ODAN – Testimonies and Other Writings

Testimonies and Other Writings

Send us your storiesMany people are moved to share their stories about how they have been deeply hurt by Opus Dei. Former numerary members, numerary assistants, supernumeraries, acquaintances and children of supernumeraries describe how they were abused mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually by Opus Dei. They all feel betrayed by Opus Dei, and their consciences implore them to tell their stories.

The following testimonies and writings express the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Opus Dei Awareness Network, Inc.


“Joining Opus Dei” by Tammy A. DiNicola

Opus Dei intentionally encourages its members to distort what it actually means to join the organization…The same member of Opus Dei may give several different answers to the simple question, “when did you join Opus Dei?”  This article provides clarity about the process of joining Opus Dei.

 The Many Names of Opus Dei’s Founder

Opus Dei’s founder changed his name multiple times throughout his lifetime – This heavily footnoted document written by a man who has asked to remain anonymous, details these changes, many of which are not recorded in any of the “official biographies” promoted by Opus Dei.

Opus Dei Recruits Minors and Deceives Church Officials by Former Numerary, England

The new testimonies now posted show very clearly the ways that Opus Dei targets young people, even those younger than 18, and even misrepresents the truth to Church officials.  In 1981, the now deceased Cardinal Basil Hume, Archbishop of the Diocese of Westminster, United Kingdom, issued the following guidelines to Opus Dei:  Guidelines for Opus Dei  Opus Dei’s response at the time was to thank the Cardinal and reassure him that Opus Dei had always followed those guidelines.  Yet the reality was far different, as the testimony from this former numerary attests.  He joined Opus Dei at the age of 16 only a few days after the Cardinal issued the guidelines, and had been instructed by Opus Dei directors not to discuss it with his parents. 

His testimony is not the only one from former members who testify that they were actively recruited and joined Opus Dei before the age of 18, and instructed not to inform or discuss the matter with their parents.  Even Opus Dei members themselves have given interviews lately in which they reveal that they were under 18 when they joined Opus Dei.  (See Eduardo Guilisasti, age 53, who stated that he had joined Opus Dei in 1968 (age 15 or 16) –Bloomberg.com; Isabelle St-Maurice, 51, who joined Opus Dei 36 years ago (age 15 or 16) –http://www.canada.com/globaltv/national/story.html?id=db572eef-929e-4986-954f-b4ad923a01e3; Jack Valero, who joined Opus Dei at 16 –http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,19200678%255E2902,00.html )

Not only has Opus Dei not been truthful about its recruiting practices with minors, it has also actively sought to misrepresent the truth to church officials.  Just as the former numerary from England whose testimony appears above shows the deception of Opus Dei with church officials, so also the following short testimony from former numerary Dennis Dubro shows that Opus Dei directors have misrepresented the truth to church officials to serve what they believe is “a higher purpose,” the preservation of Opus Dei as they know it. Opus Dei Superiors Lied to Church Officials by Dennis Dubro, Former numerary member.  A companion piece can be found at the following link explaining how obedience is executed in Opus Dei, in particular with numerary members: “Voluntaristic Obedience,”

FATHERS DON’T LET YOUR SONS GROW UP TO BE OPUS DEI RECRUITS  – by John, Opus Dei prospect at age 14, Northeast USA 
This new testimony details the ways that Opus Dei numeraries target young boys for recruitment, written from the perspective of a now middle-aged man and father concerned for young people now targeted by Opus Dei.

Government, Direction and Control in Opus Dei by Dennis Dubro, Former     numerary member 
This informational piece written by former numerary member Dennis Dubro details the levels of government within Opus Dei and the tight hierarchical control that has been established by Opus Dei’s Founder.  Within Opus Dei’s hierarchical structure, which in many circumstances relies on verbal controls and a certain type of “osmosis,” lie many of the abuses in Opus Dei. It is the structure of Opus Dei itself and its verbal expectations of members that give rise to the many problems in Opus Dei, not the individual actions of its members, as Opus Dei often cites when they are faced with accountability to the public.

Letter 1 and Letter 2:  Letters written to ODAN from deeply concerned parents of children at Opus Dei schools. Concerned parents appeal to ODAN to share Opus Dei’s deceptive and manipulative practices.

Seventeen Years in Opus Dei, by Dennis Dubro U.S.

Deception and Drugs in Opus Dei by Maria, former numerary, Venezuela

My Basic Human Rights Were Violated by former numerary assistant, Europe.

“Making Modern-Day Martyrs using Medieval Methods,” by Sharon Clasen, former numerary. While many Catholic religious organizations now question whether corporal mortification brings a person closer to God, the lay organization Opus Dei embraces corporal mortification in their program of making modern-day martyrs.

What is Opus Dei? The Alternative Version by M.Miki, former male numerary, Brazil, São Paulo.

“Whips, Spiked Garters and Bloodshed…My Terrifying Life in Ruth Kelly’s Religious Sect,” by John Roche, The Mail on Sunday, UK, January 23, 2005. A former member tells how a lust for power drives the secretive Catholic organisation Opus Dei.

  • More testimonies in English, 20 responses to Franz Schaefer’s website Unofficial Opus Dei from people who had negative experiences with Opus Dei.
  • More testimonies in Spanish The Opus Libros website contains over 500 testimonies and books written by former numerary members of Opus Dei and others.

Other Writings

“Voluntaristic Obedience,” by Dennis Dubro. This short essay explains the concepts of obedience and freedom as they apply to Opus Dei, which help to explain why Opus Dei is such a difficult organization to discuss and understand.

We encourage you to share your experience in order to help others in their healing process. Please send your story to odan@odan.org. Please let us know how you would like your name to read and what part of the world you are writing from.

Revised December 19, 2011