70th anniversary of the first pilgrimage to Sonsoles

In May, the month the Church dedicates to our Lady, many Catholics have the custom of honoring the Mother of God by making a pilgrimage. In 1935, St. Josemaría undertook a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Sonsoles in Avila, Spain, marking an important milestone in the history of Opus Dei.

The historian Andrés Vázquez de Prada, in his book The Founder of Opus Dei, relates the trip made by St. Josemaría, accompanied by two students, Ricardo Fernandez Vallespín and Jose Maria Gonzalez Barredo, to honor our Lady at this shrine: “Without entering into the walled area,” Vazquez de Prada tells us, “they walked directly to the small shrine. From far off one could see the shrine high on a hill top. They prayed a rosary as they were going up, another inside, in front of the statue of our Lady, in the midst of votive offerings and plaques in thanksgiving of favors granted, and a third part of the rosary on their way back to the Avila railroad station...As a souvenir of this pilgrimage, Fr. Josemaría kept a handful of ears of wheat in a small case as a symbol of the hope of apostolic fruitfulness in the month of May.”

In the shrine of Sonsoles there is now a plaque recalling that first pilgrimage of the founder of Opus Dei.

Romana, n. 40, January-June 2005, p. 130.

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