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The foundress and the founder

Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer (1902-1975) - whose feast day is today - was the founder of one of the most influential and effective Catholic movements of modern times – Opus Dei.  He was also a devotee of St Teresa of Avila from his youth. From his adolescence Josemaria’s priestly vocation was connected to Carmel; it was during his seminary training that Teresa acquired a significant influence on him.  In 1932 he adopted Teresa as his personal patroness and protector.  He cited her recommendation to take St Joseph as a guide. His celebrated book Camino ('Way'), first published in 1934 and published in a much enlarged edition in 1939, had a notable Teresian inspiration, even down to the title, which echoes The Way of Perfection.  The work has sold 5 million copies.  Javier Echevarria, a close companion of his in his last years and his second successor in the Opus Dei leadership, reported that Josemaria always had a great devotion to Teresa, both for her apostolic commitment in the service of the Church and for her dealings with God.  He particularly appreciated her experience of the life of prayer.  He was also very appreciative of her mental toughness in the face of her enemies. In fact the founder of Opus Dei was so saturated with Teresa’s spirituality that he interpreted the events of his life – both external and spiritual – through the prism of Teresa’s teaching and also encouraged others to do the same.


Josemaria was also much influenced by Thérèse.


S, struggling with multiple bereavements and physical frailties.

I, facing a very frightening and demanding operation.

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