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No. 29 • July - December 1999 • Page 274
 •  Initiatives

Barbastro, Spain (A Round-Table Discussion about Carmen Escriva de Balaguer)

On the occasion of the centenary of the birth of Carmen Escrivá de Balaguer, sister of the Founder of Opus Dei, the Entrearcos Cultural Center of Barbastro organized a round table on November 7. The participants provided a brief sketch of her personality and recalled biographical episodes of her life.

From the beginnings of Opus Dei, Carmen Escrivá participated in a very direct way in the mission which God had entrusted to her brother, fostering, with her dedication and work, the Christian family atmosphere that Blessed Josemaría saw as essential to Opus Dei. Carmen took charge of the beginnings of the domestic administration of the centers of Opus Dei, where she helped to provide the atmosphere of a home and of mutual service which is so helpful in the practice and development of Christian virtues.

Ana Sastre, a doctor specializing in nutrition and the author of a biography of Blessed Josemaría Escrivá, recalled the family circumstances that surrounded the early years of Carmen’s life: her birth in Barbastro, on July 16, 1899, and her later move to the cities of Logroño, where she studied for a career in teaching, and to Saragossa. Gloria Toranzo, a doctor in classic philology and a writer, described certain features of her character, emphasising her frankness, cheerfulness, faith and the courage that she showed in extraordinary
moments during the Spanish civil war and throughout her whole life.

Margarita Valenzuela, a native of Madrid and mother of six children, explained how an acquaintance with the life of Carmen Escriva had enabled her to incorporate into her home a spirit of service and concern for others, and to provide, together with her husband, an atmosphere of loving participation in the various tasks of the home, which facilitated the education of her children.

The journalist Pilar Cambra moderated the session and recalled some stories about Blessed Josemaría’s sister’s good sense of humor and the joy that she experienced as a result of the apostolic spread of the Work.

The round table was attended by cooperators of Opus Dei, friends and their families.

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