The siblings of Alexia Gonzalez-Barros y Gonzalez, whose cause of beatification is underway, have sent a letter to Spanish filmmaker Javier Fesser protesting the distortion of the girl’s history and her family’s attitude in response to her death in 1985.
Alexia, the youngest daughter of an Opus Dei family, died after a battle with cancer. Fesser used her story, without the family’s consent, in a new film entitled “Camino,” which was presented at the San Sebastian Film Festival, where it was given a tepid reception. It is scheduled to hit theaters in Spain in mid-October.
Fesser’s film, which he says is “pure fiction,” gives an erroneous portrayal of the young girl’s story and claims her cause for beatification is a fraud. It ends with a dedication to the memory of Alexia Gonzalez-Barros y Gonzalez.
Alfredo González-Barros González, who signed the letter in name of all of Alexia’s siblings, told Fesser: “I sat down to watch your press conference at the San Sebastian Festival with one objective: I wanted to hear how you would explain to journalists why you never contacted us and why you have not honored our formal request to remove the explicit reference to Alexia in your film.”
In the past, the family members had written Fesser, who responded that there was no intention “to use the name of Alexia, nor to make any reference to her or to her cause of beatification as part of the film’s marketing.” Nevertheless, the girl’s name was indeed used. The new letter took issue with the portrayal of family as “applauding at the time of Alexia’s death.”
“Such an unjust and terrible claim pains my soul,” Alexia’s brother wrote. “It shouldn’t be necessary for me to tell you that my sister Alexia did not die surrounded by applause. She died surrounded by affection. The affection of her beloved ones: her parents and brothers and sisters, and with the silent respect of the nurses and doctors who came to her room on their own,” he said.
Alexia “died while we tried to hold back our tears,” he continued, “because—and don’t forget this—for us it was truly difficult to think that we would have to endure her loss.”
Alexia González-Barros y González was born in Madrid on March 7, 1971. She was the youngest of seven brothers and sisters. Her parents, Francisco and Moncha, brought her up in an atmosphere of freedom, affection and joy. The day after her first communion, on May 9, 1979, she attended John Paul II’s audience at the Vatican. The Pope blessed her and kissed her forehead. She led a normal life, studying and thinking about the future with her friends. She accepted her illness from the beginning and offered her sufferings for the Church, the Pope and for the world.