At 85 years of age one of the initiators of the Neocatechumenal Way, Carmen Hernandez, died in Madrid.
She was one main supporters of the itinerary of Catholic Formation, which was offered in parishes around the world.
In Rome, her meetings with each Pope have left a profound impact. Pope Francis met with her for the last time in March, when he blessed hundreds of Neocatechumenal families who were sent on mission to countries where Catholics are a minority.
"I will remain here, but my heart goes with you."
Pope Francis also spoke to Hernandez by phone for the last time on July 1. Her most remembered meeting was with Benedict XVI, when they celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Neocatechumenal Way.
Carmen Hernandez was a brave, direct woman. She always spoke bluntly.
Initiator, Neocatechumenal Way
"The Neocatechumenal Way is a Christian initiation, which is neither a movement or an association. It is the Church. It is Baptism. It is very important that it depends on the bishops and the Holy Father. That's why it's especially easy for me to work with Kiko Argüello."
She spoke without fear and was very determined. Her strong character caused her to joke with Kiko Argüello in public when he tried to end a speech that had continued too long. Her reaction caused the Pope to smile.
"Given the difficulties the Church faces in the world today, with so many "satans” rising, with too many dollars and euros and capital, but they can't beat the Church, Holy Father."
"Wait, one minute, I'm not finished yet.”
The Neocatechumenal Way was born in the slums of Madrid in the late 60s, but now more than a million people follow their proposal. It also has more than 100 missionary diocesan seminaries worldwide.