By Olga Marlin
One of the young men who accompanied St. Josemaría Escrivá on his escape to freedom during the Spanish Civil War was Tomás Alvira. He wished to follow the founder of Opus Dei in a life of apostolic dedication, but as a married, rather than a single, person. St. Josemaría advised him to wait and, at the right time, he could become part of Opus Dei as well as be a family man with wife and children, which happened within 10 years.
This is the story of the life and adventures of Tomás and his wife Paquita, who raised a large family and whose cause of holiness is now progressing through the approval process of the Catholic Church
Olga Marlin (New York, 1934) studied in Trinity College Dublin where she obtained an M.A. with a view to becoming a teacher. While there, she met and joined Opus Dei in 1955. In 1957 she studied in Rome for an academic year, where she interacted with the Founder on a number of occasions. In 1960 Josemaría Escrivá invited Olga to join the first group of women going to Africa to start the Work in Kenya. They founded Kianda College in 1961, followed by other initiatives which Olga relates in her book To Africa with a Dream (2002). In 2011 Olga was awarded a D. Litt. (Honoris Causa) by Strathmore University.
This important step forward in the beatification process of your parents was also a reason of great joy for me. . . . This truth of authentic marriage and family as an image of God himself, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, needs to be emphasized more than ever today.
—Cardinal Antonio Rouco, Archbishop of Madrid, to the Alvira family,
after opening the diocesan phase of the Cause of Canonization
of their parents, 19 February 2009.
This is the story of a couple who were neither “simply normal” nor “purely wonderful,” but who were wonderfully normal. . . . This was the “essential” in the lives of Paquita and Tomás, with an important nuance: the manner in which they translated this wonderful naturalness to their marriage relationship and to the relationships with their children.
—Dr. Rafael Alvira, son of Paquita and Tomás, and philosophy
professor Emeritus of the University of Navarre.