To supporters, Msgr. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer of Spain was a humble churchman who taught that ordinary folks could find holiness in life's routines. To critics, he was a vain, ill-tempered tyrant who admired Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. Lake week, the Vatican weighed in: Escriva, founder of the controversial Roman Catholic movement Opus Dei, will be made a saint in October - just 27 years after his death. A prospective saint must be credited with at least two postmortem miracles. In 1976, a man claimed to have been healed of a tumor after praying to Escriva. Last December, the Vatican authenticated miracle No. 2: healing the X-ray-damaged hands of a Spanish doctor.
His rapid ascent signals the regard Pope John Paul II has for Opus Dei - a tightly disciplined group of 84,000 dedicated to sanctifying lay lives.