Saint Josemaria Escriva

The inspiration behind Montgrove

Josemaria Escriva was born in Barbastro in Spain in 1902. As a teenager he had the conviction that God was asking something special of him and so he decided to study for the priesthood. He was ordained in 1926. During a retreat he was attending, on 2 October 1928, he received a vivid and wholly supernatural understanding from God in his soul that he should found Opus Dei. The name means “Work of God”. Opus Dei’s mission is to promote among men and women of all walks of life a profound awareness of the universal call to holiness, that all Christians have been called by God to make the Gospel known and to seek holiness in and through their daily work, family life and social relations. Opus Dei’s members come from all backgrounds and occupations. About 98% are lay men and women, most of whom are married. In 1982 Pope John Paul II established Opus Dei as a prelature of the Catholic Church. Josemaria Escriva was beatified by the Pope in 1992 and canonised in a ceremony in front of some 250,000 persons in St Peter’s Square in 2002.

Saint Josemaria on Family and Education

In line with Catholic teaching and indeed common sense Saint Josemaria Escriva taught that parents have a duty to oversee the education of their children. He taught that schools are primarily a support for parents who are the primary educators and that parents should work in active cooperation with the schools their children attended. These teachings have now inspired the development of over 150 schools across dozens of countries, the first of which opened their doors in the early 1950s.

Opus Dei began in Australia in 1963 when Sydney’s Cardinal Gilroy invited Saint Josemaria to open a residential college on the campus of the University of NSW. In 1980 a group of parents and teachers, some of whom were members of Opus Dei, set up the Parents for Education Foundation with a view to starting schools that could work in close support of parents. In 1982 Tangara School for Girls started with 17 girls, and in 1986, Redfield began. Following a request of the Board of PARED, Opus Dei appointed a priest of the Prelature as a chaplain to each school; in all other aspects the schools are the responsibilities of the Board of PARED or their own administrations. The schools remain the full responsibility and initiative of the parents.

The tutorial system

The tutorial system, largely as it operates in Montgrove today, commenced in the 1950s in a school called Gaztelueta in Bilbao, Spain, at the suggestion of Saint Josemaria. He recommended that the school be structured so that each boy could talk regularly with one of the teachers, and that the teacher should be a good friend of the parents of the boy.

 “...I would also encourage them (the boys) to speak with their tutor, who keeps a professional silence, and can help them in many ways: spiritually, psychologically, materially..."

Some key ideas in the teaching of Saint Josemaria Escriva (full article)