Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Book Review: "Women of Opus Dei in Their Own Words"

Women of Opus Dei: In Their Own Words
Edited by M.T. Oates, Linda Ruf, and Jenny Driver MD
New York: Crossroad Publishing Company, 2009

Opus Dei received a great deal of negative publicity a few years back when "The DaVinci Code" by Dan Brown was making headlines. In some ways, this book is a response to that publicity. The women of Opus Dei wanted to tell their stories and explain their lives.

I came to "Women of Opus Dei in their Own Words" not knowing anything about Opus Dei. I was pleasantly surprised. Founded by St. Josemaria Escriva in Spain in 1928. The name "Opus Dei" is Latin for "Work of God." The organization "is dedicated to helping lay men and women throughout the world find and love God through their daily work and social interactions, and to spread the Christian message in and through their daily lives."

They offer a combination of resources to help members live out this mission. Among them are "a daily, flexible plan of prayer . . . weekly, monthly, and annual Catholic spiritual and theological development programs . . . personal guidance sessions . . . Centers and conference centers . . . managed as settings where Opus Dei and many others can find a Christian home environment to inspire and encourage them."

St. Josemaria was very supportive of women and encouraged them to be the best they could be in "whatever professional sphere they chose." He was always adamant that "work in the home is a professional job as well." The women who share their stories in this book come from all walks of life. Some have families. Others have chosen to remain celibate in order to serve God exclusively. Some work solely in their homes. Others have high-profile professions. All are united in their desire to live their lives for God. They share their conversion stories, their call to become part of Opus Dei, and their struggles and successes. I think most women reading this will find that these women are very much like women we know.

The "Women of Opus Dei" is an inspiring, informative book. Even if one has no call to join Opus Dei, it is interesting to learn about their lifestyle. There are also wonderful suggestions about ways to integrate one's service of God with all aspects of life.

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