"Faith lived daily" – Opus Dei in Quebec
France Marcotte, supernumerary
What the spirit of Opus Dei has contributed to our family is unity. Unity within our family, unity in our lives. Living unity of life means making the effort to always be the same person when I am at my job or with my family… Thinking about this concept of unity of life has helped me a lot.
Hélène Rivest, director of Trimar Cultural Center (Quebec)
The mission of Opus Dei is to collaborate with the work of Evangelization carried out by the Church, recalling that everyone is called to holiness, as the Second Vatican Council proclaimed. It means helping everyone to be coherent with their faith in their everyday life.
In Opus Dei, I have found practical tips to sanctify my ordinary life. This is what attracted me. You learn that you don’t have to be an exceptional person to grow closer to God, because we are all called to love God, in our work, whatever the situation might be. One doesn’t have to leave behind normal life to get closer to God, to do things for love.
One doesn’t have to leave behind normal life to get closer to God, to do things for love.
Pierre Bégin, France’s husband
Our children have received formation through Opus Dei; I am not a member, but you could say that I “sympathize” with it. I’ve attended classes of formation and spiritual retreats. So have my children, perhaps more regularly than I have. I see that it helps them a lot, especially the boys. It helps them in difficult moments in their faith, and it helps them to go against the current, among their peers. This gets reflected on the outside. For example, our eldest daughter, who lives in Europe, expresses the joy of the faith through music. She manages to transmit the inner beauty that she possesses. Because of her personality, she is always joyful, she is always surrounded by friends, because she has this something special due to her faith.
In 1928, while on a spiritual retreat in Madrid, saint Josemaría saw Opus Dei, that is, he received a light from God that made him understand that we can all be saints in the middle of the world. Although this is not a new message – it’s already contained in the Gospel, he understood that God wanted him to start an institution, and that he be the bearer of a message. The mission of Opus Dei is directed toward all the baptized. Just like the Church, its message is universal, directed to all men of good will who wish to give the best of themselves in daily life.
“You know that “operatio Dei” means work of God. It means bringing people to sanctify themselves in the middle of the street. To say: to those with a religious vocation, they have the obligation to become holy. And priests, to be holy priests. But, everybody else? Yes, everybody else also! It’s very comfortable to say no! Our Lord says has told everyone that we be holy, perfect as His Heavenly Father. but to you, and to that one there, and to this one also… to everyone! This is what Opus Dei has come to say.”
Fr. Denis Saint-Maurice, priest
Here, in Canada, Opus Dei began in 1957; in 1962, in Montreal; in 1964, in Quebec. The message began to spread among universtiy students living here. The idea is that Opus Dei – as the Founder used to say – needs to help spread joy and light. Helping believers to smile, to transmit peace and joy, which are signs of the Resurrection. To be capable of forgiving, to offer mercy, there’s so much to say about this now that we have dedicated a whole year to mercy! And this has to be translated into deeds in the life of believers: How is living mercy and faith possible? Well, by forgiving others in our daily life.
There is a formation that is, let’s say, more human. For example, sometimes we organize classes for women about balancing work and family, a common concern for many women. For young girls, we also do workshops or discussions with a guest speaker who can present on a topic of interest: for example, on euthanasia, which is definitely a problem for society. Or we talk about hot topics, and how to live the faith in daily life, providing them with the tools so that later on, they can freely decide how to live their lives, and how to give witness to their faith and to what they carry in their heart.
Marie Saint-Onge, a cooperator of Opus Dei
The Work – and I think this is what I like about it – helps you in your daily life. I can say that I believe because I’ve decided to go to mass everyday, and then what I do during the day, I offer to God. And I think of Him: “Thank you, Lord, for this and for that.” The Work has helped me to place good foundations in my life. To put my feet on the ground and to perceive what is really important. And then life revolves around those things. This has helped me in the past and it continues to help me now.
Vincent Breton, student at Boisgomin residence
We come here once a month, to help prepare food on Sunday morning, and to prepare the meals for the following day. So we have to make large quantities of food! It’s really nice to come here, to be with them, because they give so much. If we can help them in this way, if we can show them a bit of love… we do it.
The Work has helped me to cultivate a desire to do things well.
What I’ve learned in Opus Dei is that we have received much, and we also count on a lot of grace. The idea is to put all the talents we have received at the service of others. So the Work has helped me to cultivate a desire to do things well. Because the Founder of Opus Dei, Saint Josemaría, had this message that all of us can become saints in our daily lives, doing our day-to-day tasks well.
The Work has helped me to develop my interior life, to draw closer to God. In this way, it has prepared me to face the difficulties of my life. We lost a child, and then one of our sons has a heart problem, and our youngest daughter now has Lyme disease. The last two years she has had this problem. Developing an interior life has helped us to be stronger, to have more clarity when making decisions.
Fr. Denis Saint-Maurice, priest
The essence of Opus Dei is that each person needs to be 100% immersed in their work, in fulfilling their duties. Once you have this determination in your work, on your path, you realize that you are not in it alone, because Christ is with you, and you need to identify yourself with Him. You will imitate Him, getting to know Him in your prayer, trying to reproduce his life, working with a smile although it’s difficult to smile, serving the others even when you are tired, thinking of the others around us, in their interests before our own, doing our work well.
Can a guy who works in a restaurant make his life a service to others? Yes – if he works well, he can sanctify himself and do a lot of good for the world; and a woman who takes care of her home? Her too! We don’t need to seek a distant salvation, when it is at our finger tips.
The Lord said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is in your midst.” Opus Dei says: it’s there, in your family, in your work, with your friends… Opus Dei helps make Christ present in your life, always.