Jose Maria Garnica Hernandez, priest of Opus Dei numerary

A new world

Jose Maria Garnica Hernandez was born in Madrid on 17 November 1913, within a Christian family of good social position. The features of his childhood and adolescence are a young responsible and good Christian. “Chiqui” as many called him, he studied engineering in the specialty of Mines, with great intensity, obtaining first place (the fourth, second, third) in various promotions each year.
In autumn 1934, shortly after losing his father, who died that summer due to illness, he returned to Madrid. Began a decisive stage in their life. A companion course, Matthew Azúa, invited him to the residence DYA, an apostolic zeal of St. Josemaria.
At the residence arrangements were making materials, and Youth Day with his warmth and spontaneity invited him to collaborate:

– Men, Chiqui, very good! Now, take this hammer and some nails, and halloo!, A stuck up there.

That initial gesture of confidence liked and soon began to have spiritual direction with the Father, saying as the founder of Opus Dei, and incorporated into his life the Christian message of St. Josemaría: the sa0ntedat in everyday life through work.
Years later recalled this incident: “Then I discovered a new world power (…) I was meaning to take aim and Christian virtues, learning to deal with God to reach the concept of mother. And all that a slow but steady rise in Christian virtues. ”
Gradually, God was going with more intensity in his soul, until he discovered that he requested the delivery of its service life in Opus Dei. Fully answered God’s call to generosity on 28 July 1935.

Civil War

One year after the Spanish Civil War broke out and how many young generation, suffered many vicissitudes. On 10 November 1936 he was imprisoned in the Modelo prison, accused of indifference to the regime and sentenced to death by a kangaroo court. From there we took him in prison in San Antonio, which they took many by shooting indiscriminately.

An account of who knew him: “Maybe he suffered in prison during the Spanish Civil War left him like a seal engraved on the heart. Having seen death so close and safe, he probably open your eyes on the little that is all terrain. José Maria told us in meetings a few times: he was sentenced to death and had already climbed into the truck with all the others shot, when one of the jailers , said: “You, get off.

It was saved. All the others were shot. I think these experiences may have contributed to D. Jose Maria were all so off the ground and even their own lives. ”

In February 1937 he was transferred to a prison in Valencia, where they have completely incommunicado for several months until it was released in June.

But freedom did not reach the peace after working in Rodalquilar where he nearly died in an ambush, had to return to Valencia to join the Republican army. It was intended to transfer to Madrid in a deal without activity where he could find back to the founder of Opus Dei, who encouraged him in his plight.

When the war ended accused Jose Maria physically strong and sufferings of the prison front. St. Josemaría encouraged her to his letters, such as the 27.IV.1939:

“Chiqui beloved: you can deduct for your desires to me, to embrace and talk. If you need me, will soon travel even to the end of the world. You have the floor. Smile. After you (…), need now been redone. … Then you’ll see how to react and will work well! ”
In March 1940, more physically recovered, finished a brilliant career. Francisco Ponz remembered well the “High, apparently supplied although his health was not good, dark hair and broad forehead, eyes look alive and bright and sharp, it was nice and simple treatment. (…) S ‘I was good at his side, the sharpness of his thinking, the nobility of his heart and clarity of his words full of strong and deep affection. ” Defined as “a man loyal to every trial, he lived his vocation to Opus Dei with complete fidelity to the Lord and therefore subject to the founder and all the rest.”


“Those first years after the Spanish Civil War in which material had to start again from scratch explains Jose Maria-years were very hard to external circumstances in which we lived: the persecution of all, with such slander weighing on the Work, the lack of material resources. ”

In 1940 the founder had proposed the possibility of ordering up a priest and Jose Maria had responded with great generosity: “The Father had given us very clearly remember seeing the need for priests in the Works, which later came to the priesthood have lived in our own vocation, to help with his preaching-d ‘under the guidelines outlined by the Father to the formation of his brothers and to collaborate in their spiritual direction, especially through the sacrament of Penance. ”

He supported during that time his professional work with ecclesiastical studies, like del Portillo and José Luis Múzquiz, together with whom he was ordained priest by the Bishop of Madrid, Mgr. Leopoldo Eijo and the Garay 25 June 1944. It was the first sort of Opus Dei.

In the picture from left to right, Jose Luis Múzquiz died with a reputation for holiness: the Servant of God Jose Maria Garnica Hernandez; Saint Josemaria and the Servant of God Alvaro del Portillo, who has opened the canonization cause.

Since the beginning of his priestly work Hernández Garnica developed an extensive work of spiritual direction with people of all types, especially college students, focusing, following the directions of St. Josemaria in promoting, developing and training of Work with the tasks of women.

“The love of God José María Calvo-Dora recalls him to a special apostolic zeal. Constantly told us we had to bring souls to God in the world. The universality in the ministry will instill so strongly that I would say, why we see so natural to go on other countries to begin the task, as we were doing in those years. ”

From late 1954 to early months of 1955, made a long journey to America, to promote the progress of apostolate which had started years ago: United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and argentina. A few months later, he went to England and Ireland for the same purpose.

From 1957 to 1972 he was promoted in many European countries the beginnings of Opus Dei: France, Ireland, Germany, England, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, … The task of opening the way to open the message of Christ was very demanding tenacity and constantly address new problems: culture, language, apostolic work with people from other religions, food, etc.. Those who worked with him remember his unshakable faith in God and the assurance that with prayer, sacrifice and constant trickle apostolic fruits.

Verification of the few forces that have for the magnitude of the task of evangelization, not wearing the discouragement or despair. He emphasized himself in a meditation:

“If we want to be faithful to God’s call and make a continued and effective service, we must remember that the main action is God’s grace, but it is also indispensable instruments of action that makes the man their own action, human and God’s grace brings to supernatural. Such action requires some instrumental arrangements, training and docility to divine action. ”

This is confirmed by Dr. Steinkamp respect to Netherlands: “I had great faith in God. It was a constant trend in their conversations with us, we had faith in God.”

His love of God manifested in particular in the celebration of the Eucharist: “His love for the Mass-account Eileen Hourihan, and how much filling celebrated devotion. The way in which so devoutly kissed the altar just at the start, lets see who really was for him the appointment of the most important day. ”

“His love of God was visible when celebrating Mass, José Gabriel remembers the rich-.’s Distracting us concentrated on the words, read slowly with effort, as he tended to read very fast. I could read diagonally but stopped at Mass every pause and endeavored to pronounce each word. ”

Throughout Europe

St. Josemaría still relies on the generous and love to Opus Dei in many European countries.

“Your letter filled me comfort you said to see how St. Josemaria in helping me with your prayers and your sacrifice to bring Jesus makes our burden on my shoulders, and you know Although it is often very heavy. My heart fills with joy at the continuing manifestations of ardent zeal and vision of the supernatural are working with everyone. ”

Much of the apostolic work was done by European countries led him to meet and deal fraternally many Lutherans, Calvinists and Anglicans. With all of them immediately sought to create a current of sympathy and affection that came to friendship. He was aware that separated them in doctrinal matters, but also confident that only dialogue could create the necessary climate of mutual trust.

An open-minded and sympathetic priest

The social and cultural changes in Europe in the late 60s and were dramatically between 1966 and 1969, there was a real revolution in Europe, especially among young people. A little later, in Barcelona in 1972, Mr. Jose Maria walked into a school for boys.

The fashion of long hair had come to Spain with a little delay: “I remember perfectly, one professor recalled that accompanied a story in which is reflected as respect and defend freedom in the action and be all people. passejàvem A Sunday morning with Mr. José María another and that used to accompany me. We went together a little boy with a fairly long and not very populated and tended beard, which, in those years was not very frequent. What came with us said in jest that plan “myself to them, the Rapa zero and dry shaving.

At this time, D. Jose Maria not commented anything, but soon after he wrote his book because he could not speak for their disease, among my students asking if there was some guy with a beard or hair. Given my answer, somewhat vehemently, that “far,” she noted in her notebook: “This is tyranny” and add a comment about the respect we have for freedom and all the way to people, who had always defended the Father.

Said, without giving any importance, that if the work that had gone to other countries, particularly central Europe, had acted with the rigidity and lack of understanding, he could do nothing. ”

From his youth, the renal lesion, D. Jose Maria had a delicate health, and since 1970 his health began to deteriorate seriously. So many years of delivering unlimited brought with extraordinary good humor, began to pass bill to their bodies. Digón Alexander, who lived with him in Cologne, recalled: “José Maria did not enjoy a normal state of health due to various surgical operations they had done in the last period of his life, and cancer skin. However, while having a minimum of physical force is struggling to overcome exhaustion and fulfill the plan of life and the work plan of a normal way, which means heroic. It showed strength in l ‘drive with raised apostolic plans.

December 7, the eve of the Immaculate

While the disease has allowed him, he celebrated Mass with all possible anointing, praying for the needs of the Church worldwide, especially in Europe. “The joy to hear the good news of Holland wrote, is immense. You can see that the fire has begun to break and is matter of stress, not loosen, and continue asking the Lord through the intercession of Mother of God. ”

On March 22 he arise a very serious heart attack. After several surgeries he told the seriousness of their situation, which was received with great supernatural. These days, he received a letter from St. Josemaría:

“I received your last letter and I gave thanks to God for this new diagnosis, which makes me even more insistently ask your healing Lord and our Blessed Mother. I am also grateful to the Mother of God peace and l ‘abandonment that wants to remain in your soul. Keep it up, my son, that your problems are cries of prayer to Our Lord Jesus Christ this Holy Church her. ”

Fully aware of their state moved to Barcelona. The last months of his life were particularly painful since the physical point of view, but when asked how he was or if he slept well, answered with a smile “good” or “like roses”.

His greatest suffering was not able to celebrate Mass for his health, and then can not even take communion. He died on December 7, the eve of the Immaculate, with enviable peace and serenity, giving thanks for all the affection with which he had attended.

Since then many people come to ask God for their spiritual and material needs through their intercession.

José Carlos Martín de la Hoz, Postulator.

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