Dora del Hoyo Biography

“Una Luz Encendida” (A Lighted Lamp), first biography of Dora del Hoyo, first Assistant Numerary of Opus Dei

I’ve just gotten hold of a copy of “Una Luz Encendida” (thanks, Gina & Chas!!!) and I’m enjoying it tremendously! 🙂

I’ve decided to do a provisional translation of the Chapter on her CALLING TO OPUS DEI and put it here. I hope you find it helpful.


Chapter III – The Calling

                In 1939, as soon as the Spanish Civil War was over, St Josemaría set up a Residence for male university students in Madrid, which could be an ideal continuation of the work he’d begun in October 1934, but which was destroyed in the war. It was set up at a flat along Jenner St., and activities went on until the end of the Academic Year 1942-43, as its owner had to take the property back since a son was getting married and was going to reside in the place with his wife and future family.

But this setback did not deter the apostolic zeal of the Founder. On the contrary, it encouraged him to further the apostolic work he was carrying out. After many searches, he found two small hotels along Moncloa Avenue, near to the Ciudad Universitaria, which could serve as the seat of the Residence [“La Moncloa”] …

St Josemaría likewise thought that the moment had come for him to give a push to one of the apostolic works specific and unique to the women in Opus Dei which he wanted carried out all over the world, and which he considered of such importance as to describe it as the “apostolate of apostolates”: attending to the domestic chores in the Centers, to ensure that touch of affection ―composed of human tone, cleanliness, good taste, care for little details, and many more―, which could turn any house into a warm, Christian home.  From the start, he had called this group of women in charge of these tasks of the home the “Administration.”

That was 1943, and there were only quite a few women in the Work.  For the Administration of La Moncloa, which was going to house around a hundred university students, the Founder only had three young women numeraries ―each was only a little over 20 years old―, with scant experience in these matters. In addition, Spain found itself in a situation of dire scarcity in all aspects: from food items to fuel, not to mention electrical appliances.  To all this, one had to add a complete lack of money; but they launched themselves out into the adventure, encouraged and strengthened by the fervor of St Josemaría who had so much trust in Divine Providence.

The beginnings were quite tough.  Add to the circumstances mentioned the fact that the first women hired to work in the Administration lacked even the most basic preparation and training and the women of the Work had to teach them from the start the most basic tasks. As if this weren’t enough, after only 3 months from the start of the Academic Year, some of these hired girls could no longer stand it and left.

In the face of such situation, St Josemaría had recourse to the religious Nuns of the Domestic Service [Congregación de las Hijas de María Inmaculada para el Servicio Doméstico y la Protección de la Joven] begging for help.  He explained his predicament to Mother Carmen Barrasa, who promised to send, the soonest possible, a person who she felt had all the requirements: she just found out that Dora, who was employed at the home of the Duke and Duchess of Nájera, was free during those times. Mother Carmen knew that Dora was an exceptional woman; she wanted to do St Josemaría this favor, since she admired his Priestly virtues.

Mother Carmen spoke to Dora, and she spoke with so much insistence that, even though she couldn’t convince her to stay and work permanently at the Residence, she managed to convince her to do so at least temporarily. Dora was to find out that the financial conditions of the place were much worse than the working conditions she was used to. With “two pieces of luggage and a nice dress, off she went to knock at La Moncloa’s door”.

As soon as she arrived and assessed the Administration area, “she realized, without any need for explanation, the huge amount of work and the scarcity of means that met her in that place.”  When she changed to the uniform given her, that was her first ‘baptism of fire.’ She was used to the servants’ uniforms proper of staff of the wealthy, aristocratic families (clean, well-ironed, with lace) and changing to that uniform, which besides didn’t fit her perfectly, made her a bit uncomfortable.

So she decided to stay there only for a week, in consideration of the kindness of the religious Nun who had asked her. The following Sunday came, and she went to see Mother Carmen to transmit her decision, but Mother Carmen fixed things and spoke in such a way as to convince her to work 8 more days. Afterwards, another week more…

That was repeated many more times, until such time as when the Nun had to tell her strongly, when she was insisting on leaving, “Mother told me to stop that hesitation and foolishness of mine, and to stay on at La Moncloa for good, since ‘the girls were quite nice, and the Founder was a Saint.”

The truth was that Dora was a treasure and gift from God for the Residence. Encarnita Ortega, who was one of the directors of the Administration, explained that “she had a heart of gold, and she worked divinely: she had perfect control of the flat iron and dry cleaning and sewing; she cleaned with extraordinary perfection; she served at table without the slightest failing; she knew the kitchen perfectly well.  In addition, her manner was respectful, natural, and she knew how to teach the other girls with authority yet with a lot of refinement. It’s true that she had quite a strong character but she struggled to have it under control.”

Soon enough, Dora was suggesting areas for improvement in the domestic services. For example, when it came to ironing, she herself recalled, “the starched men’s shirts, especially on the nape/collar portion and the sleeve cuffs, would wear out quite quickly; and since they had to look nice and neat on the boys, we had to starch all the shirts: lapel, cuffs, collars and all.  Afterward, we’d iron them while still wet; all this took a lot of time. Add to that the fact that we lacked charcoal; what we had was some roundish heater which we put inside the charcoal flat irons.

The number of shirts was huge; each week there were plentier, in proportion to the number of residents; and all they had were rather primitive manual irons: they’d heat them up at the kitchen oven. So, at one moment, without telling the directors so they won’t disallow them, Dora began taking away hours from her sleep in order to put out the clothes of the Residents.

“I’d stay up until 2 in the morning, given the amount of work that had to be done. Concha [Concepción Andrés, another hire in La Moncloa; who was to later on be the second Assistant Numerary of Opus Dei] would say, “I’ll just sleep a while, then I’ll join you.” Perhaps she’d sleep 5 minutes, then get up and say, “I’m OK. Now I go help you.” And we’d iron away the whole night. (…) But we never told the others, and these ones never knew because the ironing room was isolated from the dormitory area. We’d close the door tightly and we tried not to make any noise. When they finally found out, they really got quite mad at us; and Nisa became very serious. But I explained that, if we hadn’t done that, we couldn’t bring out the clothes. It was solved by narrating things; because everything’s fixed by talking about them. As our Father would always tell us, “speak, and the solution comes quickly.”

Each time Dora was getting quite fond of the Opus Dei women and the home, until one given moment, after one month of hesitating, she finally decided to unpack and remain in the Residence until the end of the Academic Year in June. What moved her to act that way? It is known that she was a very hardworking woman and that, at that time, she was intending to open up an inn in Madrid, along with her sister Isabel, as they had substantial savings between the two of them.

Thus, to the question “What really kept her at La Moncloa?” there is only one answer: Her big heart.  Her magnanimous character led her to exert herself and wear herself out “completely, with great generosity of time and a growing conviction that that work was very much of God and that she had to help: her professional work was indispensable in that family.”

Moreover, that decision of hers was very much influenced by two other factors. The first: the generosity that she saw in the women of Opus Dei who were directing the Administration of the Colegio Mayor. Years later, Dora was to affirm that she was moved at “how tough the women numeraries worked” and “many evenings they never slept and worked all night.” That generosity won her over, because it offered her a compleat and, thus, attractive image of the Christian vocation.

The second great reason that moved her to remain was definitely her having met the Founder of Opus Dei.

St Josemaría would go and visit his daughters at La Moncloa each week and, among other topics, he’d never tire of reminding them to take good care of the staff humanly and spiritually. He’d suggest to them to repeat some prayer during the morning and the evening, and some aspirations throughout the day; to invite them to pray the Rosary together; and to ensure that they fulfilled the Sunday precept always. Added were very concrete details of Christian charity: the numeraries always went ahead (set the example), choosing the tougher thing, going ahead in service, giving good example of cheerfulness and generosity. Everyone would take the same menu; they had to facilitate their rest, going out with them for a walk or doing some excursion with them, etc.

Afterward, he would devote some minutes attending to each one working there. In those brief conversations, he’d ask them if they ate well, if they were writing to their families; “he’d speak to them about the importance and necessity of their work, as necessary as that of a doctor or an architect; he caused them to feel quite proud of their being domestic helpers, to carry out their task professionally, and to love their uniform as a military officer or pilot or marine would.”

In addition,  he advised them to “deal with the Virgin in a lively manner and to practice other devotions of piety, so that they may lead a spiritual life,” and “be very sincere, to recount everything to the numeraries, to be very happy; to do the cleaning out of love for God. Dora even recalled how he taught them to open and close windows with presence of God: he’d leave the windows with the chains taut so that they don’t bang against the wall.”

Dora understood at once that St Josemaría was a holy Priest, and she felt utmost respect for his person, which led her to listen to his every word with exquisite attention. She was likewise attracted to his nice human dealings, full of refinement and cordiality. “He was so nice that every Saturday we’d ask Nisa: ‘Isn’t the Father coming today?’ (…) And she’d reply: “If you’re well behaved, he’ll come; otherwise, he’s not going to come.” (…) We were very happy at his kindness and at his joy. Moreover, he’d tell us: “You have to be happy, but very happy, because you’re daughters of God —well, all of us, because I too am a son of God— and we ought to be joyful to overflowing.”

There is, therefore, no doubt that the esteem Dora already felt for St Josemaría also played an fundamental part in her decision not to abandon the Residence. “She would always think: ‘No, I can’t go; I must help the Father’; or also ‘I’m going to stay; I don’t want to displease the Father.” So, at the end of the Academic Year, Dora decided to stay on at La Moncloa one more year.

In 1945, the Founder thought of assigning to her daughters a new project, another “madness”: that of administering another Residence —this time in Bilbao—, which was to start in September of that year. They needed to train a team for the administration, and Encarnita and Nisa thought at once of Dora: Who else could ensure that the new project would turn out to be a success?

The two spoke to Dora about it, without mentioning the city, and the reply came with force: “I’m willing to go anywhere…except to Bilbao and to Zamora.” And, as we’ve seen above, the reason for Bilbao was that bad experience, while Zamora occurred to her as a tiny town.

But they knew that Dora could possibly change her mind. So, during the summer, when she was visiting with her parents, Nisa wrote her, repeating the request. Dora later told us that it was her father who passed on to her the telegram without opening it as it was addressed to her, but who said with certainty: “It must be about that Residence to which they want you to go.” Dora, after seeing that they were insisting on her going to Bilbao, declared: “I’m not going to that place!” But the father, equally strongly, spoke thus: “What do you mean you’re not going? You’ve given your word that you’re going. (…) So, you’re going to go…and if you don’t like it, then you return.” Exactly the opposite of what happened when she told him of her intention to go to Germany. Thus, much later, Dora was able to affirm: “I owe my being in the Work in a special way to my father.”

And she did go to Bilbao. And with her came another staff at La Moncloa: Concha Andrés. The situation in the new Residence was exactly the same as in Madrid in 1944: unfinished house construction, the kitchen wasn’t working properly, they were queuing up to use the bathrooms… There, “Dora did everything: she would cook along with Concha —especially when the cook refused to cook because she disliked the menu—, she did the cleaning and ironing. They managed to keep the wooden floors clean and bright through waxing.”

But they were very happy. On the 6th of January, she received a gift from the Three Kings which gave her much delight: a copy of The Way, the first book of St Josemaría which had just been published. She herself explained what significance it had for her spiritual life: “I was extremely delighted with The Way, and many times they’d read to us some portions for the reading. With every point that she would hear, she would say to herself: ‘this is for me.’ I liked it so much, and I read it in one sitting: I didn’t sleep until I finished reading it. The following day, [Nisa González Guzmán, the director] asked me: ‘Did you like The Way?’ And I answered: ‘A lot! When I began reading it, I couldn’t drop it until I finished it, because it was just so beautiful.”

Dora began to feel intimations in her soul of a calling from God: that He was asking her to give Him her heart entirely.  She was 31, almost 32. She explained to her parents that she was thinking of giving her life to God in celibacy, to seek sanctity in the midst of ordinary work; that she was going to live like the other women in the Work and that, even though she was going to be physically away from them, she would write them frequently.

Once again it was her father that advised her prudently and clearly. He said that she was already of age, and that she was free to make the most opportune decision, but that she ought to think about it hard, because deciding for God was for always, and that there was no turning back.

On 14 March 1946 she asked for admission in Opus Dei; on the 17th, Concha Andrés did the same. They became the first two Assistant Numeraries in the world, with a professional training and preparation to be household staff. St Josemaría received their petition on the feast of St Joseph, and he commented that “they were the best gift he ever received on his feastday.”


Please send me an email for any corrections:



Ralph Hower HBS

Prof. Ralph Hower (Harvard Business School) collaborated in the setting up of Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa (IESE), the business school of the University of Navarre


El 7 de octubre de 1967 tuvo lugar, en el Aula Magna de la Universidad de Navarra, el acto académico de investidura del grado de doctor honoris causa de los Profesores Guilherme Braga da Cruz, de la Universidad de Coimbra —de la que fue Rector—, en Derecho; Willy Onclin, de la Universidad Católica de Lovaina, en Derecho Canónico;Ralph M Hower, de la Universidad de Harvard, en Filosofa y Letras; Otto B. Roegele, Director del Instituto de Ciencias de la Información de la Universidad de Munich, en Filosofa y Letras; Jean Roche, Rector de la Universidad de París, en Ciencias Naturales; y, a título póstumo, a Carlos Jiménez Díaz, de la Universidad Complutense, fundador del Instituto de Investigaciones Médicas de Madrid, en Ciencias Naturales. El Gran Canciller Mons. Escrivá de Balaguer, que presidió la investidura, pronunció el discurso aquí recogido.


On October 7, 1967, at the grand auditorium of the University of Navarre, Msgr. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, as Grand Chancellor, presided over the conferral of Doctorates honoris causa on the following persons:


  • Doctor of Laws, Prof. Guilherme Braga da Cruz, University of Coimbra (of which he was Rector);
  • Doctorate in Canon Law, Prof. Willy Onclin, Catholic University of Louvain;
  • Doctorate in Philosophy & Letters, Prof. Ralph M. Hower, of the Harvard Business School;
  • Doctorate in Philosophy & Letters, Prof. Otto B. Roegele, Director of the Institute of Information Sciences, University of Munich;
  • Doctor of Natural Sciences, Prof. Jean Roche, Rector of the University of Paris; and
  • (posthumous) Doctor of Natural Sciences, Prof. Carlos Jiménez Díaz, Universidad Complutense, founder of the Medical Research Institute in Madrid.



Excelentísimos Señores, Dignísimas Autoridades, Ilustre Claustro de esta Universidad, Señoras y Señores:




Luminosa e inmarcesible es la Sabiduría; fácil es de contemplar para quienes la aman y de descubrir por aquellos que la buscan (Sap. VI, 12). Estas inspiradas palabras, que leemos en la Sagrada Escritura, brillan con todo el sentido de su perenne actualidad, en la hora gozosa que vive hoy la Universidad de Navarra.




Consciente de esta responsabilidad ineludible, la Universidad se abre ahora en todos los países a nuevos campos, hasta hace poco inéditos, incorpora a su acervo tradicional ciencias y enseñanzas profesionales de muy reciente origen y les imprime la coherencia y la dignidad intelectual, que son el signo perdurable del quehacer universitario. La Universidad de Navarra se ha esforzado siempre en dar respuesta positiva a tal imperativo de nuestro tiempo, y se honra hoy al acoger en su Claustro de Doctores a dos insignes maestros en estas modernas y actualísimas disciplinas, los Profesores Hower y Roegele.


Aware of this critical responsibility, the University is opening itself up to new fields in all countries -including those hitherto undiscovered and uninvestigated- and has begun incorporating into her curriculum traditional areas of knowledge and professional matters of teaching of recent origin and which imprint upon her university landscape an important intellectual coherence and dignity, which are an enduring sign of the tasks of any university.  The University of Navarre has always exerted effort in giving a positive response to such imperatives of our time, and today honors herself on receiving warmly into her distinguished faculty ranks two very eminent professors -of these modern-day disciplines- Ralph M. Hower and Otto B. Roegele.



El Profesor Ralph M. Hower es un destacado especialista en las Ciencias de la Empresa. Autor de libros y trabajos que le han valido renombre en todo el mundo, en sus estudios aflora siempre el interés por las relaciones humanas en el trabajo, en definitiva la preocupación por el hombre, factor primordial de las actividades económicas y sociales. Con el Profesor Hower y la Escuela de Administración de Empresas de la Universidad de Harvard, la Universidad de Navarra tiene, además, una deuda de gratitud, por la valiosa colaboración que han prestado a los Programas de nuestro Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa. Al honrar al Profesor Hower, rendimos también un homenaje a la gran Universidad de Harvard, de cuyo Claustro nuestro nuevo Doctor es miembro eminente y prestigioso.


Prof. Ralph M. Hower is a well-known and outstanding specialist in the area of the Business Sciences: author of several books, works and publications which have given him renown throughout the world.  In his works, there stand out his great interest in human relations in the workplace, that is, his keen concern for the human person, who is a primordial factor in any economic and social activity.  To Prof. Hower and Harvard Business School, the University of Navarre owes a special debt of gratitude, because it was Prof. Hower who gave valuable contribution to the academic Programs at our Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa (IESE).  On honoring Prof. Hower, we likewise render homage to the great Harvard University, among whose ranks our new Doctor is reckoned as an eminent and prestigious member.


A GoogleSearch of “Ralph Hower, Harvard University” reveals the following information:

Ralph M. Hower was a “business historian”, who also specialized in the history of the advertising industry.  He was Editor of the “Business History Review” in the period 1936-1938, and was the Editor of the “Bulletin of the BUSINESS HISTORICAL SOCIETY”.  Among some of his important works are:

  • The history of an advertising agency: N.W.Ayer & Son at work, 1869-1939;
  • History of Macy’s of New York, 1858-1919: Chapters in the evolution of the department store;
  • the journal article “The Boston Conference on Business History” published in the Journal of Economic and Business History, (Vol. 3, 1930-31).






Valor educativo y pedagógico de la libertad

Valor educativo y pedagógico de la libertad

San Josemaría – Discursos sobre la Universidad

El 21 de noviembre de 1965, Su Santidad el Papa Pablo VI inauguró oficialmente el Centro Elis, obra corporativa de enseñanza del Opus Dei en Roma. Con ocasión de esa ceremonia, el Santo Padre bendijo la imagen de Santa María Madre del Amor Hermoso, situada en la Ermita del campus de Pamplona de la Universidad de Navarra. Mons. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer pronunció las palabras que aquí se recogen.

On 21 November 1965, His Holiness Pope Paul VI officially inaugurated Centro Elis, an educational corporate work of apostolate of Opus Dei in Rome. On that occasion, the Holy Father blessed the image of Our Lady, Mother of Fair Love, belonging to the Shrine of the Pamplona campus of the University of Navarre.  Msgr. Josemaría Escrivá spoke the following words…


Extracto // Excerpts:

En estas aulas, Padre Santo, la juventud obrera que vive en el Centro y que acude a las clases y aprende un oficio noble y útil, se forma cristianamente en la convicción de que el hombre ha sido creado por Diosut operaretur. Esta juventud, Padre Santo, aprende que el trabajo santificado y santificador es parte esencial de la vocación del cristiano responsable, que es consciente de su dignidad, y sabe además que tiene el deber de santificarse y de difundir el Reino de Dios precisamente en ese trabajo y mediante ese trabajo que contribuye a la edificación de la ciudad terrena.

In these classrooms, Holy Father, the working young people who live in this Center and go to class to learn a noble and useful trade, are formed in a Christian manner that man has been created by God ut operaretur. These youths, Holy Father, learn that work, sanctified and sanctifying, is an essential part of the vocation of a responsible Christian, who is aware of his dignity, and who moreover knows that he ought to sanctify and spread the Kingdom of God precisely in his work and through his work which contributes to the building up of the earthly city.

En este ambiente sereno y alegre, similar al de todas las actividades que el Opus Dei desarrolla por gracia de Dios, en todo el mundo, procuramos, Beatísimo Padre, que se respire un clima de libertad, en el que todos se sientan hermanos, bien lejos de la amargura que proviene de la soledad o de la indiferencia. Un clima en el que aprenden a apreciar y a vivir la mutua comprensión, la alegría de una convivencia leal entre los hombres. Amamos y respetamos la libertad, y creemos en su valor educativo y pedagógico. Estamos convencidos de que en un clima así se forman almas con libertad interior, y se forjan hombres capaces de vivir responsablemente la doctrina de Cristo, de poner en práctica virilmente la fe, de practicar con alegría la obediencia interior y devota a las enseñanzas de la Iglesia —entre las que ocupan lugar destacado las de su doctrina social— capaces de amar con todo su corazón y con todas sus fuerzas a la Iglesia de Dios y al Romano Pontífice.

In this serene and happy environment, which is the same as that in every other activity carried out by Opus Dei by the grace of God, we try our best, Holy Father, to ensure that people breathe an air of freedom, in which all of us feel ourselves as brothers/sisters of one another: the joy of a loyal living-together among men and women.  We love and respect freedom, and we believe in its educational and pedagogical value.  We are convinced that in an environment like that, we are able to form souls with interior freedom, and to forge men and women capable of living responsibly the doctrine of Christ, of putting the faith into practice in a manly fashion, of practicing joyfully that interior and devoted obedience to the teachings of Holy Mother Church –among which stand out Her teachings on Social Doctrine–, capable of loving with all their heart and with all their might the Church and the Roman Pontiff.


UNIV Defensa de la vida

UNIV – Pro-vida // Pro-Life

El 9 de mayo de 1974, el Gran Canciller de la Universidad de Navarra presidió la ceremonia de investidura como doctores honoris causa, en Derecho, de Mons. Franz Hengsbach, Obispo de Essen, doctor en Teología por la Universidad de Münster y promotor y Presidente de la Acción «Adveniat» para ayudar a la Iglesia en Hispanoamérica; y en Medicina, del Prof. Jéróme Lejeune, de la Universidad de París. Mons. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer cerró el acto académico, celebrado en el Aula Magna, con el presente discurso.

On 9 May 1974, the Grand Chancellor of the University of Navarre presided over the investiture ceremony in which he conferred the Doctorate honoris causa upon: Msgr. Franz Hengsback, Bishop of Essen (Doctor of Laws), doctoral professor of Theology at the University of Münster and promoter and President of Adveniat in aid of the Church in Latin America; and upon Prof. Jéróme Lejeune, of the University of Paris (Doctor of Medicine). Msgr. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer closed the ceremonies at the Auditorium, with the following speech…


En su dilatada labor pastoral, Monseñor Hengsbach ha mostrado con hechos cómo se conjuga la predicación valiente e incansable de la fe, con la atención sacerdotal a los mineros del Ruhr, con la solicitud por la Iglesia en América Latina, y con el estudio riguroso de la Teología y el Derecho Canónico. Y no es casual que su primer escrito, en 1934, versase sobre la defensa de la vida, frente a criterios aberrantes que se abrían paso por entonces en su patria.

In his long pastoral work, Msgr. Hengsbach has shown with deeds how he combined a courageous and untiring preaching of the Faith, with his Priestly attention to the miners at Ruhr, as well as his concern for the Church in South America, along with his rigorous study of Theology and Canon Law.  And it was not mere chance that his first publication in 1934 would dwell on the topic of the defense of life, in the face of aberrant criteria that were being introduced in his fatherland during his time.


La firme defensa de la vida humana ha llevado al mundo entero el nombre del Profesor Lejeune, de la Universidad de París, a quien la Ciencia universal reconoce unánimemente como uno de sus primeros y más altos investigadores en Genética, esa aventura maravillosa del entendimiento humano, que indaga el origen inmediato de la vida, y la lleva a su plenitud mediante los recursos descubiertos en el oficio inventivo y paciente del laboratorio y de la clínica.

The firm defense of human life has made famous in the entire world the name of Professor Lejeune, of the University of Paris, whom the world of Science recognizes unanimously as one of its first and highest researchers on Genetics, that wonderful adventure of human knowledge, which inspects the very origin of life: he has brought this field to its fullness through his unearthing of resources via his inventive, painstaking and patient work at the laboratory and the medical clinic.


Aquí en este enlace se comparten varios sitios donde se encontrarán material precioso sobre la campaña PRO-VIDA (inglés y español)


In the following link you’d find wonderful material and links in relation to this all-important PRO-LIFE campaign:



We’ve also created the following site so you may be aware of the economic arguments in favor of LIFE and FAMILY:



¡A por la VIDA y la FAMILIA!

YES to Life! YES to Family!


UNIV 2011 4th of July

4th of July and Freedom

When 4th of July comes, there come to mind concepts like freedom and independence.  But what really is FREEDOM?  Are those nations that declare themselves true democracies truly free?  What about judicial systems and national laws that stifle true personal freedoms and go against such basic human rights as right to life and religious freedom?

Cuando venga la fecha 4 de julio ―que es muy importante para la zona norteamericana―, vienen a la mente los conceptos de ‘libertad e independencia’.  Pero parece que aun las naciones ‘más libres’, más ‘democráticas’ carecen de la verdadera libertad: las cortes y los sistemas judiciales legislan contra la vida, p.ej., como hemos visto en España y en EE.UU., entre otras naciones.


I strongly suggest that students doing UNIV tackle the topic:

Querría sugerir que los universitari@s aborden el tema:

“Anti-Life Courts and Laws: Freedom? or License?”

La ley pro-muerte: libertad? or libertinaje?


The links that follow are just a few of the many references you can have on this very important issue…

Los enlaces que siguen son solamente una pequeña muestra de la bibliografía que se puede encontrar acerca de este tema importantísimo…

United States:



I would likewise highly recommend the sources found on this link:

Recomendaría, como recurso principal, los enlaces que encontraréis aquí:


UNIV 2010 Paper

UNIV 2010 Research Paper presented in Final Paper Presentation (Philippines)


Authentic Human Development and Social Entrepreneurship

Author: Valeroso, Carmina Angelica C.

(St. Scholastica’s College Manila)


“If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed.”

Poverty is a type of darkness in society which is the root of some social ills. Nevertheless, there is much hope that this darkness can be dispelled.

In relation to this year’s UNIV theme “Can Christianity Inspire a Global Culture?”, this paper entitled “Authentic Human Development in Poverty Alleviation through Social Entrepreneurship”, aims to study the influence of Christianity on the culture of entrepreneurship as well as on poverty alleviation.

Based on a 2006 data of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization, poverty afflicts approximately 15 million Filipinos.  The inaccessibility of some areas makes it a daunting task for government, NGOs and large corporations to execute their poverty alleviation programs.  Social entrepreneurship may be one of the means to meet the needs of the poor in unserved areas since it uses sustainable and scalable approaches.

In answering a social problem such as poverty, the Pope cautions against solutions which create a culture that “detaches itself from its life-giving roots, [because] then it will not become more reasonable or purer, but will fall apart and disintegrate.”

Keeping the Pope’s message in mind, the following objectives were formulated (see above).


The framework illustrates how Christianity teaches that authentic human development concerns the material and spiritual growth of a person, including her transcendent dimension. This Christian idea of authentic human development may influence an entrepreneur to venture into some social enterprise which seeks to alleviate poverty. As depicted in the framework, poverty has multiple indicators and the greater the effort to address each indicator, the greater is the contribution to the development of the person.


The methodology is as follows:

The Christian definition of authentic human development was extracted from Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical “Caritas in Veritate”.

Meanwhile, the indicators of a multi-dimensional poverty were based on a research entitled “Missing Dimensions of Poverty Data” (Alkire, 2007).

Indicators of Multidimensional Poverty

Dimension Indicators
Material Well Being income poverty, food shortage, housing quality, access to water and sanitation
Bodily Well being malnutrition, child mortality
Mental well being intelligence, psychological well being (meaning, autonomy, competence, relatedness), subjective well being (happiness and over all comfort)
Productivity employment, quality of work (protection, safety, time use, discouraged unemployment, perceptions)
Security victims of violence and theft, perceptions of violence
Social well being Shame (stigma of poverty and shame proneness), humiliation (respect and fair treatment, discrimination, internal humiliation)
Empowerment freedom of choice and actions, control over personal decisions, autonomy, ability to change life (lifestyle, mentality, mind set, outlook), ability to change others/ community

A case study of two (2) social enterprises:

  • Hapinoy; and
  • Rags2Riches

was conducted. The beneficiaries of these 2 businesses are mothers of families in selected communities in Luzon and are also more familiarly referred to as Nanays (moms).

Motivations of social entrepreneurs were gathered from interviews with two businessmen.

In answer to the first objective: The encyclical describes authentic human development as growth in every single dimension of man, that is, in his material and spiritual dimensions, including his transcendent dimension. Pope Benedict XVI emphasized growth in the transcendent dimension, which entails growth in the spirit.  The Holy Father mentions that this growth occurs when man’s “soul comes to know itself and the truths that God has implanted deep within, when he enters into a dialogue with himself and his Creator”.

In answer to Objective no. 2:  Seven (7) indicators were enumerated by Alkire, namely, poverty in:  Material Well-Being, Bodily Well-Being, Security, Work, Mental Well-Being, Social Well-Being, and Empowerment.

To meet the third objective: The conceptual framework shows that authentic human development involves material and spiritual growth.  Material growth can be seen through material and bodily well-being while spiritual growth may be seen through security, work, mental well-being, social well-being, and empowerment.

Hapinoy and Rags2Riches were examined based on the indicators.

Hapinoy is a program of MicroVentures, Inc. which aims to increase the sales and profits of micro-entrepreneur sari-sari store owners nationwide.

On the other hand, Rags2Riches is a business which creates ethical and eco-friendly high-end designer fashion masterpieces and home accessories.  It aims to solve the two predominant faces of injustice in Payatas:  unfair trade and environmental degradation.

The results regarding how Hapinoy and Rags2Riches addressed the material and spiritual growth of the Nanays (moms) will now be presented.


Through Hapinoy and Rags2Riches, the material growth can be seen in the increase in income.  (Those in Hapinoy experienced an increase in sales from less than a hundred thousand monthly to half a million;  while those in Rags2Riches – who previously earned 1 to 2 pesos per rug – were enabled to receive at least the minimum wage daily. The Nanays were also able to expand their stores and acquire other equipment and facilities.

Material growth was also seen through the desire to acquire bodily well-being. The Moms used their higher earnings to provide for household needs. Good nutrition also became a conscious consideration for the Moms.

Moving on to how spiritual growth was achieved, the relevant indicators were examined.  Spiritual growth through having a sense of security was manifested especially in expanding the freedoms they value and have reason to value.  Mental well-being is another indicator related to spiritual growth. Hapinoy and Rags2Riches fed the intellect of the Moms through giving them training and support services so that they can acquire more knowledge regarding entrepreneurship and business environments.

The Moms were enabled to set higher goals for themselves and their family as well as to exercise their freedom of choice and action.  Character development may be seen in their practice of the virtues, such as commitment and simplicity.  The Moms have also learned to place more value in life, happiness and their relationship with God.


Christianity teaches that authentic human development involves growth in the individual’s totality as body and soul, in every single dimension of man including the transcendent.

This study sought to show that the idea of authentic human development, through concern for both material and spiritual well-being, should imbue the social entrepreneur when venturing into social entrepreneurship. This study has highlighted specific cases where social entrepreneurship has also helped alleviate poverty, in the process of creating an enabling environment for the marginalized so they can fulfill and develop themselves.


Learning from the experience of social entrepreneurship, some recommendations can be taken up by the different sectors of society.

  • The youth can be encouraged to get involved in different volunteer activities since these provide them the opportunity to give themselves to others.
  • Programs can also be launched to help parents train their children to be more socially responsible.
  • Giving support to schools which offer Christian formation enables these institutions to continue imparting values through their curriculum, outreach programs and other activities. Children who are exposed to these may more often include Christian ideals in their social behaviors.
  • Dialogue with the authorities can also be kept so that they are provided with data to determine the real cause of poverty. There would be a need to invest time in studying the needs of the poor so as to address all dimensions of the person.
  • Opportunities can also be offered for social entrepreneurs to strengthen their spiritual life and deepen their relationship with God since they will be working in a business model which is others-oriented.


World Communications Day

Message of Pope Benedict XVI for the 44th World Communications Day

In his message for the 44th World Communications Day, Pope Benedict invites us to “discover new possibilities for carrying out [their] ministry to and for the Word of God”.

In the Opus Dei Today forum, we’ve put concrete applications of the Pope’s messages for the World Communications Day:

How about YOU? How have you put into practice the Pope’s invitation to positively influence this ‘Digital Generation’?


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