God and Daring: The Life of St. Josemaria Escriva
The Catholic religious organization Opus Dei has long been a subject of public fascination. Its supporters say that it has reinvigorated Catholicism, by showing ordinary men and women how they can achieve holiness in their everyday lives.
Its members—some 90,000 men and women in 66 countries—say that Opus Dei enables them to deepen their spirituality while remaining fully engaged with the world around them. In 2002, Pope John Paul II declared the group’s founder, the Spanish priest Josemaria Escriva, to be a saint.
But Opus Dei (which is Latin for “the work of God”) has also been a lightning rod for controversy. It’s been accused of being ultra-secretive, highly influential, and overzealous in its recruiting practices. Fanning the flames of these controversies was Dan Brown’s bestselling 2003 book, The Da Vinci Code, and the movie based on it, both of which painted a frightening picture of Opus Dei.
Over the past decade, the leaders of Opus Dei have made substantial efforts to be more open with the public and the media—to help separate fiction from fact. As part of that effort, they have agreed—for the first time ever—to co-operate with a team of independent documentary filmmakers who are making—with complete editorial independence—a biographical documentary about Opus Dei’s founder.
We will walk the streets he walked; see the sacred objects he saw; hear the prayers he spoke. And importantly there are many still alive—including nearly fifty we have met and spoken with—who knew the future saint during the course of his long career. Furthermore, Escriva was one of the first Catholic saints whose personality and teachings were captured on sound film. We will draw extensively on color footage of his appearances during the 1970s before enthusiastic crowds in Europe and Latin America that capture his message, charisma and surprising sense of humor.
God and Daring: The Life of St. Josemaria Escriva will be a 90-minute documentary intended for national broadcast on PBS, as well as distribution to foreign television, schools, churches and community groups.