Historical Institute of St. Josemaría Escrivá: third volume of Studia et Documenta

The biographies of St. Josemaría published up till now include many details about the years following the foundation of Opus Dei and preceding the Spanish Civil War, but some aspects of that period have hardly been dealt with. Number 3 (2009) of Studia et Documenta, the journal of the Historical Institute of St. Josemaría Escrivá, has a monographic section on St. Josemaría in Madrid in the thirties. Two specialists in the religious history of the interwar period, Jose Luis González Gullón and Jaume Aurell, provide a detailed study of the group of priests that St. Josemaría gathered together in those first years of Opus Dei’s existence, transmitting to them his apostolic ideal. The dozen priestly stories open up a very interesting perspective on the life of the clergy in Madrid during the Second Republic in Spain.

The section also includes a brief sketch of one of the first followers of St. Josemaría, Luis Gordon, a young entrepreneur in the beer industry who died prematurely in 1932. It is written by Pedro Pablo Ortuño, a specialist in economic history, and Luis Gordon Beguer, a nephew of the person discussed. Also worthy of mention is the article by Federico M. Requena on Josemaría Escrivá’s connection with the “Work of the Merciful Love,” a devotion tied to the Sacred Heart that was very widespread in Spain at that time. In addition, Beatriz Comella discusses St. Josemaría’s pastoral activity in the Foundation of St. Elizabeth in Madrid, where he became chaplain in 1931, and rector in 1934.

In the section Studies and Notes, Jose Luis Illanes, Director of the Historical Institute, offers a complete overview of the writings of St. Josemaría, published as well as unpublished. Illanes, who has examined he documents of the Founder kept in the archives of the Prelature—including the notes from his oral preaching—presents a chronological panorama of the various texts of which St. Josemaría is the author, which form a rich patrimony for the whole Church. These will be published systematically over time, within the framework of the complete works of St. Josemaría on which the Institute has been working for years.

In the Documentation section, Santiago Casas, a professor of the history of the Church and an expert on contemporary Spanish Catholicism, comments on St. Josemaría’s written records of his meetings with Francisco Moran, Vicar General of the Madrid diocese, between 1934 and 1938.

In addition to critiques and reviews, the bibliography section contains the second part of the complete list of works published about St. Josemaría up until 2002—a total of 350 references, accompanied in some cases by brief explanatory notes—begun in the previous issue of the journal.

Romana, No. 48, January-June 2009, p. 118-119.