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Rafael Alvira, Full Professor of Philosophy of the University of Navarra

Enrique de Sendagorta, greatness of spirit

"His impressive resume gives a glimpse of his service to the common good and to Spain, for which he had the love of a true patriot, always inclusive: Plencia, the Basque Country (he had far more than eight Basque surnames), Spain, Europe, the whole world."


Thu, 11 Jan 2018 18:29:00 +0000 Published in ABC

FREEDOM, creativity and progress are concepts that articulate our current culture. But - as Linneon liked to remind us - they can be counterbalanced by Nemesis. If these concepts are not counterbalanced by docility, learning, tradition, the human being self-destructs.

Knowing how to combine them is characteristic of those who have what Seneca considered the main virtue: greatness of spirit. And that was the central characteristic of Enrique de Sendagorta, an exceptional figure in the recent history of Spain, who left us on January 5.

A brilliant young naval engineer, he was the creator and promoter of companies: Sener, business , a leading engineering company in Spain, and now a multinational, model business for its attention to people and for its technical perfection, which was the "apple of his eye"; Petronor, etc.; main director of others: La Naval, Banco de Vizcaya¿; in the university field, president of high school business and Humanism of the University of Navarra, an original institution and for a time unique in the world, where the richness of his personality could unfold. He also belonged -as director general in the Ministry of Commerce- to the small group of people who carried out what was called the "Spanish economic miracle".

The impressive unfolding of contemporary Spain would have been impossible without his quiet and non-medal-seeking assistance. His impressive resume gives a glimpse of his service to the common good and to Spain, for which he had the love of a true patriot, always inclusive: Plencia, the Basque Country (he had much more than eight Basque surnames), Spain, Europe, the whole world.

Everything great is gestated out of appearance and noise; but, precisely because of this, what then appears and the word that accompanies it are shown to be true, consistent, beneficent.

Enrique de Sendagorta has been a great man, and he has been so in the three dimensions that constitute us. In character: deep and broad intelligence, strong will, exquisite feelings, facility for words, extraordinary fondness for reading, art and sports, innate capacity to innovate and to lead -two qualities that do not always go together-, sympathy, cordiality and a long etc.

Then, learning, which gives the perfection of habits and shapes the style of a man. During his 93 years of life he never ceased to learn, with a universal and serious interest at the same time, like a permanent child who opens himself to life. This was a very marked and precious trait of his personality.

The third dimension is the hidden source that directs the other two: interiority. It is composed of ethics and religion, impossible to develop if one does not incarnate what is classically called true love. It is difficult to be just without it, and it is impossible to have it without a God who gives it to you, for he is unattainable to our strength. Henry had, above all, an immense heart, with a true love for everyone and everything, starting with that God who gave it to him.

In character, complete. In style, perfect. In interiority, complete. In all, the simple greatness of one who strove to live with perfection, not in ordinary life, but herself, according to the spirit of St. Josemaría.

The main mistake of our futuristic, technological and wealth-obsessed culture is the neglect of the family. We are already experiencing its consequences in a thousand visible or hidden details; on the whole, this is a civilization with an expiration date. By contributing to the common good in the most fundamental way, that is, by providing children and educating them, it contributes at the same time to the person achieving that serenity, balance, joy, security, which are the basis of happiness. Enrique de Sendagorta formed an extraordinary family, together with his wife, María Luz Gomendio, a wonderful person. They had six children, and if grandchildren and great-grandchildren are added, the figure rises to sixty-eight. Enrique lives on in them, in his companies and in those of us who loved him with all our hearts.