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Aware that God meant Opus Dei to be part of the mission of the universal Church, the founder moved to Rome in 1946 so as to be close to the Holy See.
By 1950 the Work had received pontifical approvals affirming its main foundational features-spreading the message of holiness in daily life; service to the Pope, the universal church, and the particular churches; secularity and naturalness; fostering personal freedom and responsibility, and a pluralism consistent with Catholic moral, political, and social teachings.
Monsignor Escriva's death in Rome came suddenly on June 26, 1975, when he was 73.
Large numbers of bishops and ordinary faithful petitioned the Vatican to begin the process for his beatification and canonization.
This growth was not without pain; though the Work always had the approval of the local bishops, its then-unfamiliar message of sanctity in the world met with some misunderstandings and suspicions-which the founder bore with great patience and charity. Josemaria received a new foundational grace to establish the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, which made it possible for some of Opus Dei's lay faithful to be ordained as priests.
The full incorporation of both lay faithful and priests in Opus Dei, which makes a seamless cooperation in the apostolic work possible, is an essential feature of the foundational charism of Opus Dei, affirmed by the Church in granting Opus Dei the canonical status of a personal Prelature.
The first edition of The Way, his most widely read work, was published in 1934 under the title Spiritual Considerations.In addition, the Priestly Society conducts activities, in full harmony with the bishops of the local churches, for the spiritual development of diocesan priests and seminarians.Diocesan priests can also be part of the Priestly Society, while at the same time remaining clergy of their own dioceses.The death of three younger sisters, and his father's bankruptcy after business reverses, taught him the meaning of suffering and brought maturity to his outgoing and cheerful temperament.In 1915, the family moved to Logrono, where his father had found new employment.
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On October 2, 1928, while making a retreat in Madrid, God showed him his specific mission: he was to found Opus Dei, an institution within the Catholic Church dedicated to helping people in all walks of life to follow Christ, to seek holiness in their daily life and grow in love for God and their fellow men and women.