Servant of God Antoni Gaudi

Architect (1852–1926)  
  • Post author:
  • Reading time:2 mins read
You are currently viewing Servant of God Antoni Gaudi
Sagrada Familia Photo from Wikimedia Commons

In 1883 Antoni Gaudí, a young architect in Barcelona, was offered the task of designing and building the Church of the Holy Family, a project sponsored by a lay association and relying entirely on individual donations. Gaudí was, in some ways, a surprising choice. Though hailed as a creative genius whose work combined an eclectic range of styles, he was also something of a dandy. Yet he took on the project with almost single-minded dedication. The church became more and more ambitious. Incorporating inlaid ceramics, wrought iron, and original sculpture, it began to grow into an astonishing work of art—a reflection of the artist’s imagination but also, increasingly, a reflection of his growing faith.  

As his church began to take shape, Gaudí grew closer to the One he called “the greatest master builder.” He adopted an ascetic life, dressing as a workman, fasting frequently, and attending daily Mass. While also designing many other buildings, Holy Family became his central work. In the last months of his life he slept on a cot in the church. On June 7, 1926, he was struck by a streetcar. Mistaken for a beggar, he was taken to the charity ward of the local hospital, where he died on June 10.  

Though work on the Church of the Holy Family continues to this day, it has long been recognized as one of the world’s architectural treasures. In 1999 it was also named as a basilica. Its architect has been proposed as a candidate for canonization.  

“Beauty is the image of truth.” —Antoni Gaudí 

© Liturgical Press.

Robert Ellsberg

Robert Ellsberg is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Orbis Books and the author of several award-winning books, including All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time; Blessed Among All Women; and The Saints' Guide to Happiness.

Sign up for our daily prayer emails