Beatification Cause Opened for Neocatechumenal Way Co-Founder Carmen Hernández

“There are many who want to come and say even just a ‘thank you’ to Carmen for what, directly or indirectly, she has done for their life,” the postulator said.

Carmen Hernandez speaks at World Youth Day in Madrid in 2011.
Carmen Hernandez speaks at World Youth Day in Madrid in 2011. (photo: Bernabé V. via Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0 / Bernabé V. via Wikipedia)

A request has been made to open the beatification cause of Carmen Hernández, co-founder of the Neocatechumenal Way, who died five years ago at the age of 85.

On July 19, the anniversary of the Spanish woman’s death, Cardinal Carlos Osoro, the archbishop of Madrid, offered Mass in the Cathedral of Santa María la Real de la Almudena.

At the Mass, Cardinal Osoro was presented with the “Supplex Libellus,” a collection of documents requesting that the diocesan phase of Hernández’s cause for beatification be officially opened.

“Carmen wanted in her life to be a spokesperson for Jesus Christ,” Cardinal Osoro said in his homily. “How many times do we hear from her own lips that what man needs most is to love with the love of Christ himself and to experience the love of the Lord?”

Hernández, who died in 2016, founded the Neocatechumenal Way together with Kiko Argüello in Spain in 1964.

The ecclesial movement draws its inspiration from the practices of the early Catholic Church, providing “post-baptismal” Christian formation in some 40,000 small, parish-based communities.

The movement is present all over the world and has an estimated membership of more than a million people.

According to Vida Nueva magazine, the postulator for Hernández’s cause, Carlos Metola, has begun investigations into the co-founder’s life and has already collected more than 16,000 pages. The next step, if the request to open the cause is granted, will be recording statements from witnesses, historians and theologians.

Speaking to Vatican News ahead of the July 19 Mass at the Madrid cathedral, Metola said: “There are many who want to come and say even just a ‘thank you’ to Carmen for what, directly or indirectly, she has done for their life.”

Hernández was born in Ólvega, Spain, but mostly grew up in Tudela. She studied chemistry in Madrid and afterward joined the Institute of Missionaries of Christ Jesus. After graduating with a degree in theology, she started the Neocatechumenal Way with Argüello.

In the interview with Vatican News, Metola said that Hernández was a prolific writer and notetaker.

“Carmen wrote every day and every night, after having lived a tiring day or even traveling for hours; already at dawn, she woke up and wrote about what had happened to her,” he said.

“She also surprised us by the quantity of her studies and her research: many drafts, annotations on the Fathers of the Church or on the origins of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, the roots of the Jewish Passover,” he continued. “She was a true researcher; she tried to prepare well before any speech or catechesis.”

“Kiko talked more; Carmen wrote a lot. In many of the books in her library (about 5,000 volumes), there is often a ‘K’ marked in red. They were the books she wanted to pass on to Kiko for him to read and study.”

This story was updated on July 21 with new information to clarify that the opening of the cause was requested, rather than granted, at the Mass in Madrid.

Shannon Mullen, Editor-in-Chief of CNA

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A new era has begun at the Catholic News Agency even as the news cycle continues to bring challenging stories both inside the Church and around the world. This week on Register Radio, we get to know Shannon Mullen, the new editor-in-chief of CNA. And then, we are joined by the Register’s Washington Correspondent, Lauretta Brown, to catch up on the latest pro-life news from the nation’s capital.