Youngest of four children. Studied at the seminary of the Universidad Pontificia Comillas from 1943 to 1948, then in Salamanca, Spain from 1948 to 1953. Ordained in the archdiocese of Toledo, Spain on 4 April 1953. Curate of the parish of Saint Thomas from 1953 to 1955, and then treasurer of Totanes in Toledo from 1955 to 1956. Spiritual director in the seminary in Salamanca from 1957 to 1963, the seminary in Toledo from 1965 to 1970, the seminary in Palencia, Spain from 1970 to 1975, and in Toledo from 1975 to 1991. Taught spiritual theology in Palencia and Toledo. Noted lecturer and retreat director throughout Spain. Wrote several of works on spirituality.
- 25 March 1991 in Toledo, Spain following a heart attack
- he had donated his body to the medical faculty of the University of Madrid, Spain, but Cardinal Marcelo González Martín, archbishop of Toledo, asked for and received the body
- Father José was interred in the chapel of the diocesan seminary church of Saint Bartholomew in Toledo
- “Venerable José Rivera Ramírez“. CatholicSaints.Info. 3 October 2015. Web. 19 February 2017. <>