Friday 29 June 2018

Alvaro Del Portillo The Power of Humility - Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky

Alvaro Del Portillo:
The Power of Humility
Helena Scott
Ethel Tolansky
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860829024
eISBN 9781784693954

I have read extensively on Saint Josemaria Escriva but far less on Blessed Alvara del Portillo. This booklet is the start of that lack of knowledge changing. I was amazed at the life this man lived, and so much of it I was completely unaware of.  I began my research into Escriva and Opus Dei when I was a religious studies major in university. I started my research with the intent of a doing a thesis on the work. I started attending monthly recollections, and making retreats most years. The people I have known who are part of the work have inspired, challenged and encouraged me going on 30 years now. And this booklet has done the same things. I am already looking forward to rereading this book with my children over the summer holidays. My youngest two have crocheted versions of Saint Josemaria Escriva and Blessed Alvara del Portillo made by Oremus Crocheted Saints. And I know that they will love this booklet as much as I have.

But back to this book. The chapters in the booklet are:

During the War
Rome and the 'Rock'
A Quiet Servant of the Church
Prelate of Opus Dei
The Head of a Global Family
Devotion, a Great Joy, and His Last Day

There was so much in this book that I had not encountered in my readings and research to date. From his early years and switching programs so he could finish school and start working to help his family. To the works he has written. This man truly lived to serve, and gave his whole live in service to God. He was a man of great personal devotion, especially to Mary and Marian shrines. He was a man of learning. But he was also a humble servant. The amount of travel that Del Portillo did and the number of centres and works he started is staggering. At one point he was starting a new work about once a year each time in a new country and region. This booklet begins with a story:

"One day in the early 1980s a young man was praying in front of the statue of Our Lady in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. His name was Louis and he was from Cameroon. While he was there a white-haired priest came up to him and introduced himself, and they were soon deep in conversation. Louis was very struck by this fatherly-looking priest, with a gentle smile and understanding eyes, who spoke with such faith, warmth, priestly zeal and love for Jesus Christ. After they had both returned to their respective countries, they kept in touch by letter, and Louis discovered his own vocation to the priesthood. He entered the seminary and was ordained in 1989. Referring to that encounter, Father Louis said later: "This is my model, this is the priest I would like to imitate!" The priest who had inspired him, and continues to do so, along his path in the priesthood, was Alvaro del Portillo."
And that is what we will come away with after reading this book, it will be an encounter with a saintly man who will inspire us! And it is a blessing to have this book as so much that has been written about and by Alvaro del Portillo is not available in English. Making this a little treasure for us to cherish.

This book is another excellent read from The Catholic Truth Society. They currently have over 600 title in print, and just over 300 available electronically.  Every time I read a book from CTS I find 2 or 3 more I want to read. While working on this review I found out the authors Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky have co-authored three other biographies for CTS. I had not encountered Tolansky before, but have encountered Helena Scott as the translator into English of some of the works by Father Jacques Philippe. I have already added their 3 others CTS books to my wish list. This book is an excellent read and strongly encourage you give it a read.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Scott and Tolansky:
Pius XII
Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan
Benedict XVI

Josemaria Escriva
Alvaro Del Portillo

A Pope of Surprises: The First Five Years of Pope Benedict XVI's Papacy
Sophie Scholl and The White Rose: Resistance to the Nazis
Johann Gruber and Jacques Bunel: Victims of the Nazis

Books about Alvaro del Portillo:
Alvaro Del Portillo The Power of Humility - Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky
Saxum: The Life of Alvaro del Portillo - John F. Coverdale
40 Years with a Saint: Blessed Alvaro del Portillo on St. Josemara Escriva - Cesare Cavalleri


Books by Alvaro del Portillo:
Like Salt and Like Light: Anthology of texts compiled by Jose Antonio Loarte
Faithful And Laity In The Church; The Bases Of Their Legal Status
Journey with Jesus

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