biography

Biographical Summary

Jose Maria Hernandez Garnica was born in Madrid on 17 November 1913. He gained three doctorates: in Mining Engineering, Natural Science, and Theology.

He joined Opus Dei on 28 July 1935. He died in Barcelona on December 7, 1972.

He responded generously to God’s specific call, and his life, which centered on the Eucharist, was fruitful in apostolate. He was always deeply united to St. Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, who had great confidence in him.

He had great talents on the human level, which he was moved by God to put at the service of the Church and everyone he met. His simple humility and extraordinary sincerity and openness made him a very attractive character, while he always saw himself as there to serve everyone.

On June 25, 1944, he was ordained a priest. Saint Josemaria gave him the job of fostering Opus Dei’s apostolate among women in Spain, which he combined with abundant priestly ministry.
Later, he went to several countries in Europe to do pastoral work there. He worked in England, Ireland, France, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Holland.
He sanctified himself in his daily work and priestly ministry, with great generosity. He learned several languages, adapted to different environments and cultures, and faced up to all kinds of discomfort in the countries where Opus Dei’s apostolate was just starting up.

He endured several illnesses with great patience and spirit of sacrifice, and especially his final sickness, which lasted over a year. God chose to take him to Himself on the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 1972, while he was praying.

Timeline

1913

November 17. Jose Maria Hernandez Garnica is born in Madrid. He is the youngest of five children. Baptized in Saint Joseph’s Church.

1921

Jose Maria makes his First Holy Communion, with his classmates from Our Lady of Pilar School, in the Church of the Immaculate Conception.

1923

Starts high school, also at Our Lady of Pilar School.

1932

Starts studying for a Mining Engineering degree.

1934

Meets St. Josemaria Escriva in the student’s hall of residence at 50 Ferraz Street, Madrid.

1935

July 28, asks for admission to Opus Dei.

1936

November. Is arrested and taken to the Madrid Model Prison. Moved to San Antonio Prison, then sentenced to death. On 27th, when he is about to be executed, news comes that his case has been remitted to the President of the Court forthe Repression of Fascism. This court and judge sentence him to eight months’ imprisonment for disaffection for the regime. Jose Maria is sent to San Miguel de los Reyes Prison and then Valencia Model Prison.

1937

June 30. Released from prison.

August 21. Returns to Madrid and joins the Republican army.

1939

September. Sits examinations for several of the subjects in Mining and Natural Sciences at the Universidad Central, Madrid.

1941

May 7. Is awarded his Mining Engineering degree.

1944

April 24. Is awarded a Ph.D. in Natural Sciences.

June 25. Ordained a priest in the Episcopal Palace in Madrid by Bishop Leopoldo Eijo y Garay.

1954

November 23. The founder of Opus Dei, St. Josemaria Escriva, gives him the job of helping promote Opus Dei’s apostolate in the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina.

1955

August 29. Fr Jose Maria receives the same task for the apostolate in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

1957

July 13. Appointed Counsellor of Opus Dei in France.

1959

November 14. Travels to Germany to promote the apostolate there.

1961

October 4. Moves to Germany, from where he frequently travels to Austria.

1965

December 1. Sent by the founder of Opus Dei to Barcelona, Spain, to promote the apostolic work in Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands.

1966

February. Returns to Germany. Makes frequent trips to Belgium, Holland and Switzerland.

1972

September 4. Diagnosed with a tumor in the submaxillary region (cancer of the throat).

September 20. Moved to Barcelona for radiotherapy.

November 22. Saint Josemaria Escriva, who is spending some days in Barcelona, goes to visit him; this is the last time they see each other.

December 7. Requests the Anointing of the Sick after suffering a hemorrhage. Receives sacramental absolution and the Anointing of the Sick while still fully conscious. Shortly afterwards he dies.

His funeral is attended by large numbers of people.

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