St. Josemaría and the Universidad de Navarra

Biography of St. Josemaría

Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer was born in Barbastro (Huesca, Spain) on January 9, 1902. His parents were José and Dolores. He had five siblings: Carmen (1899-1957), Santiago (1919-1994) and three younger sisters who died when they were children. The Escrivás provided their children with a profound Christian education. 

On October 2, 1928, during a spiritual retreat in Madrid, St. Josemaría saw what God was asking of him, and founded Opus Dei. From that day on he worked on the foundation while he continued to fulfill his priestly responsibilities, especially among the poor and sick. He also undertook university studies in Madrid and taught classes to support his family. 

In 1946, he moved to Rome. He obtained a Doctoral Degree in Theology from the Lateran University. He was named a consultant to two Vatican Congregations, an honorary member of the Pontifical Academy of Theology, and prelate of honor to His Holiness. From Rome, he made many trips to different countries in Europe, as well as to Mexico in 1970, to spur on the establishment and consolidation of Opus Dei in those places. 

For the same reason, in 1974 and 1975, he made long trips to Central and South America, where he held catechetical gatherings attended by large numbers of people. St. Josemaría died in Rome on June 26, 1975. He was beatified on May 17, 1992 and proclaimed a saint on October 6, 2002. 

The University of Navarra boasts the Center for Documentation and Research on Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, the Spanish branch of the Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer Historical Institute, whose headquarters is in Rome. It is an interdisciplinary center whose aim is to promote research on the founder of Opus Dei.

Universal devotion

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If you are interested in learning more about St. Josemaría, be sure to visit these websites:

First visit: October 24-26, 1960

"We wish, in this propitious environment for serene reflection, to cultivate science rooted in the most well-founded principles, and for its light to shine on all paths of knowledge."

During St. Josemaría's first visit to Pamplona, the Estudio General de Navarra (EGN) was elevated to the status of the University of Navarra. Furthermore, St. Josemaría received the distinction of the Freedom of the City of Pamplona, celebrated Holy Mass at the Cathedral and blessed a chalice at the Aralar University Hall of Residence.

Second visit: From November 28 to December 1, 1964

"No University deserving of the name fails to complement the transmission of knowledge with the comprehensive character education of young people. Greek humanism was already conscious of the richness of this truth."

As Chancellor of the University, St. Josemaría participated during his visit in the granting of honorary doctoral degrees. He was received at the Pamplona municipal government building and held many meetings in the auditorium of the Belagua University Hall of Residence. He also attended the 1st Assembly of the Friends of the University of Navarra.

Third visit: April 23, 1967

"It is a distinctive feature of the University that, although it is located and acts in Spain, it transcends – due to the purpose to which it is called – the strict limits of its borders."

The founder of Opus Dei received the Governing Board of the University and visited and kissed the image of Our Lady of Fair Love on the University of Navarra campus.

Fourth visit: October 7-9, 1967

"The highest mission of the University is to serve mankind, to be the leaven of the society in which it lives: this is why it must investigate the truth on all its campuses."

St. Josemaría presided over the granting of honorary doctoral degrees. He held different gatherings in the Gayarre Theater. Furthermore, the founder of Opus Dei celebrated Holy Mass on the esplanade in front of the Library Building at the University, where he gave the famous homily "Amar al mundo apasionadamente" (link to PDF of the homily).

Fifth visit: April 29-30, 1968

"Universities in all countries are opening up to new fields that were unexplored until very recently and are adding very recent sciences and professional training to their traditional programs. They are ensuring these new programs focus on integrity and intellectual dignity, which are the lasting features of university activity."

The founder of Opus Dei presided over the Constitution of the Council of Patrons of Ecclesiastical Studies and Civil Studies.

Sixth visit: November 18, 1969

"The University of Navarra has always aimed to respond positively to the new needs and requirements of social reality."

St. Josemaría met with the boards of management of Theology and Canon Law, as well as newspaper editors in Pamplona. In the late evening, the founder of Opus Dei visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Fair Love on the University campus.

Seventh visit: October 6-9, 1972

"It is not the University's mission to offer immediate solutions. But, by exploring academic problems in depth, it moves hearts, dispels passivity, awakens latent energies and trains citizens who are eager to build a more just society."

In addition to presiding over the ceremony granting honorary doctoral degrees, St. Josemaría participated in different gatherings in the auditorium of the Belagua University Hall of Residence with professors and University employees, cooperators of Opus Dei and supernumeraries. There was also a gathering at Colegio Irabia. St. Josemaría also visited the Monastery of Alloz and consecrate an altar in Phase II of the Belagua University Hall of Residence.

Eighth visit: May 9-10, 1974

"The University knows that the necessary academic objectivity rightly rejects all ideological neutrality, all ambiguity, all conformism, all cowardliness: love for the truth permeates the life and work of the academic."

After presiding over the ceremony granting honorary doctoral degrees, the founder of Opus Dei participated in a gathering at the Belagua University Hall of Residence with professors and University employees. He also took advantage of the opportunity to consecrate an altar at Colegio Irabia
  • October 24-26, 1960
  • From November 28 to December 1, 1964
  • April 23, 1967
  • October 7-9, 1967
  • April 29-30, 1968
  • November 18, 1969
  • October 6-9, 1972
  • May 9-10, 1974
  • 24/10/1960 Campus
    St. Josemaría during a gathering with students at the Aralar University Hall of Residence
  • 24/10/1960 Campus
    St. Josemaría with some students after the gathering at the Aralar University Hall of Residence
  • 24/10/1960 Campus
    St. Josemaría, accompanied by Álvaro del Portillo, prays the rosary before the Estudio General de Navarra (EGN) is elevated to the status of a University
  • 24/10/1960 Campus
    The founder of the University of Navarra speaks with Ismael Sánchez Bella, the then-President of the University of Navarra, and Florencio Sánchez Bella
  • 24/10/1960 Campus
    St. Josemaría speaks with Florencio Sánchez Bella following the elevation of the Estudio General de Navarra (EGN) to the status of a University
  • 24/10/1960 Campus
    St. Josemaría and Mons. Antoniutti, the then Apostolic Nuncio in Spain, at the time of laying the first stone of the University of Navarra campus
  • 24/10/1960 Campus
    Mons. Antoniutti, the then Apostolic Nuncio in Spain, at the laying of the first stone of the University of Navarra campus
  • 24/10/1960 Campus
    St. Josemaría says a few words at the municipal government building upon being granted the Freedom of the City of Pamplona
  • 28/11/1964 Campus
    The first Chancellor of the University of Navarra is greeted by students after the honorary doctoral degrees are conferred in the Central Building
  • 28/11/1964 Campus
    St. Josemaría Escrivá embraces a student during his stay in Pamplona in 1964
  • 28/11/1964 Campus
    A moment during the ceremony awarding honorary doctoral degrees on the morning of 28 November 1964
  • 28/11/1964 Campus
    The founder of the University says a few words at the ceremony granting honorary doctoral degrees. To his right is Mons. Enrique Delgado, the Archbishop of Pamplona
  • 28/11/1964 Campus
    The founder of the University celebrates Holy Mass in the Cathedral of Pamplona
  • 28/11/1964 Campus
    St. Josemaría kneels in prayer at the Cathedral of Pamplona with Alfredo García Suárez (left), the Director of the Institute of Theology at the University of Navarra, and Javier Echevarría, the current Prelate of Opus Dei
  • 28/11/1964 Campus
    In the cloister of the Cathedral of Pamplona with a group of students
  • 28/11/1964 Campus
    A scene from the 1st Assembly of the Friends of the University of Navarra in the Gayarre Theater in Pamplona Amigos de la Universidad de Navarra, en el Teatro Gayarre de Pamplona
  • 28/11/1964 Campus
    Numerous students were able to meet St. Josemaría during his visits to Pamplona. This occasion was during the winter of 1964
  • 28/11/1964 Campus
    Students, professors and administrative and service personnel from the University of Navarra gather around St. Josemaría
  • 23/4/1967 Campus
    St. Josemaría kisses the image of the Shrine of Our Lady of Fair Love on campus
  • 8/10/1967 Campus
    St. Josemaría gesturing during a gathering on October 9 at the Pamplona campus
  • 8/10/1967 Campus
    St. Josemaría making an open welcoming gesture during a meeting held in October 1967
  • 8/10/1967 Campus
    St. Josemaría Escrivá participates in the granting of honorary doctoral degrees in 1967. To his left is Vice President Ismael Sánchez Bella
  • 8/10/1967 Campus
    St. Josemaría Escrivá congratulates a recipient of one of the honorary doctoral degrees
  • 8/10/1967 Campus
    The founder of the University during a meeting with a small group of students in October 1967
  • 8/10/1967 Campus
    The first Chancellor of the University at the multitudinous gathering that took place on the esplanade in front of the Library Building on the Pamplona campus in October 1967
  • 8/10/1967 Campus
    The founder of the University during a gathering on the esplanade in front of the Library Building on the morning of October 9, 1967
  • 8/10/1967 Campus
    St. Josemaría Escrivá makes a gesture during a gathering on the University campus
  • 8/10/1967 Campus
    The founder of the University during a gathering in 1967
  • 8/10/1967 Campus
    St. Josemaría blesses the participants at the end of a gathering on campus
  • 8/10/1967 Campus
    St. Josemaría during the celebration of the Eucharist on October 8, 1967 on the esplanade of the old Library at the University of Navarra campus, where he gave the homily "Amar al mundo apasionadamente."
  • 8/10/1967 Campus
    St. Josemaría converses with professor Álvaro d'Ors during the procession before the awarding of honorary doctoral degrees
  • 8/10/1967 Campus
    The first Chancellor of the University of Navarra, together with Mons. Álvaro del Portillo, during the academic procession of the recipients of honorary doctoral degrees in October 1967
  • 9/10/1967 Campus
    A scene from the ceremony granting honorary doctoral degrees in 1967 in the Aula Magna of the Central Building at the University
  • 9/10/1967 Campus
    After the ceremony awarding honorary doctoral degrees
  • 9/10/1967 Campus
    The founder of the University places the biretta on Guilherme Braga Da Cruz, former President of the Universidad de Coimbra
  • 9/10/1967 Campus
    The first Chancellor of the University places the ring on Ralph M. Hower
  • 9/10/1967 Campus
    A scene from the ceremony granting honorary doctoral degrees on October 7, 1967
  • 29/4/1968 Campus
    During his stay in Pamplona in April 1968, St. Josemaría held a meeting in the auditorium of the Belagua University Hall of Residence
  • 29/4/1968 Campus
    The founder of the University greeted different professionals in the area of the Office of the Executive Council in the University of Navarra's Central Building
  • 29/4/1968 Campus
    The founder of the University during the meeting in which the Council of Civil Studies was constituted
  • 29/4/1968 Campus
    St. Josemaría with three photographers in the Central Building during his visit to the University in 1968
  • 18/11/1969 Campus
    The founder of Opus Dei at a gathering with students at the Aralar University Hall of Residence
  • 18/11/1969 Campus
    The first Chancellor of the University of Navarra during a gathering with newspaper editors in Pamplona
  • 7/10/1972 Campus
    St. Josemaría poses with the new recipients of honorary doctoral degrees. Enrich Letterer, Juan Contreras (Marqués de Lozoya) and Paul Ourliac
  • 9/5/1974 Campus
    St. Josemaría hands the book to Monsignor Franz Hengsbach, Bishop of Essen
  • 9/5/1974 Campus
    St. Josemaría between Álvaro del Portillo and Florencio Sánchez Bella during the academic procession
  • 9/5/1974 Campus
    From left to right: St. Josemaría, Ismael Sánchez Bella and Manuel Ferrer Regales, during the ceremony granting honorary doctoral degrees
  • 9/5/1974 Campus
    The founder of the University with Jérôme Lejeune at the end of the academic ceremony granting honorary doctoral degrees
  • 9/5/1974 Campus
    Throughout the gathering at the Belagua University Hall of Residence, the founder of the University responded to questions from those attending
  • 9/5/1974 Campus
    St. Josemaría speaks with an attendee at the gathering held at Belagua University Hall of Residence
  • 9/5/1974 Campus
    A scene from the gathering held at the auditorium of Belagua University Hall of Residence in 1974