First woman member of Opus Dei to be beatified

  • Jack Valero
  • (Updated )

Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri

Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri

Madrid is preparing for the beatification of the chemist Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri, who is both the first lay member and first woman member of Opus Dei to be raised to the altars.

She follows in the footsteps of the Prelature's founder, the priest St Josemaria Escriva, and of Blessed Alvaro del Portillo, who was Escriva's first successor at the head of Opus Dei and was made a bishop. Eleven thousand people from more than 60 countries will participate in the event on Saturday, 18 May.

The new blessed was born in Madrid on December 12, 1916 and died in 1975. She studied chemistry, and was one of few women to pursue scientific studies at that time in Spain (1933).

In Madrid, she dedicated herself to teaching and research, eventually completing a doctorate, all the while carrying out an intense professional and evangelizing activity. In other stages of her life, she lived in Mexico and Rome.

Guadalupe Ortiz, who collaborated directly with Opus Dei's founder, Saint Josemaria said: "Her contagious cheerfulness, her fortitude in the face of adversity, her Christian optimism in difficult circumstances, and her self-giving to others," are some of the characteristics mentioned by the decree promulgated by the Congregation of the Causes of Saints. The text of the decree also reflects how Guadalupe lived the virtues to a heroic degree, and "surrendered herself completely and joyfully to God and to the service of his Church, and intensely experienced divine love."

The ceremony will be presided over by Cardinal Becciu, prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints, and which will be held at the Vistalegre Arena at 11 am.

Together with Cardinal Becciu, the archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Carlos Osoro, and the Prelate of Opus Dei, Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz, will concelebrate together with various cardinals, bishops and priests.

After reading a message from Pope Francis and the solemn formula of beatification, the image of the new blessed will be unveiled and her relics brought to the altar to be venerated.

On Sunday, May 19th, a Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated in the same place, presided over by Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz, who will also have an encounter with the people who have traveled to Madrid for this event over the weekend.

Over 3,000 pilgrims in the Vistalegre Arena will be from Mexico, where the new blessed worked for six years and obtained citizenship. Many others will follow the ceremony on television and live-streaming from the Opus Dei website.

Associations, parishes and schools will follow the ceremony from other places enabled with screens. The beatification will also be broadcast by international channels such as EWTN (Latin America and the United States), MA Visión and ESNE TV (Mexico), the Peruvian JN19, Laudato TV (Croatia) and Telepace (Italy).

Pilgrims can pray in front of the tomb of Guadalupe in the Royal Oratory of the Knight of Grace (Gran Vía, 17), and visit the exhibition "Guadalupe. Live the Experience", inaugurated last night at the Tajamar School in Madrid and will be open until May 30.

The organizing committee of the beatification is inviting pilgrims to donate to a project offering one hundred scholarships for African women scientists, which will be managed by the NGO Harambee Africa International.

From the beginning, the committee also considered ways that people could participate in the beatification without traveling to Madrid, through the website: to know her life and the program of events, as well as information about her Cause and the miraculous healing attributed to her intercession.

Available in Spanish and English in Google Play and App Store, the app tries to recreate the experience of traveling and attending a beatification. Features include a virtual tour of significant places in Madrid related to Guadalupe's life, a travel journal, bibliographic and audiovisual material - including the e-book Letters to a Saint and the "Guadalupe" multimedia report - as well as access to the live-streaming of the beatification event. Pilgrims using the app can follow the program of events, find useful information, follow the texts of the ceremonies, and even donate to the "Guadalupe Scholarship Project".

Jack Valero

Tags: Opus Dei, Beatification, Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri, Jack Valero

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