Pedro was born in Yorkshire, England, to Spanish parents, and he loved both cultures. They were mixed even in his temperament: a very sociable Latin personality balanced by a typically Northern aversion to noise and sentimentality.

He had secured a place at Imperial College London, where he began his engineering degree in 2014. That was when he began to feel intense pain in his back. For a few months, they thought it was a muscular problem. By the time the cancer was discovered, in early 2015, it had spread too far to be stopped.

He fought against pelvic cancer for three years. Although the pain was often acute, his friends were amazed that he hardly complained. His faith helped him to live with his illness with patience and even, when possible, joy!

On Saturday, January 13, early in the morning, friends and family gathered to pray around Pedro. The young engineering student had taken his last breath.

Pedro was a numerary of Opus Dei: he had committed himself to follow God by living celibacy in the middle of the world, working, and finding Christ in his daily life. Pedro lived an ordinary life that left an extraordinary mark.

Transcript: My name is Javier Ballester, and I'm Pedro Ballester's younger brother. Pedro is an amazing person who, at 16, felt his calling to be a numerary of Opus Dei. At 18, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer in his pelvis, and he died of that cancer at 21.

There are three of us brothers: Pedro is the oldest, then Carlos, and then me. We were born in Manchester. Our parents are Spanish. Our father is from Majorca and our mother is from Seville.

We were good friends among ourselves. When we went to bed at night, as soon as our mother closed the door… Carlos would immediately jump onto Pedro's bed and they'd start wrestling to see who could push the other out of bed, and they'd look, like...

He was always very much an older brother. He was a very strong person, in the sense that he always got the best grades, played tennis the best… He always did things very well, and sometimes I looked at him and thought, "Wow, I can't reach that level." He had a strong character and was very demanding, pushing us to be the best we could be. When he made up his mind about something, he wouldn't back down. He was a bit stubborn.

He loved sports, especially tennis, but he was a person who enjoyed many things in life, like history, documentaries, wars, strategy, and especially chess. He used to tease me a lot, as the older brother. I remember one time in the kitchen, he said, "Javi, I'll give you five pounds if you hold two onions to your eyes. It's called a Chinese torture."


"Yeah, yeah. It's not so bad." So I took the onions, put them on my eyes, and I was crying the rest of the day. And he laughed.

Pedro was able to handle things as he did, which you see in the book, because he said yes to what God asked of him. And what happens is that God asks you for a bit more each time. Initially, at 12 or 13, he decided to start praying a little in the mornings before school. He gave up half an hour of sleep to go to the kitchen to pray. That was his first yes, “I want to have a relationship with God. I give you this. I give you my time to sleep.”

When he was 16 or 17, he saw his vocation as a numerary of Opus Dei. Before accepting his vocation, he loved Spain and he asked, "If I become a numerary, can I move to Spain?"

"Pedro, here in England, there are very few of us in Opus Dei and we need you here, and I think the best thing is for you to stay in England. And he gave it. Yes. I give this.

I saw a big change in Pedro, of giving himself, going out. When Pedro told Carlos he was a numerary, Carlos thought he had a girlfriend. He sat Carlos down: "Carlos, I need to tell you something."

And Carlos replied, "Don't worry about it, I already know: you have a girlfriend. I see it in your face."

And Pedro said, "No, I'm a numerary." Pedro had so much joy in his face that Carlos thought he had a girlfriend.

This, "yes," this self-gift… And that's how, at 18, when he was in Birmingham and they sat him down in the doctor's office and told him, "Pedro, you have osteosarcoma in the pelvis."

And when he left the doctor's office, he started to cry, and he was very emotional, and it was Pedro who told my mother, "Mom, I've already given my life with my vocation, and God rewards his friends with the Cross."

And there he stayed, and he slept, with peace. "I've said yes." There again, that yes. He accepted the cancer.