On Friday, 9 June, a workshop was held at the University of Navarre, organised by the Josemaría Escrivá Center for Studies (CEJE) and the San Josemaría Escrivá Historical Institute (ISJE). The day was divided into three thematic blocks that dealt with some key aspects of the history of Opus Dei in different periods and contexts.
The first block analysed the perceptions that various institutions, individuals, and public opinion had of Opus Dei from the late 1930s to the mid-1960s. Professors Jorge García Ocón, Fernando Crovetto and Federico Requena explored different aspects of this historical period, including the relationship between the Marian Congregations and Opus Dei, Mario Cordovani’s report on Opus Dei and its founder, and the American public’s view of Opus Dei in the 1950s.
Inmaculada Alva presented a regional history model for the early years of Opus Dei women in the United States (1949-1953). She explained the difficulties those early women faced and the challenges for the researcher in telling their story as it was less overt and came more from within. Santiago Martínez discussed some aspects of the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross between 1950 and 1965, as well as the context of clerical associations during those years. Finally, Alfredo Méndiz summarised the relationship between the FUCI (Federazione Universitaria Cattolica Italiana) and Opus Dei in its beginnings in Italy, emphasising the positive perception that many bishops and the federation itself had of Opus Dei.
The next block, entitled “Protagonists”, dealt with the individual and collective profiles of some of the men and women of Opus Dei. Beatriz Comella analysed the personal and educational profiles of the Spanish women who belonged to the institution between 1930 and 1962, and Mercedes Montero focused on a group of women from the Work who achieved university professorships, in the context of pioneering women teachers in Spain. In addition to these two contributions, Consuelo Flecha gave a talk on the features and characteristics of women in Spanish universities between 1940 and 1960.
The last three speakers provided biographical approaches. José Luis González Gullón presented what he considered to be the essential elements for the preparation of a biography of Josemaría Escrivá, Carlos Veci analysed aspects of the life of the pedagogue Víctor García Hoz, and Onésimo Díaz focused on the career of José María Albareda.
The day concluded with a presentation on the dissemination of history by Eliana Fucili, who discussed a project that aims to disseminate the research activities carried out by the CEJE and the ISJE.