A devout and joyful life
María Montserrat Grases García (affectionately known as Montse) was born in Barcelona in 1941, the second of nine children. She had a temperament that was lively and spontaneous. In her family home she acquired some of the distinctive features of her personality: cheerfulness, simplicity, forgetfulness of self, and a concern for the material and spiritual well-being of those around her. Montse loved sports, music, the traditional dances of her region such as sardanas, and also enjoyed acting in theatrical works. She had many friends.
Her parents taught her to deal trustingly with God, and they helped her to live the Christian virtues and to develop a solid spiritual life. In 1954, Montse began to attend activities of Christian formation at an Opus Dei centre, which helped her to mature humanly and spiritually.
When Montse Grases was 16, she came to see that God was calling her to this path in the Church, and, after meditating, praying and seeking advice, she asked to be admitted to Opus Dei. From then on, she worked hard to seek holiness in her daily life. She strived to be in constant conversation with God, to discover the will of God in the fulfillment of her duties and in caring for little details out of love, and to make life pleasant for those around her. She was able to transmit to many of her relatives and friends the peace that comes from living close to God.
The cancer diagnosis
Shortly before she turned 17, cancer was discovered in the femur of her left leg. Her illness lasted nine months and caused very intense pain. Montse accepted this pain with serenity and fortitude, and throughout the illness she always manifested a contagious joy. She drew many of her friend and schoolmates closer to God when they came to visit her. She encountered Jesus and the Virgin Mary in her pain. Those who accompanied her witnessed her progressive union with God. One of her friends says that, when she saw Montse pray, she could feel her closeness to Christ.
Why Montse Grases is important
A reflection from someone in our young Catholic community
Montse Grases was only 17 years old when she died, but in that short time led a life of inspiring virtue, as she strived to lead a good, holy life.
In a time when so many young people are hurt by pornography, broken families and a society that doesn’t really care about them (to name just a few of the challenges today!), Montse is a beacon of light and a role model for teenagers today. She led an active, healthy life and being a young Catholic was just a normal part of everyday living for her.
If there’s one thing that inspires young people more than anything else to lead a good life, it’s the example of other young people who are doing it. Montse shows that happiness and goodness is possible, if you open yourself up to God’s love.