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Adolescent girl on path to sainthood

Vatican today affirmed heroic virtues of the teenage Spanish Opus Dei member Montserrat Grases aka Montse

The cause of Beatification of an adolescent girl who bore painful cancer with extraordinary Faith has taken a significant step forward. Montserrat Grases, known as Montse, could soon be inspiring other teenagers after a Vatican declaration today has affirmed her heroic virtues. Montse would be the first Opus Dei lay person, and first woman of the prelature, to be Beatified.

Montse, who died in 1959 aged 17, was a lively, cheerful girl who was born into a devout Catholic family in Barcelona, Spain.

The second of nine children, her parents helped her to develop a trusting relationship with God and, in 1954, she began to attend a centre of Opus Dei. Aged 16, she began to feel that God was calling her to follow him in Opus Dei and after praying and taking advice she asked to be admitted into the Prelature as a celibate lay member. Shortly before turning 17, after returning from a skiing trip, she was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma. The fatal cancer lasted nine months, causing her very intense pain which she bore with serenity and strength. Montse (above) brought many of her friends and classmates closer to God and found deep union with Christ and his Mother through her suffering.

The Archbishop of Barcelona opened the cause to investigate her life in 1962, four years after her death. On February 22, 1974, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints issued the decree on writings, and on May 15, 1992, the decree of validity of the process. Between June 10 and October 28 of 1993, a diocesan investigation took place to add new documents to the process. The Positio was submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in December 1999, to be studied for a proposal to the Vatican to authorize a declaration on her life and virtues. Today the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has declared the heroicity of her virtues, in a decree confirmed Pope Francis. A miracle is now needed for her to be Beatified but many already seek and have obtained her intercession for small and larger favours. It is hoped that, should she be Canonised, she can be a powerful intercessor and model for teenagers.

Mgr Javier Echevarria, the Prelate of Opus Dei, has welcomed the news pointing out how Montse ‘corresponded to God’s love at an early age and sought to be pious, and to work well with a spirit of service, forgetting about herself.’

“It is my hope that Montse’s example will continue to inspire many young women and men to embrace a life of generous self-giving to the Lord in marriage, apostolic celibacy, the religious life, or the priesthood,” Mgr Echevarria said.

The founder of Opus Dei, St Josemaria Escriva, was Canonised in 2002 and his long-time collaborator and first successor at the head of Opus Dei, Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, was Beatified in 2015.

 

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