and Other Writings
following is the work of the individual author and does not necessarily
reflect the views or opinions of the Opus Dei Awareness Network,
Was Shocked by Hidden Agendas Behind Opus Dei "Service Projects"
story was translated by an ODAN supporter and posted
on the www.opuslibros.com website. To
read the story in Spanish, click on
fines ocultos de los "Proyectos sociales" del Opus Dei.")
Tammy DiNicola, Former Numerary
Dei sponsors many types of service projects which at a peripheral
glance seem laudable and altruistic. Yet behind each and every
effort Opus Dei makes to serve underprivileged or needy individuals,
lies a secret motive - to recruit new members into Opus Dei.
As a numerary member of Opus Dei for 2-1/2 years, I have seen the
truth of this statement in practice. The following are stories
of my own experiences while still an Opus Dei member.
the summer of 1989, while still a numerary member of Opus Dei, I
was asked by an Opus Dei director to teach a computer class to high
school students from other countries. This program had been
advertised by Opus Dei as an opportunity for young girls to come
to the United States to learn English, computers and the "American
way of life," while touring Boston, MA and the surrounding
areas. Several of the girls who came had already been exposed
to Opus Dei in their native countries, but many had only limited
knowledge of Opus Dei.
a week after the girls arrived, I was told to attend a meeting with
all of the numerary members involved with the program. Initially,
I was shocked by the purpose of the meeting, but never verbalized
how I felt. One of the numeraries had a sheet of paper typed
up with the names of the girls attending the program. As each
name was called, different numeraries would relate how close the
girl was to joining Opus Dei, often making statements such as "she
went to confession" (with an Opus Dei priest); "she's
been going to daily mass"; "her sister is in Opus Dei,"
etc. Then a plan would be devised, written down and a numerary
would be chosen to carry it out. Some "plans" included
"I'll ask her to go to confession," "I'll talk to
her about joining Opus Dei," "I'll invite her to spiritual
reflecting about this incident in my life, I realize that at the
time I was very disturbed about this apparent abuse of privacy and
manipulation of friendship. Yet as a member of Opus Dei, I
had been taught that Opus Dei is perfect, and if there were any
doubts or problems, it was invariably my fault or a case of "bad
direction." I tried to "fit the mold" that
summer, but I felt terribly phony, and deep down I knew that what
I was doing was wrong. I felt sorry for many of the girls
who thought they were coming to learn English and have fun, but
instead were heavily pressured to conform to the Opus Dei way of
living. They were vulnerable, unsuspecting youth unable to
handle the intensity which was thrust upon them. There was
one girl in particular who was upset all the time, and who I believe
experienced a minor breakdown near the end of the program.
Many of the girls awaited anxiously the day of their departure.
that same summer, there were several other service projects which
other numeraries were undertaking. One of them was a day camp
for underprivileged children living in Roxbury/Dorchester (a poor
section of Boston). The emphasis and primary goal of the project
was to select "choice" college girls who could draw closer
to Opus Dei while teaching such things as crafts, athletics, math,
catechism or sewing to the underprivileged youth. Meetings
with the other numeraries, at which these "select" teachers
were constantly talked about, only served to emphasize this fact.
Providing the service to the underprivileged youth was only of secondary
the same way, other projects, such as the annual trip to Mexico
to help poor people, were primarily set up to find and cultivate
the people who would likely aspire to the ideals of Opus Dei and
the spring of 1990, I heard about an opening for an American to
go to Spain to teach English for the summer through an Opus Dei
program. Immediately I thought of my Spanish teacher at the
time (with whom I was friendly) who would jump at such an opportunity.
I mentioned this to the Opus Dei member who was in charge of all
the proselytism with youth in the United States. Her first
response was to ask whether the girl was close enough to Opus Dei
to join while in Spain. Apparently, this was an unstated qualification
for acceptance into the program as a teacher. Since my friend
was not close to Opus Dei, she was not even considered, though her
credentials were excellent for the opening.
I was very upset after this incident and knew deep down that something
was wrong. Unfortunately, because my mind was trapped in Opus
Dei, I was unable to follow the inner leadings of my buried conscience.
have all heard many times that the end does not justify the means.
No matter how much good Opus Dei projects may seem to do for needy
individuals, it is not right to use these projects as a means to
deceive and manipulate unsuspecting individuals. Jesus Christ
never healed the blind, the sick, the lame, the captives or the
repentant in order to recruit his Peters, Marys, Andrews, Johns
or Marthas; he did so as an outward showing of his love for those
he healed. Opus Dei has turned what seems to be good into
a self-serving affair which can deceive and harm many individuals.
Written June 10, 1993
to website May 13, 2002