Josemaría Escrivá Obras

A school conducted by the Women's Section of Opus Dei was opened recently in Madrid, with the aim of creating a family environment and offering a complete training program for domestic staff which will enable them to become qualified in their profession. What influence do you think these kinds of activities of Opus Dei can have in society?

The main aim of this apostolic work (and there are many similar ones directed by members of Opus Dei who work together with other people who are not members of our Association) is to dignify the work of domestic staff in such a way that they can do their work with a scientific approach. I say 'with a scientific approach' because housework should be carried out as a true profession.

We must not forget that there are people who have wanted to present this work as something humiliating, but it is not. No doubt, the conditions under which this work used to be done were humiliating and sometimes they still are, even today, when domestic staff are subjected in their work to the whim of an arbitrary employer who does not guarantee their rights, and who gives them low wages and no affection. Employers must be lead to respect an adequate work-contract with clear and precise guarantees in which the rights and duties of both parties are clearly established.

Apart from these legal guarantees, the person who offers this service must be trained for the job, which means she must be professionally prepared. I said 'service' — although the word is not popular these days — because any job that is well done is a wonderful service to society, and this is as true of domestic work as it is of the work of a professor or judge. The only work that is not a service is that of a person who works for his own self-interest.

Housework is something of primary importance. Besides, all work can have the same supernatural quality. There are no great or mean tasks. All are great if they are done with love. Those which are considered great become small when the Christian meaning of life is lost sight of. On the other hand, there are apparently small things that can in fact be very great because of their real effects.

As far as I am concerned, the work of one of my daughters in Opus Dei, who works in domestic employment is just as important as that of one who has a title. In either case all I am concerned about is that the work they do should be a means and an occasion for personal sanctification and the sanctification of their neighbour. The importance depends on whether a woman in her own job and position in life is becoming more holy, and fulfilling with greater love the mission she has received from God.

Before God all men have the same standing, whether they are university professors, shop-assistants, secretaries, labourers, or farmers. All souls are equal. Only, at times, the souls of simple and unaffected people are more beautiful; and certainly those who are more intimate with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are always more pleasing to our Lord.

With this school that has been opened in Madrid, a lot can be done. It can be a real and effective help to society in an important task; and a Christian work in the heart of the home, bringing happiness, peace and understanding to many households. I could go on talking for hours on this subject, but what I have already said is enough to make clear that I understand that work in the home is especially important because through it so much good or harm can be done to families. Let us hope that it will do much good and that there will be many able and upright people whose apostolic zeal will draw them to turn this profession into a happy and fruitful task in so many homes throughout the world.

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