HomeDocumentationHistorical NotesWhat sort of childhood did Josemaria Escriva have?
Historical Notes

What sort of childhood did Josemaria Escriva have?

Tags: Barbastro, The Escriva family, Logroño, Josemaria Escriva
View from the interior of the house where Josemaria Escriva was born
View from the interior of the house where Josemaria Escriva was born
Josemaria’s home town was Barbastro, a small but prosperous city with its own cathedral, in the north-east of Spain. Although at that time, in the first decade of the twentieth century, much of Spain was suffering the effects of the loss of its overseas colonies, Barbastro’s population of agricultural smallholders and local traders were, in general, untouched by these circumstances.

Writing in 1931, Josemaria dwelt with obvious pleasure on some childhood memories, of a time when his closely united, devout family practised their faith publicly, and wove it into their daily lives: “I remember those fair days of my childhood: the cathedral, which was so ugly on the outside and so beautiful within, like the heart of that land – good, Christian, and loyal – hidden under the rough exterior of the Aragonese peasant. (…)

“My mother, my father, my sisters, and I always went to Mass together. My father would give us some pennies that we happily gave to the disabled man who leaned against the wall of the bishop’s house. After that, I went on ahead to get holy water to give to my family.” (This refers to the custom, practised in many countries, of dipping one’s hand in the holy water and then, by touching their fingers, passing it along to friends or relatives entering the church in their turn.)
“Then, Holy Mass. Afterwards, every Sunday, in the chapel of the Christ of the Miracles, we prayed the Creed.
And on the feast of the Assumption, as I’ve already mentioned, it was customary to venerate the statue of the Blessed Virgin in the Cathedral.”
(See Andres Vazquez de Prada, The Founder of Opus Dei, vol. 1, chapter 1, p. 23.)