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Information and documentation with respect to allegations of women who belonged to Opus Dei in Argentina


This space was created to report on questions that the Prelature of Opus Dei received through different media regarding the work and personal situation of a group of women (former Assistant Numeraries) while they were part of Opus Dei in Argentina, the majority during the '70s and '80s.   


Opus Dei respects the voice of the women who have asked the questions and its main interest has always been to listen, accompany and generate a channel of dialogue that allows for a deep understanding of each experience, to give an appropriate response to each of them.  


September 2020

The lawyer, Sebastián Sal establishes contact informing that 43 women who were members of the Prelature were required to regularize their social security contributions during the years they were members of Opus Dei. He was personally received, but refused to provide information that would allow us to know the particular situation of each case.

November 5, 2021

The Regional Vicar had an open and receptive meeting with the lawyer, Sebastian Sal, with the aim of opening the way for dialogue. However, in spite of the Prelature's willingness to open channels that would allow it to understand the arguments and the details of the situation of each of the people involved, it was not possible to know and treat each case personally and individually, generating an impediment to give an adequate response to each person.

September, 2022

Assistant Numeraries from all over the world write a letter to ask for respect for their personal choice of life.

"We are thousands of women who live the vocation of Assistant Numerary with freedom and joy. We are full and happy dedicating our lives to caring for others, we choose it every day as the first day or even more."

April 2021

The lawyer takes the case to the media and makes new allegations, some of them false and taken out of context.

June 23, 2022

The listening commission is created.

In the absence of judicial injunctions against the Prelature, or any official complaint to the ecclesiastical authorities, or any fruitful channels of communication via the spokesman of the women involved, the Prelature took the initiative of gathering all the possible elements about the facts contained in the public allegations, so that they could be evaluated in context and the appropriate measures taken in each case as appropriate.

December, 2022

Creation of the Healing and Resolution Office.

Based on the healing experience that the listening process has had for the people who have participated, the Vicar of the La Plata Region decided to create a permanent Healing and Resolution Office open to those who belonged to Opus Dei and who wish to come forward to resolve a specific question or to talk about their experiences in the Prelature.


It is necessary to clarify that the questions raised since 2020 have only been made through the media and not via the courts, for which the Prelature is fully available. Also that there are different questions raised with different levels of seriousness, and which require different answers:

Questions regarding the work and personal situation:

The women have expressed alleged shortfalls in their retirement contributions during the period in which they worked for the residences where members of Opus Dei live. On the other hand, they have also reported alleged bad experiences living with other members of Opus Dei while they were Assistant Numeraries.     


Faced with these questions and in the absence of a formal complaint in the courts or before the ecclesiastical authorities, or fruitful channels of dialogue via the lawyer who represents the women involved, the Prelature created a Listening and Study Commission through which it sought to understand and give an adequate response to each person.

Allegations of forced recruitment or of domestic servitude:

The alleged accusations are totally false and make misleading and decontextualized reference to a socio-educational initiative called ICES, which was approved and supervised by all competent state authorities for more than 40 years. 


 Facing inquiries about work
and personal situation 

Having allowed a reasonable amount of time to pass since the public complaint and channels of fruitful dialogue through the lawyer who claims to represent the women, we sought to generate a concrete environment that would allow us to know in greater detail those experiences and the context in which they would have taken place, based on a better understanding of what happened and to be able to adopt relief measures where appropriate. Thus, a Listening and Study Commission was created during the months of July and September 2022.


The Commission was open to women who made the claims, but also to those who lived and worked with them and who wanted to give their point of view, as well as to people with management responsibilities in the Prelature during those years. They took forward a total of 151 interviews, of which 30 have been with people who were members of Opus Dei, including some of the women who made the statements; 111 with current members of Opus Dei, and 10 with people who never belonged to the institution.


The listening process proved to be healing for those who participated as it made it possible to listen to and welcome those who felt affected and carry out reparation actions in those specific situations.


Based on the healing experience that the listening process has had for the people who have come, the Vicar of the Plata Region decided to establish a permanent Office of Healing and Resolution ( open to people who belonged to Opus Dei, who want to come to resolve a specific question or talk about their experiences in the Prelature. 


At the same time, and as a result of the recommendations that the Listening and Study Commission has made based on the testimonies received during that process, the Regional Vicar decided to:


  • Create a permanent work team, called the Healing and Resolution Office, as a facilitator of a space for dialogue to channel the personalized resolution of possible claims and promote healing processes. 


  • Request Civil Associations that promote educational, training, welfare or solidarity projects, inspired by the teachings of Opus Dei, to continue reviewing the labor and pension issues of the people who work there.

  • Regarding the spiritual support of the assistant numeraries, a process of analysis will be initiated to ensure a clearer distinction between the spiritual and professional spheres.


  • Intensify the specific training of the people who accompany the process of vocational discernment, training them more broadly for this task. 


  • Update the agreements between the Prelature and civil entities that request pastoral accompaniment from Opus Dei for certain educational, training, welfare or solidarity projects, placing special emphasis on the development of good work practices, following the principles of Catholic social ethics.


At the same time, within the framework of these resolutions, the Regional Vicar, in addition to endorsing the apology for any harm caused, also wishes to express profound respect and gratitude to all assistant numeraries and to all individuals who, both now and in the past, have generously and lovingly carried out the valuable task of caring for individuals and creating an environment of Christian home.

Facing allegations of forced recruitment or of domestic servitude

These accusations are totally false and make misleading and decontextualized reference to a socio-educational initiative called ICIED (later ICES) that was approved and supervised by all competent state authorities for more than 40 years.


(later known as the ICES)

The institute was established by the Association for the Promotion of Culture (AFC) in 1973 as a Basic Cycle plan for secondary school (1st to 3rd grade, ages 13 to 15) with a technical specialization in Service Administration in homes and institutions. Considering the socio-cultural context of those years, in which many girls from vulnerable backgrounds only completed primary school, it was deemed important to develop an initiative that offered a free option to complete a cycle of secondary school (to then finish high school in another institution) and also provide technical training for a trade.


The sole intention was to contribute to the schooling and technical training of women, particularly in underprivileged areas, by facilitating access to education for all sectors and regions, thereby expanding their possibilities and employment opportunities. This initiative was in line with the recommendations made by International Organizations during those years.


The Curriculum was developed with the objective of harmonizing technical preparation – eminently practical – with good-level human and cultural training. 


To materialize the project, the existing technical middle level curricula in the country at that time were reviewed with the purpose of selecting the one that best suited the proposed objectives and was open to possible subsequent modifications. The chosen curriculum was the so-called Cycle of Female Professions, which had a duration of three years. Modifications were made to the core Practical Activities and an internship was added, which was authorized by the National Superintendence of Private Education (SNEP).

Study Plans of National Schools of Technical Education
Study Plans of National Schools of Technical Education

The modifications made aimed to offer young women who wished it, training and specialization in professions related to domestic tasks, with the possibility of raising their level of education after completing their primary studies. This was done through a systematic plan of training and increasing professional specialization at the middle level, which could attain national validity.​

Indeed, the SNEP recognized the ICIED Institute under registration identification B-741, authorizing the addition of a complementary program to the double-shift Basic Cycle by adapting the core practical activities to train students in home and institutional management.

This way, the Curriculum - which was definitively recognized in 1983 as a new career in the country, of short duration, in the incomplete middle level, and technical modality - was called Administration of Services in Home and Institutions, and had the following main characteristics:

  • Duration of three academic years at the ICIED headquarters, corresponding to the common Basic Cycle of secondary education in the country, supplemented by a fourth year, optional in nature, to be conducted at another venue recognized by the ICIED for the development of an intensive period of work experience.

  • The subjects of the curriculum were divided into three areas: scientific, humanistic, and aesthetic-expressive, with a total of thirty hours per week for the first year, and thirty-one hours for both the second and third years.

  • A system of rotational work experiences to be conducted in the departments of Food, Cleaning and Maintenance, Clothing, and Reception. 

  • Provision of certificates according to the specialization modality, supplemented by another optional professional complement certificate.

Official approvals
and inspections

As mentioned above, the ICIED was an official, privately managed secondary education center, dependent on the National Council of Technical Education (CONET) and the National Superintendency of Private Education (SNEP),  authorized by the Ministry of Culture and Education, the entity that grants official recognition of all the country's study plans.


In  1994, by official legislation, it came under the jurisdiction of the Province of Buenos Aires since it was located within it, in the town of Bella Vista, directly dependent on the Provincial Directorate of Private Management Schools (DIPREGEP).


First approval of the Ministry of Culture and Education of the Nation:

Approval of the ICIED by the Ministry of Culture and Education of the Nation
Approval of the ICIED by the Ministry of Culture and Education of the Nation

Starting in 1973, as corresponds to every official educational institution, controls were carried out by inspectors from the National Superintendence of Private Education (SNEP), for the evaluation of the educational project, leaving a record of them in the respective Minutes. of Inspection. They refer to the appreciation of the different aspects (academic, professional and administrative). We collect some testimonies here:

«The contact with the students in the classroom and during the development of their practical classes allows me to verify the level of efficiency with which the school activity is carried out. I leave very impressed by the seriousness with which this important work of youth promotion has been started.

María del Carmen Muratorio,

auditor of the National Council of Education.1973.

«The analysis of the observed aspects allows us to establish that:

1) there is no doubt that the teaching-learning process tends to achieve the moral and professional profile;

2) in the theoretical-practical achievements, the objectives that lead to the achievement of desirable behaviors are integrated.

Nelly Castillo de Hiriart, 

head of the Technical Pedagogical Sector

of the SNEP. 1977,

"It is desirable that the action, not only educational but also social, that they develop does not decline and continues for the good of our society and the country in general."

C. Leone,

SNEP Teaching Supervisor. 1984

«From the analysis of the different aspects observed in the curricular development, it can be seen that the objectives corresponding to the experience evaluation plan have been met in a highly satisfactory manner. It is also considered that the pedagogical work reflects coordinated and coherent action with the principles and objectives stated in the plan.

Herminia Wasserzug and Fanny F. Mountfor,

Supervisors of the Pedagogical Technical Section  of the SNEP.

December 12, 1978.

«I consider that the visit to the ICIED has been highly beneficial to verify the level of general and professional preparation of the students, who demonstrate in their daily activities the moral and spiritual formation that they have achieved in the course of applying the Plan; I leave my encouragement to the teaching staff, Instructors and Preceptors who have achieved the fulfillment of such a high objective as training women worthy of God, for themselves and their family.

Angela Betty Killian,

Pedagogical Supervisor of the SNEP. 1982.

This assessment of ICEID by the Argentine State as an institution of great social contribution was materialized in the fact that the State initially granted, as a state contribution, 70% of the salaries of the ICIED teaching staff. This subsidy amounts to 100% - for functional staff positions - in 1983. The fact that the State has progressively taken over the salaries of the teaching staff was an implicit recognition of the social importance of the work carried out at the Institute.

of UN Women in 1982

In 1982, the priority need to professionalize and qualify women with the approach chosen by the ICIED was reaffirmed in the publication of theConclusions or Recommendations of the First National Congress of the United Nations International Decade for Women, led by the National Advisory Commission for the Program of the International Women's Decade, held in Buenos Aires on November 17, 18 and 19 of that year 1982.

Among the general observations and recommendations of the “Cultural Education Area” it is considered that “it is necessary to preserve and ensure the integral training and development of women through education since it is a very valuable factor in the development of people.” and that "there is no updated survey in the area of women's education and the labor market" (1). Therefore, among the Recommendations of this same Sector, there are specifically:"1. Provide teaching in accordance with the principles of personalized education to ensure the full development of women as a person and as a constructive renewing agent of society"; "4. Increase the number of Centers that provide literacy and technical training for women, particularly in deprived areas"; «7. "Complement the technical teaching plans with humanistic training that strengthens the moral and cultural values of the nationality."


Between theGeneral observations and recommendationsof the “Cultural Employment Area” highlights the consideration that –referring to the country in general– «society does not sufficiently value the social function of women in the home and that there is an evident underestimation of the domestic tasks performed by them in other people's homes. »; and that "it is necessary to expand job possibilities −within the region itself− in accordance with socio-economic demands and its own peculiar characteristics"; as well as that "there is no systematization of studies specifically dedicated to women in a comprehensive manner"; It is also stated that "although national labor legislation adequately provides for the specific problems of women, there are still shortcomings in some areas of social security and the protection of working mothers."

Among the Recommendations issued, the following stand out as priority actions:

 (1) Republic of Argentina, Presidency of the Nation, Secretariat of Culture, First National Congress of the United Nations Decade for Women, Conclusions and Recommendations of the Cultural Areas Education, Health and Work, National Advisory Commission for the Program of the International Decade of Women , Buenos Aires, November 17, 18 and 19, 1982 (Resolution no. 3520 of the General Assembly of the United Nations and Resolution no. 220 of the General Assembly of American States; Resolution no. 986/80. Secretariat of Culture of the Presidency of the Nation and Decree No. 2139/80), p. 7. 


Revalue the work of women in the home taking into account their irreplaceable mission, requesting the competent authorities to apply a system of remuneration and social security, when their dedication to the home is exclusive.


Include, within official statistics, women's work in the home as productive work


Prioritize the work of home helpers and enable their professional qualification, also arbitrating the means to disseminate and achieve control of the application of social security laws.


Promote the comprehensive training of women so that they efficiently meet the demands of caring for and managing their home and can respond satisfactorily to new job offers.

United Nations reso 3520_Page_001.jpg
Conclusions and recommendations of the First National Congress of the United Nations Decade

of the Media 

Graphic and audiovisual media also echoed the initiative at different times, in all cases highlighting the social value of the institute and highlighting the originality of its Curriculum and the professional seriousness with which the educational task was carried out. This is not only a sign of the appreciation of the proposal but also of the transparency with which it was carried out.

Article about the ICIED in El Litoral
Article about the ICIED in La Nación
Article about The ICIED in La Prensa
Article about the ICIED in La Nación

Transformation to ICES in 1994

Cultural changes, the rise of hospitality and tourism, the level of training achieved by the students now more oriented, lead those who work at the educational center to propose to the National Superintendency of Private Education a change of the name of the Institute. The Superintendency approves the new name “Training Institute for Service Companies”. The now ICES ceases to be a basic middle school cycle to become a Polymodal (last 3 years of secondary school, 15 to 18 years old) with a modality in Production of Goods and Services, with orientation in Hospitality. This change made it possible for students to finish secondary school and join ICES with a pass from other secondary schools where they had completed the first cycle. The title of “Diploma in Polymodal Education in the Mode of Production of Goods and Services with a Hospitality Orientation” enabled the students to carry out tertiary or university studies and guaranteed that the graduate had achieved specialized professional training, speeding up job placement.