Wednesday 1 May 2019

Guadalupe The Freedom of Loving - Cristina Abad Cadenas and Helena Scott

Guadalupe: The Freedom of Loving
Cristina Abad Cadenas
Helena Scott (Translator)
Scepter Publishers
ISBN 9781594173578
eISBN 9781594173585


On May 18th 2019 Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri will be the first woman of Opus Dei to be beatified. This volume is a look at her life and legacy, written by an investigative journalist. The book is an easily accessible read. But the life of Guadalupe will be one that inspire, motivated and challenges readers. It will inspire by her love and life of service, and challenge us to life more fully a life of obedience, a life of service and a life of love. The subtitle of this book on the cover is: “To See God’s Hand In Everything”, and through the book and Guadalupe’s life we see that. And hopefully we will see it more in our own lives after reading this volume. The description of this book is:

“It often happens that a call to holiness and devotion to Christ touches the heart amidst immense suffering. A young girl named Guadalupe experienced such a call while living through the trials of her family and country as a result of the Spanish Civil War.

Guadalupe Ortiz, the first woman of Opus Dei to be beatified, had a style of sanctity that attracted others. She was known as determined, joyful, and a source of peaceful strength. As one of the earliest woman members of Opus Dei, she took seriously her calling to bring the love of Christ to her work and her daily life.

Her relatability is what makes her remarkable. As an individual often faced with challenges, a dedicated scientist and teacher, and a devoted friend and daughter, we can all identify with the stories and themes that make up her beautiful life.”

And the chapters are:
1 Everyone a Saint
2 The Chemist
3 In Search of the Truth
4 Commitment
5 Freedom and Responsibility
6 A Dedicated Woman: From Madrid to Mexico
7 Bearing Fruit: Rome
8 A Big Heart
9 The Last Battle

They say our life is measured by the dash the dash between our birth and our death. For Guadalupe that dash is from September 20th 1908 – July 16th 1975. She only outlived Saint Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, by a few weeks. A man she saw as a father and father to the whole work. Guadalupe was an accomplished woman, academically, professionally and within the work of Opus Dei. She was a pivotal figure in the works spread to Mexico. And yet she continued her studies and teaching.

Christina in the introduction states:

“When I started reading the primary sources available in the archives, the first thing that attracted me was how normal and ordinary she was. Other people who get to know her more deeply may single out her humility, her strength of character, or her joy. But what I found really striking was her ordinariness—giving the lie to the journalists’ truism that “dog bites man—no news; man bites dog—news.”

I had expected her letters and diaries to feature elaborately polite expressions, and elegant but dated turns of phrase. What I found was natural, straightforward communication. I felt that she could have been writing today, using email or WhatsApp. Her letters were clear and direct, with plenty of questions and affectionate little family details, as well as a good sense of humor; they were bursting with life.”

And the two phrases from these paragraphs that permeate the book are ‘how normal and ordinary she was’ … and ‘striking was her ordinariness’. Christina furthermore states:

“At the heart of her character there shone out two elements that seem irreconcilable to our current-day mindset: a sense of duty, commitment, what in conscience has to be done for God and other people; and the freedom to live life to the full, passionately, in a pioneering spirit. I set out to analyze the compound as formulated by Guadalupe.”

And that is what comes through from reading this book. We see a woman of letters of lived an ordinary life. She was a normal woman, living a normal life. But she lived that life with a sense of duty, and commitment to excellence in all she did. She did all as if she was doing it directly for God. And that is the call of the gospel to all of us. She lived to love, and that loved has left a lasting impact.

As stated earlier this book can serve as a challenge. For all of us who read it. But especially for women, to see a saintly life lived in ordinary work and play. I look forward to my own daughters being a little older and rereading this volume with them. This is an excellent read and I highly recommend it!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Other Books by or about Guadaupe Ortiz:

LETTERS TO A SAINT Letters from Guadalupe Ortiz to St Josemaria Escriva - Maria Del Rincón and  Maria Teresa Escobar 

Books by Cristina Abad Cadenas:
Guadalupe: The Freedom of Loving


In Spanish:
La libertad de amar (dBolsillo nº 890)


Books by Fr Jacques Philippe translated by Helena Scott:
Time For God
Interior Freedom
In the School of the Holy Spirit
The Way of Trust and Love: A Retreat Guided by St. Therese of Lisieux
Thirsting for Prayer

Other books and booklets translated by Helena Scott:
The Way of Humility: Corruption and Sin; On Self-Accusation - Jorge Bergoglio
It Is Worth While - Jose Maria Casciaro
The Prodigal Son - Georges Chevrot
In the Footprints of our Faith: A Journey Through the Holy Land - Jesus Gil and Eduardo Gil 
When the Moon Comes Out Africa Dances - Jose Luis Olaizola
Light in Architecture: The Intangible Material - Elisa Valer
The Man of Villa Tevere - Pilar Urbano
Guadalupe: The Freedom of Loving - Cristina Abad Cadenas

Author profile and interview with Helena Scott.

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