Hope in Action - The Darien Center

Hope in Action
As the Second Vatican Council emphasized, work, family life and
other ordinary activities are occasions for deepening one’s relationship with
Darien Center
Jesus Christ. Every baptized person is called to follow Christ and to make
Him known to others, in accordance with the teachings of the Gospel.
The aim of Opus Dei is to contribute to the Church’s mission of evangelization
by encouraging Christians of all social classes to live a life fully consistent
with their faith—in the middle of the most ordinary circumstances—and
particularly through the sanctification of their daily professional work.
Darien Center
7800 South Cass Avenue
Darien, IL 60561
Hope in Action
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“The best remedy against losing apostolic daring, which comes from effective
hunger to serve all men, is none other than the fullness of faith, hope and love. In a
word: sanctity. I can find no other prescription than personal sanctity.”
—St. Josemaría Escrivá
“Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.”
“Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.”
—George Washington
“We must respond with a renewed social action that stems from the universal
love that knows no bounds. In this way, we ensure that our works of mercy and justice
become hope in action for others.”
—Pope Benedict XVI
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The Early Years in Chicago
The history of Opus Dei in the United States has truly
been hope
in action. In 1949 Sal Ferigle, a physicist, and
numerous families, professionals, fathers, mothers, students,
Woodlawn Center
Dei who led them: Northview on the North side, Midtown on
The first apostolic initiative of Opus Dei in the United
young people and friends have succeeded in finding God –
States was Woodlawn Center near the University of Chicago,
the Near West side, Castlewood in Lincoln Park and Hedgerow
Fr. Joseph Muzquiz, a priest of Opus Dei, came to Chicago with
right where they are. Educational centers, schools and other
founded in August 1949. The pages of Woodlawn’s history are
in the northern suburbs.
an eagerness to see the dream of the founder fulfilled: “that
apostolic initiatives in the United States have added brilliant
filled with stories of daring, sacrifice, prayer and confidence in
color to the founder’s dream and fulfilled his vision, teaching
God's grace.
God should be placed at the summit of all human activities.”
The founder of Opus Dei, St. Josemaría, had sent
these two men to begin the apostolic work in this country with
only his blessing and a small picture of Our Lady – and with
complete confidence that God’s grace would never be lacking.
Over the next 50 years, such stories of hope
action would abound. Thanks to the founder’s dream,
everyone that “there is something holy, something divine,
Through these educational centers, Opus Dei
continued to spread the universal call to sanctity one person
at a time. Activities expanded to neighborhoods throughout
At first the expansion was slow and filled with
hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one
challenges. The first participants – ordinary men from all
Chicago, providing spiritual and professional activities for
of you to discover it.”
walks of life – vividly recall feeling that they were discovering
college students, young professionals and married men. Small
something brand new. But they corresponded with openness
groups of men were meeting weekly for spiritual formation.
and generosity, confident that God was showing them
Plans for a conference center in northwest Indiana were being
something that would change their lives and the lives of
developed. The groundwork was being laid.
The history of Opus Dei in Chicago truly exemplifies
this hope
in action – ordinary people striving to discover
Christian meaning in the midst of their everyday activities.
People were beginning to discover the power and
countless people to come. In the true Chicago spirit, they felt
relevance of Opus Dei's message. In his first book The Way,
like pioneers…even co-founders.
St. Josemaría challenged them to “Get rid of that 'small-town'
Other centers soon opened around the Chicago area,
outlook. Enlarge your heart till it becomes universal, 'catholic'.”
housing both educational programs and the members of Opus
“...these world crises are the crises
of saints" — The Way 301
Fr. Joseph Muzquiz talks with
students and young professionals.
St. Josemaría
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Oak Park Study Center
In 1968, members opened another educational center
and young students in the western suburbs, helping them realize
New Location
Accessible from four major highways, the Darien
to serve Chicago's western suburbs: the Oak Park Study Center.
that God is waiting for them in their family relationships,
Center will be able to serve men and boys in more than a
Over the past four decades, Oak Park has offered countless
among their friends and in their professional work.
20-mile radius. The new center of Opus Dei will be at 7800
programs, providing spiritual and professional formation to
Over the years, however, Chicago's demographics have
South Cass Avenue in Darien. The Darien Center will reach
men of all ages: weekend boys clubs, summer camps, cultural
changed dramatically. Once considered a western suburb, Oak
hundreds of thousands of Catholics in
seminars, evenings of recollection, professional seminars,
Park is now part of Chicago's west side, only fifteen minutes
DuPage, Will, Cook and other outlying counties, ultimately
theology classes and spiritual direction.
from downtown, and quite a distance from the sprawling
replacing the Oak Park Study Center.
Located just off the Eisenhower Expressway, the
six-flat apartment building has been a home to many lay
members and priests of Opus Dei. Its activities have enabled the
western and southern suburbs.
It is clear that Opus Dei in the Chicago area has
reached a new chapter. The need has arisen to go west.
message of Opus Dei to spread to thousands of married men
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New Darien Center
The new 20,000-square foot center
will provide activities for the human,
professional, spiritual, theological and
apostolic formation of men and boys.
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Activities at the Darien Center
Professional and Married Men
For working men, the new Darien Center will provide
The goal of the center is for participants to become
outstanding husbands, fathers, professionals, citizens, and friends,
classes and individual guidance on becoming outstanding
men who work to improve society and to lead others closer to God.
professionals who foster moral and ethical decision-making in
All men are invited to participate, regardless of race, color or creed.
the workplace, as well as a firm commitment to the common
good of society. Married men are encouraged to put their
The Darien Center will offer a wide variety of educational
activities for men of all ages, including:
families first, spending time one-on-one with their wives
and each of their children. Fathers share experiences and
Clubs for students
Professional seminars
Visits to nursing homes and hospitals
Cultural excursions
Retreats and Evenings of Recollection
Theology Classes
Spiritual direction and the Sacrament of Reconciliation
encourage each other through the joys and challenges of
raising children.
The outcome: strong marriages, stable families,
children who know they are loved and who are morally
grounded, and the truth of the Gospel lived in every sector of
As in similar centers, Darien will be a residence for the
professional life.
laymen and priests of Opus Dei who organize the activities and who
foster a family spirit among the participants.
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Darien Youth Activities
The Darien Boys Clubs reinforce
High School & College Men
The teenage years are a time of discovery, a time of
efforts to cultivate virtue and a spirit of service in their sons,
adventure, when one’s personality develops, a worldview is formed
helping their sons develop leadership skills from the very
and challenges are overcome on the road to adulthood.
The Darien Center offers young men the tools they need
beginning. Young students participate in sports, projects and
summer camps with boys from other good families. Fathers and
to become outstanding adults. They form good professional habits,
sons enjoy excursions together and collaborate on semester-
grow in virtue, and lead lives of service to others. By participating
long projects.
in Darien’s professional seminars, ethics workshops and classes on
the virtues, young men leave the center with a clear sense of
The clubs encourage fathers to be actively involved in
professionalism and purpose, and with well-formed consciences.
their sons’ lives, developing a friendship that will last a lifetime.
Darien also works with other centers to co-sponsor
Activities include talks on virtues for the students, and fathers
summer camps, domestic and international service projects, and
share experiences with each other about raising children well.
college and career preparation seminars.
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A new chapter is about to begin.
And you can be part of it.
From the earliest days in 1949, when the first
To spread this message, each phase of expansion has
members of Opus Dei arrived in Chicago, many of us have had
required a high level of daring and generosity. The promoters
the privilege of participating in ground-breaking, life-changing
have acted with conviction and courage, showing generosity
initiatives inspired by the spirit of Opus Dei. From the
beyond what was considered “reasonable.”
beginnings on Woodlawn Avenue near the University of
We are heirs to this 50-year legacy of faith and
Chicago, to the expansion into neighborhoods around
commitment. The new Darien Center is your opportunity to
Chicago, to the founding of the Oak Park center, to the
exercise hope
in action.
enhanced Midtown Center near St. Mary of the Angels parish,
the message that all
are called to holiness has been
spreading quietly but effectively throughout the city.
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