Testimonies and Other Writings
The following is the work of the individual author and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Opus Dei Awareness Network, Inc.
“Whether or not to enroll a child into an Opus Dei school,” by Rodrigo Cedeño, Costa Rica.
This testimony was originally published in Spanish on the Opus Libros website, and has been translated by friends of ODAN and Opus Libros. The original article is “Sobre llevar o no a un niño a un colegio del Opus Dei.”
In Costa Rica, the men’s school is called Yorkin and my parents heard of it, not long after the school’s inauguration, thanks to a priest of “The Work” [nickname for Opus Dei]. Because I had recently finished my primary education, they thought I should take advantage of the benefits of prestige and quality that the school proclaimed. In addition, the spiritual formation seemed to them like the perfect complement to my future.
I have to clarify that my parents knew absolutely nothing about The Work; but they were always faithful to the Catholic Church and had distinguished themselves in their local parish and had participated in all of our extra-curricular activities as children.
Finally, they made the decision to register me into the school. I began to form a group of friends, got to know the staff, was assigned a “preceptor” (personal advisor associated with Opus Dei) and then in general I began my academic coursework with good grades.
Little by little, my profile was becoming suitable to be a numerary candidate. I realize that it has been some years since I looked at this subject from this perspective, but at that time I was very young and innocent.
At that time, I succeeded in ranking #2 academically in my class in very little time. (#1 is still in Opus Dei now.) I had a great ability to make friends; my parents enjoyed an exemplary marriage; my father was a successful businessman and my whole family was Catholic. These are the ingredients to give birth to a vocation to Opus Dei.
Like so many other testimonies that have been published on the internet, I became a member of Opus Dei at 14-1/2 years of age.
My parents’ house became a motel for me (I was only there to sleep), the fraternal relationship with my sister disappeared; my parents stopped being my friends and my world began to turn toward Escriva and his teachings.
Without a doubt, I recommend that people look for an alternative to Opus Dei schools. There are many prestigious schools where a child can dedicate himself or herself exclusively to study without having to see himself or herself in the crossroads of having to decide what he or she has to do with his or her life in the future. It is ridiculous that a young child be pressured to make such an important decision without having had enough life experience. And it is unjust that people with more life experience and preparation pressure a child psychologicall about such a decision in order not to lose the “grace.”
The “hook” of prestige is many times only the bait for the parents. The real reason these schools and colleges exist is to find candidates for the organization. All of those who do not fit the profile – the children of divorced parents, deficient students, the sick or disabled, those of a religion different from Catholic, or from a humble background – will pass through as the most neglected by the organization.
As I mentioned in the beginning, none of this did I imagine, dream or was told. I lived it many years while I was there and as a member, was a witness to it at the university. Logically, I could tell many more things with detail but I believe that this will be sufficient to give someone an idea.
November 16, 2003