Two Opus Dei members Go On Trial in France

Posted September 22nd, 2011 at 8:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Two members of the secretive Roman Catholic organization Opus Dei went on trial in Paris Thursday on charges of subjecting a follower to more than a decade of forced work.

The case came to court after nine years of investigation and centers on Catherine Tissier, who became a follower as a teenager while attending the Dosnon School in eastern France, where Opus Dei provided religious services.

Tissier says the group forced her to work as a domestic servant seven days a week from early morning until late in the evening with little or no pay. Tissier says she left the group after about 13 years when she became mentally and physically exhausted.

The defendants are employees of the Dosnon School and the association which is linked with it.

A spokeswoman for Opus Dei in France, Beatrice de la Coste, said that working for the religious group is a vocation which is freely chosen and that Tissier had chosen that path. “Opus Dei” in Latin means “Work of God.”

The group employs thousands of so-called numerary assistants, mostly women who maintain Opus Dei centers and do the laundry, cleaning, cooking and provide other help for priests who live there.

The conservative Roman Catholic group was founded in 1928 by Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer, who was made a saint in 2002 by the late Pope John Paul.