Rafael was a competitive runner winning bronze in an intercollegiate sports competition while studying at the Opus Dei-run Colegio El Prado in Madrid, where he received his first communion and where he was confirmed. As a student, he acted in school plays. He got married in 1997 to Isabel with whom he has four sons: Alvaro (aged 17) Rafael (15), Thomas (13) and Assisi (11). The four boys attend Gaztelueta College. Of Scottish descent, Rafael’s forebears got involved in Spanish politics and, through public service, earned the admiration of the Spanish Crown, which bestowed upon their family a title of nobility.
“We are a practicing Catholic family, and my wife and I direct all ours efforts towards both the human and spiritual formation of our children. We are convinced that our faith is the most important legacy we can give them,” Rafael says. Before returning home to his Catholic faith, Rafael was adrift in his spiritual life, caught up in the pursuit of providing a good life for himself and his family. Although his efforts were crowned with the commercial success of Trattoria La Casetta (www.restauranteitaliano.com), a restaurant he owns in Getxo, it left an arid spot in his soul.
To paraphrase a French philosopher and moralist, out of difficulties grew the small miracle that restored his religious beliefs. Tension at home with his eldest son’s difficulties in school and other family issues almost posed an obstacle to his path towards his own Road to Damascus. Rafael recalls how it occurred: “The first time I heard of Medjugorje was from one of my sisters returning from a trip there in May 2010. Her enthusiasm and excitement about her trip encouraged her to return along with her three older children during the first week of August the following year, perhaps to escape the horde of at least 50,000 youth delegates who descended on Madrid for