Fishmonger and revolutionary


Fishmonger and revolutionary

Tags:Opus Dei,Opus Dei members,Associate
Carlos Martinez was a fishermonger. By the age of ten, he had joined the local communist cell. When he was 34, he learned from St Josemaria how to find God in his work. He thought this discovery needed to be written down. His notes have now been written up in book form and published in Spain under the titleCarlos Martinez, pescadero. Un revolucionario que se encontró con Dios(“Carlos Martinez, fishmonger. A revolutionary who met God”; Madrid: Palabra, 2011).

Roadsweeper? Minister? Saint!
When St Josemaria received the news that someone in Opus Dei had been appointed to an important job, he used to underline that he wasn’t really interested in whether any of his children achieved outstanding posts or not. Once, when a cardinal congratulated him on the fact that a person in Opus Dei had become a government minister, he said, “I don’t mind whether he’s a minister or a road-sweeper, provided that he achieves holiness in his work.”

What mattered to St Josemaria was each individual’s search for holiness – habitual, friendly conversation with God – in his or her work and daily life. It simply didn’t matter what particular job they were doing, provided that it was an honest one. What was important was that they did that job, whatever it was, for love of Jesus Christ, out of a desire to serve society, and with the highest professional standards they were each capable of.

This is why St Josemaria was happy when he talked to Carlos Martinez or received letters from him. Martinez was born in Spain in 1920, and died in 2000. He was a person who spread Christian joy and peace generously from his fish-stall. His clients, mainly housewives, were the people he aimed to serve and help.

Selling Communist newspapers at the age of 10
Carlos was born in Foncalada Street, Oviedo, Spain, in a large, poor family. When he was nine he had to leave school and start work in a fishmonger’s shop. When he was ten, he joined the local Communist cell and starting selling the Communist newspaperMundo Obrero(“Working World”) in the evenings. He supported the Communist-inspired uprising in Asturias against the Spanish government in October 1934, and was imprisoned during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). He had escaped to Gijon, and one of his brothers was shot for refusing to say where he was hiding. After the Spanish Civil War he tried to make a career for himself in literature, in Madrid, where he met Camilo Jose Cela and other writers, who encouraged him in his efforts to write himself.

A still more profound revolution
In 1954, he asked for admission to Opus Dei. From then on he carried out an intense Christian apostolate in Oviedo and the surrounding mining areas.

He wrote in his book, “As a member of Opus Dei I had the opportunity to live in our beloved Asturias homeland and undertake the adventure of an apostolate that stirred up the non-conformist spirit of our young people and very many of our tough mine-workers. It was a combat against ignorance and poverty, always in favor of the dignity of man, with the Penavera Cultural Center there for our inspiration and support. The commitment and hard work of many people united to play out a silent but epic task: forming the spirits of hundreds of students and workers and enabling them to open up to God. All of this was thanks to the help of our Blessed Lady, who encouraged us in our work from her shrine at Covadonga.”

Source:Carlos Martinez website (Oviedo)