Dora del Hoyo

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Dora del Hoyo Alonso
Born January 11, 1914
Boca de Huérgano, León
Died January 10, 2004
Rome,  Italy

Dora del Hoyo Alonso was born in Spain, in the town of Boca de Huérgano, on January 11, 1914. She died on January 10, 2004, in Rome, Italy. Her remains lie in the crypt of Our Lady of Peace, the church of the Prelature of Opus Dei,[1] close to the remains of Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, the founder of Opus Dei. At the time of her death she was considered by many to be a saint, and people all over the world pray to her intercession out of personal devotion.[2] She is currently being considered for canonization by the Roman Catholic Church.


Dora first came in contact with Opus Dei in 1944 in Madrid, at the age of 29. Employed as a domestic worker at the Moncloa Residence,[3] the first student residence of Opus Dei, she met Msgr. Josemaría Escrivá, who helped her to understand that she could seek holiness in her ordinary work, doing it with professional competence for God and as a means of serving others. While working at Moncloa she came to know that she was called to give her life to God as a member of Opus Dei.[4] She was the first woman to join Opus Dei with the specific intention of contributing, with her professional work of domestic service, to the fostering of a family atmosphere in Opus Dei centers, which provide Christian formation to people of all ages, professions, and background, including students, parents, young professionals and leaders in society.[5]

In December 1946 she moved to Rome at the request of the founder of Opus Dei. There, with other women, she took charge of the domestic management of the first Opus Dei center in the eternal city, a center which would later be the headquarters for a movement that was spreading across the globe. She remained there until her death, working with happiness, self-denial, and apostolic zeal. By her example and dedication Dora taught young women from all over the world, who like her had chosen the work of creating and caring for a home as their profession, how their work could be a means of encountering God, of growing in personal holiness, and of serving others. She loved to think that no task was in itself unimportant, that everything gained the value of the love with which it was done.

She was known for always carrying out her work with perfection, regardless of whether the task at hand was a humble one or one of great social prestige.[6] She worked in the presence of God, out of love for Him and for the others, always trying to create the sort of warm family atmosphere which she knew to be conducive to human and spiritual growth. According to Bishop Javier Echeverria, the Prelate of Opus Dei, “Dora was very important for Opus Dei, because of her faithfulness and her work well done, always with the humble desire to pass unnoticed, to ‘do and disappear.’ She took the Blessed Virgin Mary as her teacher, as Saint Josemaría had encouraged her, and because of this she was effective to the very end of her life. She wanted no glory or recognition, and she gave one hundred percent throughout her entire life.[7]

Dora del Hoyo was the first woman to join Opus Dei as a numerary assistant, meaning that she wanted to contribute with her work of domestic service to Opus Dei's mission of spreading the universal call to holiness.[8] According to those who knew her, she lived this vocation with fidelity until her death. Since then, many people have expressed their gratitude for the Christian example of Dora’s life. On March 29, 2014, a conmemorative ceremony took place in Dora's hometown of Boca de Huergano to honor the centennial of her birth.[9]

Process of Canonization[edit]

On June 18, 2012, Bishop Javier Echevarría presided at the opening of the canonical process on the life and virtues of Dora del Hoyo.[10] Bishop Jose Luis Gutierrez was named the postulator of Dora's Cause of Canonization. According to Bishop Gutierrez, "Presenting this kind of work as a path of holiness recognised by the Church will encourage the many faithful Christians who are enmeshed in the thousand circumstances of ordinary life and it is also a valuable contribution to the good of society."[10]


  1. ^ "Dora del Hoyo, first numerary assistant, dies". 28 February 2004. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Dora Del Hoyo". Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Sastre, Ana (April 2011). "De los Picos de Europa a la Ciudad del Tíber. Apuntes para una reseña biográfica de Dora del Hoyo" [From the Picos de Europa (Peaks of Europe) to the City of the Tiber. Notes for a Biographical Sketch of Dora del Hoyo]. Studia et Documenta 5: 261–284. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Medina Bayo, Javier (2011). Una Luz Encendida: Dora Del Hoyo (in Spanish). Madrid: Ediciones Palabra, S.A. p. 40. 
  5. ^ Oates, M.T.; Ruf, Linda; Driver, Jenny (2009). Women of Opus Dei: In Their Own Words. New York, NY: The Crossroad Publishing Company. pp. 25–29. 
  6. ^ ""Dora loved her job", Paula Assen´s testimony (Australia)" (Video). YouTube. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "Bishop Javier Echevarria, the Prelate of Opus Dei, talks about Dora". Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "Opus Dei: Its Mission, Structure and Members". Zenit. 6 October 2002. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  9. ^ Campos, Jose M (30 March 2014). "Un homenaje a Dora" (in Spanish). Diario de León. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "Cause of Canonisation Opened for Woman Who Sanctified Ordinary Work". Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese. 18 June 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  • Javier Medina Bayo, Dora del Hoyo: A Lighted Lamp (Scepter: 2014) Translation of Una Luz Encendida (Ed. Palabra, Madrid 2011).
  • M.T.Oates, Linda Ruf, and Jenny Driver, MD. Women of Opus Dei: In Their Own Words (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2009)

External links[edit]