Balaguer (Spain): A Painting of St. Josemaría in the City of his Paternal Roots

In the shrine of Our Lady of the Miracle, patroness of Balaguer (Lleida, Spain), a picture of St. Josemaría painted in 2002 by the artist Beltrán Messa (1940-2006) has been venerated since Sunday, June 25. It was installed on the initiative of a group of local people with devotion to the founder of Opus Dei on the occasion of the eightieth anniversary of his stay in the city. In 1943, as documented in the book Escrivà de Balaguer a Catalunya, 1913-1974 (Publicacions de l’Abadia de Montserrat, 2015), by Josep Masabeu, St. Josemaría visited Balaguer, the city where his father’s family came from.

The ceremony took place at the end of the 12 o’clock Mass, concelebrated by Mossèn Jordi Freixenet, rector of the shrine, and Mossèn Enric Bonet, a priest of the Prelature, who had come from Lleida. In his homily, Mossèn Jordi commented on the readings of the day and invited people to trust in God. He said that, like all the saints, this was an attitude that St. Josemaría had deep in his heart. He then briefly outlined the key features of the life of the founder of Opus Dei. Mossèn Enric, on behalf of the faithful and cooperators of the Prelature present, thanked the rector of the shrine for the assistance he had provided for the placement of the image and emphasized St. Josemaría’s affection for the town of Balaguer, shown in his decision to include the name in his surname.

Romana, n. 76, January-June 2023, p. 87.

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