemaría how priests could also be part of it. The founder realized that "without priests, the work begun by the lay members of Opus Dei would be incomplete" [6]. Thus, on June 25, 1944, three members of Opus Dei were ordained priests by the bishop of Madrid-Alcalá: Álvaro del Portillo, José María Hernández Garnica, and José Luis Múzquiz.

Alongside this great joy, Josemaría suffered the death of another dearly beloved person: Isidoro, his friend from the Institute and one of the first members of the Work. Isidoro died on July 15, 1943, at the age of 40, from lymphatic cancer. Josemaría sent a telegram to all the centers of the Work to ask for prayers; he was sure that, from Heaven, Isidoro would continue to be a faithful friend.

The end of World War II made it possible for Josemaría to travel to other countries to bring the message of the Work to more people. In February 1945, Josemaría visited Portugal, an occasion in which he was able to visit Sister Lucia (one of the seers of Fatima) in her convent. Sister Lucia, after talking with him for a while, encouraged him to start the work of Opus Dei in Portugal and helped him with several arrangements. Thus, on the 6th of that same month, Josemaría visited the Sanctuary of Fatima and prayed to the Virgin for the future of the Work in those lands.