1928. On October 2, while on a spiritual retreat in Madrid, St. Josemaría Escrivá, under divine inspiration, founded Opus Dei as a way of
sanctification for people from all walks of life, in their daily work and the fulfilment of their ordinary duties as Christians. The name “Opus
Dei” came later and was not used until the early 1930’s. However, from the outset, in his writings and conversations about what God was asking of
him, he would talk of the Work of God.
St. Josemaria with Bishop Eijo y Garay of Madrid
1930. On February 14 in Madrid, while celebrating Mass, St. Josemaría saw that God meant Opus Dei to include women as well as men.
1933. The first center of Opus Dei was opened in Madrid: the DYA Academy, mainly for students, where classes in law and architecture were given.
1934. DYA became a residence for college students. From that base the founder and the first members offered Christian formation, and spread the
message of Opus Dei among young people. An important aspect of this work was the teaching of the Catholic faith to children, and looking after the
poor and sick in the outlying neighbourhoods of Madrid. Fr. Josemaría made his activity known at all times to the bishop of Madrid, who from the very
beginning granted his approval and blessing. Consideraciones espirituales, the forerunner of The Way, was published.
1936. The Spanish Civil War: religious persecution was unleashed and Fr. Josemaría was obliged to hide in various different places. This interruption
of his apostolic work temporarily delayed the plans of the founder to expand the apostolic work of Opus Dei to other countries.
1937. The founder and some members of Opus Dei completed a harrowing escape over the Pyrenees through Andorra and made their way to an area where the
Church was not being persecuted (Burgos).
1938. Renewal of apostolic work in Burgos, Spain.
1939. Fr. Josemaría returned to Madrid. Expansion of Opus Dei to other Spanish cities. The beginning of World War II prevented expansion to other
1941. On March 19, the bishop of Madrid, Leopoldo Eijo y Garay, granted the first diocesan approval of Opus Dei.
The founder of Opus Dei (middle back row) in a photo taken after the escape into Andorra
1943. On February 14, again during Mass, God let Fr. Josemaría see the juridical solution that would enable priests to be ordained for Opus Dei: the
Priestly Society of the Holy Cross.
1944. On June 25, the bishop of Madrid ordained three members of Opus Dei as priests: Alvaro del Portillo, José María Hernández de Garnica, and
José Luis Múzquiz.
1946. The founder of Opus Dei moved to Rome. In the years that followed, he would travel from Rome throughout Europe to prepare the beginnings of the
work of Opus Dei in several different countries.
1947. On February 24, the Holy See granted the first pontifical approval.
1948. On June 29, the founder established the Roman College of the Holy Cross, where from that time on, numerous members of Opus Dei would study and
receive a deep spiritual and pastoral formation, while taking courses at various pontifical teaching establishments in Rome.
1950. On June 16, Pius XII granted the definitive approval to Opus Dei. This approval enabled married people to join Opus Dei, and secular clergy to
be admitted to the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross.
1952. The University of Navarre was begun at Pamplona, Spain.
1953. On December 12, the Roman College of Our Lady was established to provide an intense spiritual, theological and apostolic formation for women of
Opus Dei from all over the world.
The founder of Opus Dei with the first three members who were ordained priests
1957. The Holy See entrusted the prelature of Yauyos, a mountainous region of Peru, to Opus Dei.
1965. On November 21, Paul VI inaugurated the ELIS Center, a vocational training center for young people located in an industrial sector of Rome,
together with a parish entrusted to Opus Dei by the Holy See.
1969. A special general congress of Opus Dei met in Rome to study the change of Opus Dei’s legal status in the Church to that of a personal
prelature, a juridical structure introduced by the Second Vatican Council and ideally suited to the pastoral characteristics of Opus Dei.
1970. The founder of Opus Dei travelled to Mexico. He prayed for nine days at the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and addressed large groups of
people on topics affecting their Christian life. This was the first of what he called his catechetical journeys.
1972. Msgr. Josemaría Escrivá traveled throughout Spain and Portugal on a catechetical journey lasting two months.
1974. Catechetical journey of the founder to six South American countries: Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela.
1975. Catechetical journey of the founder to Venezuela and Guatemala.
On June 26, Josemaría Escrivá died in Rome. Some 60,000 people belonged to Opus Dei at that time.
March 19, 1983 at S. Eugenio's Church
On July 7, the new shrine of Our Lady of Torreciudad was inaugurated in Huesca, Spain.
On September 15, Alvaro del Portillo was elected to succeed the founder at a congress of Opus Dei members called for that purpose, as required by
1982. On November 28, John Paul II established Opus Dei as a personal prelature, a juridical structure more accurately reflecting Opus Dei’s
theological and pastoral nature, and appointed Mgr. Alvaro del Portillo as prelate.
1983. On March 19, the apostolic constitution establishing Opus Dei as a personal prelature was formally executed.
1985. Inauguration of the Roman Academic Centre of the Holy Cross, which in 1998 would become the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.
1991. On January 6, John Paul II ordained Mgr. Alvaro del Portillo as bishop.
1992. On May 17, the Holy Father beatified Josemaría Escrivá in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.
On March 23, Bishop Alvaro del Portillo in Rome died hours after his return from a trip to the Holy Land.
On April 20, Msgr. Javier Echevarría was appointed as prelate of Opus Dei by John Paul II, confirming the election carried out by the general
elective congress held in Rome.
1995. On January 6, Msgr. Javier Echevarría was ordained bishop by John Paul II.
2002. On October 6, St. Josemaría Escrivá was canonized in St. Peter's Square by Pope John Paul II.
Dates on which Opus Dei began its work in different countries
1946 Portugal, Italy, Great Britain
1947 France, Ireland
1949 Mexico, United States
1950 Chile, Argentina
1951 Colombia, Venezuela
1953 Guatemala, Peru
1956 Uruguay, Switzerland
1957 Brazil, Austria, Canada
1958 Japan, Kenya, El Salvador
1959 Costa Rica
1965 Belgium, Nigeria
1969 Puerto Rico
1980 Congo, Ivory Coast, Honduras
1981 Hong Kong
1983 Trinidad and Tobago
1988 Cameroon, Dominican Republic
1989 Macao, New Zealand, Poland
1990 Hungary, Czech Republic
1993 India, Israel
1996 Estonia, Slovakia, Lebanon, Panama, Uganda
1998 South Africa
2003 Slovenia, Croatia
hope that helps