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Inside the mind of the co-founder of the Neocatechumenal Way

It was a long road for the co-founder of the Neocatechumenal Way before she decided on the innovative catechesis for adults proposed by Kiko Argüello.

She wanted to be a missionary, so she was devastated when her congregation told her she couldn't make her final vows.

It's what Aquilino Cayuela shares in the book, “Carmen Hernández, Biographical Notes.” He explains how Carmen Hernández's encounter with Fr. Pedro Farnés played a key role in that jarring moment.

Author, “Carmen Hernández, Biographical Notes”
“She's going through this moment of suffering, because she doesn't want to leave the congregation. She wants to be a nun. She wants to be a missionary. But she's going through what she calls a sort of Gethsemane, a sort of passion, and through the teachings of this priest, Fr. Pedro Farnés, she acquires a better understanding of the outcome of the (Second Vatican) Council.”

Carmen understood the consequent shift in the celebration of the Mass: from a focus on the mystery of the liturgy to an emphasis on the people's participation. She also recognized the importance of turning to Jewish tradition to better understand the faith.

Aquilino Cayuela explains that Carmen ended up making these key elements a central part of the Neocatechumenal Way. But Fr. Farnés wasn't the only influence on Carmen Hernández.

Author, “Carmen Hernández, Biographical Notes”
“When she was studying chemistry in Madrid, her spiritual director, who was a Jesuit, introduced her to the Scriptures. Despite her very young age, she read Scripture with a lot of maturity.”

Aquilino Cayuela explains that when Carmen Hernández founds the Neocatechumenal Way, she is also reflecting on the need for celibacy.

Author, “Carmen Hernández, Biographical Notes”
“She wonders about her status. In her journal, she writes down the response she receives from the Lord: 'You marry the mission.' That's when she decides to consecrate her life to the mission.”

With this book, Aquilino Cayuela sheds light on the personal life of the co-founder of the Neocatechumenal Way.

Cayuela wrote the book after seeing people's deep devotion to Carmen Hernández. She died in 2016 at 85 years old. Since her death, her tomb has received over 40,000 visits.

Javier Romero