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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Opus Dei

Following a prayerful retreat in which he saw a vision, the Roman Catholic priest Josemaría Escrivá (January 9, 1902 – June 26, 1975) founded The Opus Dei (Work of God) organization on October 2, 1928 in Madrid, Spain.

Escrivá intended the group to be a collection of secular priests and lay people with each member dedicating their life to God but retaining the freedom and responsibility of their worldly lives.

Escriva at Mass 1971 Wikipedia Commons

At first Opus Dei was open only to men, but in 1930, Escrivá started to admit women, based on a communication from God.

In 1950 Pope Pius XII granted Opus Dei his official approval and in 1982 it was placed under the Pope's personal direction.

During the early 1960s Escrivá was consulted by cardinals by the Second Vatican Council.

Pope John Paul II canonized Escrivá in 2002, referring to him as the "saint of ordinary life."

Today Opus Dei runs youth clubs, hostels, hospitals and educational clinics. Its aim is to encourage Christians to grow closer to God, to serve others and to improve society.

As of 2015, there were 93,986 members of the Prelature, 91,020 lay persons and 2,094 priests.

The seal of Opus Dei is a cross inscribed in a circle: the Cross embracing the world - sanctity in the middle of the world.

The seal of Opus Dei. By Albsr95 - Wikipedia

Members of Opus Dei take their religion very seriously, indeed some wear a spiked bracelet around the thigh or upper arm or lash themselves with a cat o' nine tails as a penance.

Opus Dei have provoked some controversy with accusations of secret right wing agendas which has been enhanced by its negative portrayal in Dan Brown's best selling novel The Da Vinci Code.

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