Josemaría Escrivá Obras

How is Opus Dei developing in countries other than Spain? What is its influence in the United States, Britain, Italy etc.?

At present people of sixty-eight nationalities, who work in almost all the countries of America and western Europe and in various parts of Africa, Asia and Oceania, belong to Opus Dei.

The influence of Opus Dei in all these countries is a spiritual one. It consists essentially of helping people to live the spirit of the Gospel more fully in their everyday lives. The situation of these people is extremely varied. From small farmers who till the land in isolated villages of the Andes to Wall Street bankers. Opus Dei teaches all of them the value of their ordinary work, which can be a highly effective means of loving and serving God and others, be it brilliant or lowly from a human point of view. It teaches them to love all men, to respect their freedom, and to work in the way they personally see fit to eliminate intolerance and to make society more just. This is the only influence of Opus Dei in any place where it carries on its apostolates.

As to the social and educational undertakings that the Work, as such, promotes, let me say that they are designed to meet the particular needs of society in each locality. I do not have at hand detailed information about them for, as I told you earlier, our organisation is highly decentralised. I could mention as one example among many, Midtown Sports and Cultural Centre in Chicago, which offers educational and sporting programs to the residents of that neighbourhood. An important part of its work consists in bringing together, in an atmosphere of friendship and collaboration, the different ethnic groups that live there. Another interesting activity in the United States is carried on at The Heights in Washington D.C. Its services include professional guidance courses, special studies for gifted students, college preparation programs, etc.

In England one might mention a number of university residences which provide not only a place to stay but numerous activities to complete the students' human, spiritual and cultural training. Netherhall House in London is perhaps especially interesting because of its notable international character. Students from more than fifty countries have lived there. Many of them are non-Christian, since Opus Dei's houses are open to all without any racial or religious discrimination.

To be brief, I will mention just one more activity, the Centro Internazionale della Gioventu Lavoratrice in Rome. This centre for the professional training of young workers was entrusted to Opus Dei by Pope John XXIII and was inaugurated by Pope Paul VI less than a year ago.

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