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 seek her intercession from Heaven.


Dora first came in contact with Opus Dei in 1944 in Madrid, at the age of 29. Employed as a domestic worker in Moncloa,[2] the first student dormitory 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. 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 the Centers of Opus Dei, places of Christian formation which could otherwise have acquired an institutional atmosphere.

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, the headquarters for a movement which 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.[3]

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. 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. “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.[4]

Dora del Hoyo was the first woman to join Opus Dei as a numerary assistant, and she lived this vocation with fidelity until her death. Since her death, many people have expressed their gratitude for the Christian example of Dora’s life. On June 18, Bishop Javier Echevarría presided at the opening of the canonical process on the life and virtues of Dora del Hoyo.


  1. ^ Opus Dei Official site
  2. ^ Ana Sastre, De los Picos de Europa a la Ciudad del Tíber. Apuntes para una reseña biográfica de Dora del Hoyo.
  3. ^ Josemaria Escriva, Furrow, 487.
  4. ^ Bishop Javier Echevarria, Prelate of Opus Dei
  • John L. Allen, Opus Dei: An Objective Look Behind the Myths and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church (Doubleday: 2005)