St Josemaria Escriva was born in Barbastro, Spain on January 9, 1902. His parents, Jose Escriva and Dolores Albas, were faithful and pious Christians who introduced their children step by step to the Christian way of life. His father was a textile merchant and his mother was entirely devoted to her family and to raising their children: Carmen, Josemaria, Asuncion, Lolita, Rosario, and Santiago.
In the 1910’s the family suffered a period of trials. In 1910 Rosario died at only 9 months old. Two years later Lolita died at the age of 5, and a year later Asuncion died at the age of 8. Around the same time, the career of Jose Escriva suffered an abrupt turn due to the unjust actions of one of his partners and the family’s savings were lost. This severe economic setback resulted in the family leaving Barbastro and settling in the town of Logroño where his father had found work as a sales clerk in a business similar to the one of which he had previously been proprietor.
St Josemaria, a bright young student with a cheerful and open personality, watched his parents suffer these hardships with a deep faith in God.
At the age of 16, while walking in Logroño on a cold winter day, St Josemaria noticed footprints in the snow left by the bare-feet of a Carmelite friar. As he considered the life of dedication represented by those footprints, he felt a deep awakening in his soul and wondered if he too was called to give himself to God. From that day St Josemaria felt that God wanted something from him, though he did not know what it was. Convinced that he could best discern this call as a priest, he decided to give up his intended career as an architect and enter the seminary.