Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer y Albas
Date of Birth:
January 9, 1902
Date of Death:
June 26, 1975
He was the author of the well known book The Way, which has sold almost five million copies and been translated into 43 different languages.
Josemaria was canonized in 2002 by Pope John Paul II.
Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer (9 January 1902 – 26 June 1975; also known as José María or Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer y Albás, born José María Mariano Escrivá y Albás) was a Roman Catholic priest from Spain who founded Opus Dei, an organization of laypeople and priests dedicated to the teaching that everyone is called to holiness and that ordinary life is a path to sanctity. He was canonized in 2002 by Pope John Paul II, who declared Saint Josemaría should be "counted among the great witnesses of Christianity."
Escrivá gained a doctorate in civil law at the Complutense University of Madrid and a doctorate in theology at the Lateran University in Rome. His principal work was the foundation, government and expansion of Opus Dei. Escrivá and Opus Dei have aroused controversy, primarily revolving around allegations of secrecy, elitism, cult-like practices within Opus Dei, and political involvement with right-wing causes, such as the dictatorships of Generals Francisco Franco in Spain (1939–1975) and Augusto Pinochet in Chile (1973–1990). Some journalists, among them Vatican analyst John L. Allen, Jr., have averred that many of these accusations are unproven or have grown from black legends propagated by enemies of Opus Dei and Escrivá. Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI and many Catholic leaders strongly endorse Escrivá's teaching on the universal call to holiness, the role of laity, and sanctification of work.
Escrivá's best known book is The Way, which has sold more than five million copies in 50 languages. His writings have sold a total of eight million copies. According to Allen, among Catholics Escrivá is "reviled by some and venerated by millions more".