Short historical summary of Encounter of the Rose
The night from the 21st to the 22nd of November 1937, saint Josemaría confronted a strong test, with many inner sufferings, that led him to supplicate very insistently and weeping during the whole of the night to God and to the Virgin Mary, hoping they would give him some kind of proof of God's will in relation to his flight to Andorra.
At daybreak of the 22nd, he descended from the place where he slept (at the top of the apse of the church) to the central nave, and found a golden wooden rose, that must have been either part of the altarpiece destroyed in 1936, or the one that the image of the Virgin Mary of the Rose held in its hand and that was in the church, now destroyed and burned down.
The finding of this rose fills him with peace as it is the answer to his confident and insistent plea. It constitutes for saint Josemaría a clear sign that God's will is for him to continue to Andorra.
We next transcribe some words spoken by saint Josemaría quoted by Andrés Vázquez de Prada in his book "El Fundador del Opus Dei" ("The Founder of the Opus Dei"), chapter X, paragraph 6: The Rose of Rialb, of Volume II.
"The first time that (saint Josemaría) remembered explicitly and in writing the events occurred in Rialp, was in an annotation of the Intimate Annotations, of December 22nd 1937". Saint Josemaría wrote:
"In that moment, with inner motion that compelled my will, I said to God: "If you are happy with me, make me find something", and I thought about a flower or wood adornment of the disappeared altarpieces. I returned to the church (I was in the sacristy), I looked around the same places I had done before…, and I immediately found a wooden rose. I was very happy and I blessed God, that gave me that consolation, when I was full of preoccupation whether Jesus Christ would be satisfied or not with me "(Annotations n.1439, of 22-XII-1937).
In another occasion saint Josemaría said: "When I was eaten by preoccupations, with the dilemma of passing or not during the Spanish civil war from one side to another, between that persecution, fleeing from the communists, comes another external test: that wooden rose .
Things like this: God treats me like a displeased boy who has to be tested with tangible tests, but in an ordinary way ". (Meditation of 14-II-64).