A doctor, a professor, a dancer, a stay-at-home mom, and a marketing executive are some of the inspiring women portrayed in this collection that describes the women of Opus Dei, a Roman Catholic organization composed of clergy and lay members dedicated to fostering Christian principles at all levels of society. Each essay, interview, and profile in this compilation explores facets of Opus Dei that are unfamiliar to many. The DaVinci Code and other popular entertainments have whetted the interest in this controversial organization, and promulgated many assumptions that members of the organization contest. The women portrayed in this collection encompass an inspiring—and, for some, surprising—segment of an order that encourages women around the globe to develop their skills and talents to the fullest and to be engaged in the world. Single, celibate women and those raising families describe their first encounters with Opus Dei, what made them decide to join, and how it transforms and orders their daily lives. Relevant information on the organization and workings of Opus Dei, its structure, and some of the key practices of the members are also discussed.
About the editors - M. T. Oates is a writer and communications consultant. Her writings have appeared in numerous publications including The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, and The Washington Times. She lives in New York City. Linda Ruf is a certified public accountant and an authority on The Da Vinci Code as it relates to the teachings of the Catholic Church and Opus Dei. She lives in Washington, DC. Jenny Driver, MD, is a staff physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
"Perhaps no part of contemporary Roman Catholicism has been more misunderstood and misconstrued than has Opus Dei, especially in the days since the publication of the popular bestseller, The DaVinci Code. This collection of interviews and autobiographical statements, by contrast, offers its readers not only a sympathetic, but also a very informative, presentation of the prelature and is to be highly recommended to those who are interested in this influential organization." —Phyllis Tickle, author, The Divine Hours
"I loved these women! From changing diapers, to Harvard medical internships, to the top of a Tibetan mountain, they show all women how to confront the ordinary circumstances of life with extraordinary joy. Whether former atheists or cradle-Catholics, they have discovered a path that will inspire any woman who longs for a deeper way to deal with her days." —Delia Gallagher, Vatican analyst and former CNN faith and values correspondent
"I always approach anything about Opus Dei with trepidation, because there is so much misinformation in the press and in the minds of Catholics themselves about it. I began to read this book with the same caution that I have grown accustomed to. One of the misconceptions about Opus Dei is that it is made up of elite professionals who practice extreme mortification. Another is that the organization is steeped in secrecy, an impression advanced by the works of Dan Brown. This book goes a long way toward debunking these misconceptions.
Each chapter of the book is an interview with a female member of Opus Dei. A member is one who has a vocation as either a celibate numerary, a super-numerary who is married, or a numerary assistant. The celibate numeraries are free to go wherever the Work (as Opus Dei is referred to by the members) needs them. They are college presidents, center directors, teachers, doctors, etc. In short, they use their professional skills where needed around the world. Super-numeraries are most often married members who are raising families. Some, in addition, have professions in additions to their call to marry and raise families. Numerary assistants are women who have been called to use their professional skills in hospitality. That is, they work in centers of Opus Dei and practice all the skills required in making a home for other members. Their work is truly professional as they create the living environment not only for the priests and other celibate members, but also for those people who attend retreats and others who live in centers while students at local universities. They are paid good salaries, have health benefits and generous annual vacations.
Opus Dei emphasizes doing everything with a supernatural outlook, that is for love of God and others. It teaches that we are called to be holy in whatever vocation we are called to. The stories shared by the women who were interviewed reflect the way they travel this road to holiness. Some are professional women, being doctors, professors, CEOs, while others are full-time wives and mothers. They explain how they accomplish their spiritual practices in the midst of their busy lives. Another insight into their lives is their effort to do everything well. Work poorly done is not a fit offering to God, so there is an emphasis on approaching every task with the intention of doing it well.
One feature of the book is the set-apart definitions of terms. This is helpful for those who are not familiar with the Catholic Church or Opus Dei. The book is in an interview format, so it is easy to read while being filled with interesting information.
For anybody seeking to know more about Opus Dei, this book is a valuable resource. The interviewees are happy in their vocations and speak freely about the spiritual practices they follow. I recommend it without hesitation to the skeptics as well as to those who just want to know more about this organization that periodically finds itself in the headlines because of books or movies which totally misrepresent it." Fran Rutherford, Catholic author and educator
I always approach anything about Opus Dei with trepidation, because there is so much misinformation in the press and in the minds of Catholics themselves about it. I began to read this book with the same caution that I have grown accustomed to. One of the misconceptions about Opus Dei is that it is made up of elite professionals who practice extreme mortification. Another is that the organization is steeped in secrecy, an impression advanced by the works of Dan Brown. This book goes a long way toward debunking these misconceptions.
Each chapter of the book is an interview with a female member of Opus Dei. A member is one who has a vocation as either a celibate numerary, a super-numerary who is married, or a numerary assistant. The celibate numeraries are free to go wherever the Work (as Opus Dei is referred to by the members) needs them. Full Review...
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