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Holy See

Guadalupe Ortiz, First Lay Person of the Opus Dei Beatified

The Church on May 18, 2019, received a new Blessed, the Spanish Chemistry Doctor and Researcher Guadalupe Ortiz de Landazuri (1916-1975). She was beatified during a ceremony presided over by Cardinal Becciu, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and held in the enclosure of Vistalegre.

Eleven thousand people from over 60 countries joined in the celebrations on Saturday the 18th estimates the Prelature of the Opus Dei. It was a Beatification in consonance with the modern profile of this woman, digital and relocated and re-transmitted by streaming. It has an app, several electronic books, multimedia, and a geocaching itinerary.

The Mass of Thanksgiving was held at 12 noon the following day, in the same place, presided over by the Prelate of the Opus Dei, Monsignor Fernando Ocariz.

During the days of the Beatification, prayers can be said before Guadalupe’s remains in the Oratory of the Knight of Grace [Caballero de Gracia] (Gran Via 17/Caballero de Gracia 5, Madrid), and visits can be made to an exhibition of personal objects of Guadalupe at the Colegio Tajamar (Pio Felipe, 12, Madrid), from May 14-30.

What does it mean to be a numerary?

 Guadalupe is the third person of the Opus Dei to reach the altars. The Founder, Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer was canonized in 2002. His successor at the head of the Opus Dei, Alvaro del Portillo, was beatified in 2014.

Guadalupe is at once the first woman and the first lay faithful of the Opus Dei to be beatified (Saint Josemaria was a priest and Blessed Alvaro was a Bishop). Guadalupe was a numerary. Numeraries are faithful of the Opus Dei — men and women — who live celibacy as a gift of God and for apostolic reasons. This enables them to have greater dedication to formative tasks, without modifying anything of their lay condition, their professional situation, their position in the Church and in society.

Guadalupe was one of the closest collaborators of the Founder, Saint Josemaria. Her “contagious joy, her strength in facing adversities, her Christian optimism and her dedication to others,” are some of the traits that characterized her, according to the Decree of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

A Model for the 21st Century Woman

 She studied Chemical Sciences when only 8% of women attended the University of Madrid in 1933, says Cristina Abad, the new Blessed’s biographer. She exercised her profession in keeping with her studies, which was rather unusual then. She traveled alone around Spain to make the Opus Dei known. She crossed the pond to Mexico in 1950 and began initiatives that promoted greater possibilities and resources for women — such as two of the first University residences for women in Spain and Mexico, and for indigenous rural women of the latter country, creating centers for professional training.  She put her knowledge at the service of the dignity and professionalism of work in the home, etc.

Therefore, the author of Guadalupe biography, entitled “The Freedom to Love” (published by Palabra) thinks that she is “an example for the 21st century woman of determination when it comes to pursuing her dreams and putting to work her God-given talents, bringing the feminine genius to all sectors, overcoming social, work and personal ceilings.” Hers was an “enterprising spirit and one of conciliation between duty and the desire to make her life a passionate adventure.”

Harsh trials in her life

 Born in Madrid, in the Malasana neighborhood, she lived the faith with fortitude, simplicity, and joy in very disparate places and situations. Although she had a physically weak heart, it was great and strong to disarm hatreds, mistrust, and tensions. Her optimism, born of trust in God, was contagious.

She had to face her father’s death sentence during the Civil War; she established the two University residences in Madrid and Mexico, lived through successive changes of country, of activity, with many adversities. For almost 20 years she suffered a serious cardiac ailment . . .

“What can be seen, however, is a very great trust in God, in her vocation and in what Saint Josemaria suggested to her. She lived with the permanent desire to love God and others,” continues her biographer.

And that, together with great fortitude and courage, made her live without fear, able to fly high and far. A very characteristic phrase of hers was: “And I, being so happy.” She was equally “happy in Madrid as in Mexico or Rome. Willing to work with our without health” and, in her “last moments, “ her desire was “to help here on earth or to be more effective in Heaven.”

 Inexplicable cure

 The miracle attributed to Guadalupe Ortiz de Landazuri, approved by Pope Francis on June 8, 2018, was the cure of a basal cell carcinoma on the night of November 28-29, 2002.

Antonio Jesus Sedano Madrid, 76, a widower since 1991, was suffering from this cancer in his right eye. He prayed intensely to Guadalupe with faith before going to bed that night and on getting up the following day he realized he was cured. The lesion had disappeared completely, leaving no trace. The Congregation’s medical experts concluded that the cure had no scientific explanation. The Theologian Consultors and, later, the Cardinals and Bishops, said it could be attributed to Guadalupe’s intercession before God.

When the plastic surgeon examined the patient, he confirmed the absolute disappearance of the cancer for unknown reasons. His first impression was one of fright, and his first question was: “Where were you operated on?” Then Antonio recounted the details of his cure and Guadalupe’s intercession. Stated in the clinical history of the date the miracle occurred is that: “The lesion disappeared after praying to the Servant of God Guadalupe Ortiz de Landazuri.”

Father Antonio Rodriguez de Rivera, Postulator of the Cause, said that the new Blessed “embodies the Beatitudes” of which Pope Francis speaks in Gaudete et Exultate, because “her very normal life and, at the same time, full of God, is a splendid invitation to open oneself to others,” adding that “her example encourages one to shake off one’s comfort and give oneself to the service of others.

“Self-forgetfulness”

 What most impressed this expert in Guadalupe’s life was her “self-forgetfulness.” “She thought constantly of the Lord and of others.” An example is what happened in Mexico in 1952. It was during a spiritual retreat for University students in a recently built house, with virtually no furniture. On the penultimate day, she gave a talk on the Christian virtues. She and the others were sitting on the floor. She felt a great pain caused by the sting of a poisonous insect, but she didn’t want to interrupt the talk until the end, so the others wouldn’t worry. No one realized what had happened. She developed a high fever and had to stay in bed for two weeks.

“She never complained. What is more, from her bed she continued her duties until another woman of the Opus Dei replaced her. Those that looked after her were witnesses: not only did she not complain or talk about her illness, but she was interested in those that came to see her and <continued> to promote the apostolic work,” recalled the priest of the Prelature.

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