Portfolio | 2018

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A Priest of Opus Dei as Catholic Chaplain at Harvard

From 1954 to 1960 Fr. William Porras, a priest of Opus Dei, served as the chaplain of the Harvard Catholic Club. This portfolio comprises two articles by Federico M. Requena which study his activities. Fr. William Porras, a Catholic Chaplain at Harvard University (1954-1960), was originally published in Spanish in Studia et Documenta. Rivista dell'Istituto Storico San Josemaría Escrivá. presents a comprehensive, thoroughly-documented overview of Porras’ tenure as chairman of the Catholic Club. It highlights not only the growth and development of the club but also Porras’ contribution to the establishment of a chair of Catholic Studies at Harvard and to improving relations between the university and the Archdiocese of Boston.

The second article, "Harvard and Catholic . . . are not incompatible": Father William Porras' Chaplaincy at Harvard University, 1954-1960 appeared in U.S. Catholic Historian, Vol. 36, n. 3, (Summer 2018) pp. 79-98. It contrasts Fr. Porras’ efforts to foster an integrated and active presence of Catholics at Harvard with the isolationist approach represented by Fr. Feeney and the St. Benedict Center. This study offers valuable insights into the relationship between American Catholicism and secularization in the period prior to the Second Vatican Council.

The text of the article will be added to the website in early 2019.

Portfolio | 2017

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The Writings of St. Josemaria

The writings of St. Josemaría Escrivá are perhaps the single most important source for understanding the spirit that animates Opus Dei. We offer here two studies that approach those writings from entirely different angles.

José Luis Illanes, a theologian and the former director of the Rome-based Istituto Storico San Josemaría Escrivá, offers an overview of the entire corpus of the founder of Opus Dei’s writings both published and unpublished including notes taken by others from his preaching. He sets them in their historical context and connects them to the author’s principal life work, the foundation and development of Opus Dei.

François-Xavier Guerra, a professor of history at the University of Paris I – Sorbonne, offers a linguistic analysis of four of Escrivá published works: The Way, Conversations with Josemaría Escrivá, Christ is Passing By, and Friends of God. He is interested not in the entire message of Escrivá but is his attitude toward the modern world as it was understood in his time. Guerra employs a quantitative study of Escrivá’s vocabulary to situate the author in his historical context and to explore his attitude toward modernity.

Portfolio | 2016

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University Residences Established by Members of Opus Dei in English-Speaking Countries.

The first corporate activity of Opus Dei was the DYA Academy-Residence in Madrid. After the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939, members of Opus Dei established a number of other university residences in Madrid and other cities throughout Spain. In addition to meeting the need for housing in an atmosphere conducive to serious study, those residences proved to be settings in which it was easy to offer spiritual, cultural, and professional formation both to the residents and to many other university students who frequented the residences. It is not surprising, therefore, that as Opus Dei expanded internationally after the Second World War its members decided to establish university residences in the countries where Opus Dei was just beginning.

The articles reproduced here explore some aspects of that experience in three English-speaking countries, Great Britain, the United States, and Australia.