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Miracle approved, beatification looms for 1st prelate of Opus Dei and for Spanish religious foundress

Catholic World News - July 05, 2013

The Vatican has approved a miracle attributed to the influence of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, the former prelate of Opus Dei, and for Mother Esperanza de Jesus (born Josefa Alhama Valera), the Spanish founder of the Handmaids and Sons of Merciful Love, fulfilling the requirements for their beatification.

The public announcement of the decrees attesting to the two miracles was largely overshadowed by the simultaneous announcement of the pending canonizations of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII. (See the today’s separate CWN headline story.)

In other decrees released on July 5, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints proclaimed the martyrdom of 42 people who were killed during the Spanish civil war, and are now eligible for beatification. The Congregation also testified to the “heroic virtue” of 5 people, who will now be eligible for beatification if a miracle is attributed to their influence.

Bishop Alvaro del Portillo joined Opus Dei in 1935, becoming one of the earliest members of the lay movement founded by Msgr. Josemaria Escriva—who was himself canonized in 2002. Ordained to the priesthood in 1944, then-Father del Portillo was a peritus during the Second Vatican Council, and eventually succeeded St. Josemaria as the leader of Opus Dei in 1975. In 1982, after making Opus Dei the first “personal prelature” in the Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II consecrated him as a bishop. Bishop del Portillo died in 1994.

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