CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 13 July 2019

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Chemist with a big heart beatified

HONG KONG (UCAN): On May 18, Angelo Cardinal Becciu, prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, represented Pope Francis at the beatification of Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri (1916 to 1975) in Madrid, Spain. She is the first woman and the first lay member of Opus Dei to be beatified.
 
Born in Madrid on 12 December 1916, Ortiz de Landázuri was a chemist by profession at a time when it was uncommon for women to pursue scientific studies. At the age of 19, during the onset of the Spanish Civil War, her father was executed by the rebel government following a rushed trial. She never expressed resentment against those responsible for her father’s death. 
 
She met St. Josemaria Escriva in 1944 and was one of the first women to become a member of Opus Dei. She devoted herself to seeking personal holiness through her professional work and daily tasks, as well as helping other people to do the same. 
 
In the 1950s she moved to Mexico to start the apostolic work of Opus Dei there and later to Rome. Placing her professional work on hold, she devoted herself to projects including starting and directing residences for university women and schools for women in rural areas, as well as a mobile medical clinic, among others. 
 
Ortiz de Landázuri developed a heart problem when she was only 42-years-old. After returning to Madrid to receive treatment, she completed her doctoral studies in Chemistry and was later appointed professor in Chemistry while simulteously continuing her duties and caring for her ageing mother. 
 
She succumbed to her illness in 1975 after a slow decline in health and a series of operations.
 
Her canonisation cause was opened in 2001 and, in the following year, the cure in 2002 of Antonio Jesús Sedano who, at 76-years-old, was suffering from a malignant skin tumour next to his right eye, was attributed to her intercession. A few days before the operation to remove the tumour, Sedano had sought the intercession of Ortiz de Landázuri, asking to avoid the surgery. The next morning, the tumour had completely disappeared.
 
Subsequent medical examinations confirmed the cure. Sedano died twelve years later, in 2014, of heart disease at the age of 88. The skin cancer from which he was cured through the intercession of Guadalupe never appeared again. The miracle was recognised on 8 June 2018. 
 
Monsignor Fernando Ocariz, the prelate of Opus Dei, said in a recent arictle, “Guadalupe stands out for her attitude of loving whatever God wanted of her, accepting his will, trusting and hoping in him, and living completely in the present, exactly as it is, leaving the future in God’s hands.”
 
He said, “Guadalupe was passionate about chemistry, but for her, work was not just a question of professional achievement but above all an opportunity to seek God and to serve others,” adding that Blessed Ortiz de Landázuri is a model of how to finding God in one’s work done as well as possible.
 
“Her love for God and her professional enthusiasm led her to be generously involved in the social issues of her time. She was never indifferent to the suffering of others and helped begin projects for the advancement of the poor both in her own country and in Mexico, making use of all her knowledge and talents,” the monsignor said.
 
During the Regina Coeli in St. Peter’s Square on May 19, Pope Francis called her an example of the “holiness of normality”—a description which echoes what he wrote in his third apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and be glad) where he wrote: “God calls us to be saints in the midst of everyday life” - not superheroes but saints “next door.”
 
The pope also commended Blessed Ortiz de Landázuri’s witness as an example for Christian women. 
 

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