On Thursday, October 6, 1932, while St Josemaria Escriva was praying in the chapel of Saint John of the Cross during his retreat at the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Segovia, he was for the first time inwardly moved to invoke the three archangels and the three apostles Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, and Saints Peter, Paul, and John. From that moment on he considered them the patrons of the different fields of apostolate that would make up Opus Dei.
The founder of Opus Dei first visited London in 1958. He stayed from the beginning of August to the middle of September. He returned in each of the following years until 1962. In 1958, he arrived on August 4 and the following day wrote on the back of a holy picture, Sancta Maria, Sedes Sapientiae, filios tuos adiuva (Holy Mary, Seat of Wisdom, help your children); Oxford, Cambridge, 5-VIII-58.
Alejandra Vanney is a lawyer who in the 90s moved from Argentina to Poland to help begin the apostolic work of Opus Dei there. Her work at the University of Warsaw gave her the opportunity to travel to Rome to take part in several encounters with Pope John Paul II.
The following extracts are taken from The Man of Villa Tevere by Pilar Urbano, a book about the founder of Opus Dei. The author highlights St Josemaría’s capacity for getting through to everyone without distinction, making friends with them and putting them in direct contact with God.
Without interior life, and without formation, there is no true apostolate and no work that is fruitful. Whatever work is done will be fragile, fictitious even. How great, then, is our responsibility as children of God! We have to hunger and thirst for him and for his doctrine. (The Forge, 892)
When you hold Our Lord in your breast and you taste the delights of his Love, promise him that you will strive to change the course of your life in whatever way is necessary, so that you can bring him to the masses of people who do not know him, who live without ideals and who, unfortunately, go on behaving like animals. (The Forge, 939)
Following the Master's wishes, you are to be salt and light while being fully immersed in this world we were made to live in, sharing in all human activities. Light illumines the hearts and minds of men. Salt gives flavor and preserves from corruption. That is why if you lack apostolic zeal you will become insipid and useless. You will be letting other people down and your life will be absurd. (The Forge, 22)
It's not enough to be good; you need to show it. What would you say of a rose bush which produced only thorns? (Furrow, 735)