Opus Dei was founded by Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, a Spanish priest and author of The Way, which has sold more than 5 million copies in 50 languages. Both Escriva and Opus Dei are polarizing subjects in the Catholic Church. His beatification by Pope John Paul II (himself a controversial candidate for sainthood) stirred concerns of Escriva's support of the Franco regime in Spain and the fundamental practices of his organization. His mantra, "Blessed be pain. Loved be pain. Sacrified be paid...Glorified by pain!" (From: The Way, Josemaria Escriva) pretty much sums up his mission of work and sacrifice.
ODAN (Opus Dei Awareness Network) a group of former members of Opus Dei, makes tranparent some of the more disturbing aspects of Opus Dei's practices of corporal mortification for self sacrifice and atoning for sins, namely the daily use of the cilice and the weekly use of the discipline.
- Cilice: a spiked chain worn around the upper thigh for two hours each day leaving small prick holes in the flesh.
- Discipline: a cord-like whip used on the buttocks and back once a week.
All this done in secrecy, of course.
These handy devices can be purchased on the web at http://cilice.co.uk/. Prices range from $39.00 USD for the 1 mm silver cilice with a suede tie to $475.00 USD for the 3 link 2mm gauge full leg cilice of pure hand wrought silver. The "beautiful black leather" carrying case sells for $24.00 USD.
The disciplines range from $30.00 USD for the hemp piece with seven tails - one for each of the deadly sins- to $49.00 USD for the chain metal discipline hand made by Italian nuns.
Opus Dei is currently educating Catholic students at five schools in the United States: The Heights School and Oak Crest in Washington, D.C.; The Montrose School and Northridge Prep in Boston, MA and The Willows Academy in Chicago, IL
Rumor has it that Madonna, the icon of 80's rock, spent 90 minutes in the Opus Dei office; hopefully doing recon for her next project. One should be wary of a guy who preaches: "Deny yourself. It is so beautiful to be a victim." (from The Way, Josemaria Escriva)