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Turn to Jesus (Article)

“God Asked this Mission of Me”
An interview with Cristina Danel

Cristina Danel
Cristina Danel

Cristina Danel was born in Mexico. Her mother was Cuban and her father was Spanish.  She is the oldest of three children.  Her brothers are married.  Since she was consecrated, she has lived with her 95-year-old grandmother, which she believes is a beautiful “apostolate.”  She defines herself as an intense and passionate person. As a girl, she was restless and mischievous, the least calm of her siblings. She described herself as a prankster, and her little brother followed her lead.  She also loves tennis and wanted to be a professional tennis player.

1. How did you get to know the Regnum Christi movement?

I was invited to collaborate with Fundación México Unido, which was about to begin. It was the door that allowed me to first get to know the Legionaries, and afterward the whole reality of the movement.

I have a great love for Regnum Christi because it was the means that God used so I would have a profound conversion. I lived very far from my faith for many years. During my time at my university, I even renounced my faith.  But God, who is the Good Shepherd, who always goes in search of the lost sheep, was searching for me tirelessly.  Thanks to the movement’s crossing the path of my life, I could really experience the love of God profoundly, and my conversion was radical.

2. How would you describe yourself in a job interview?

Whatever I do, I do with passion, with my whole heart. I give myself and commit myself.  I like teamwork, I am responsible and transparent. I like honesty.  I know how to recognize my mistakes. What most moves me in life is to help and serve others.  Life is a mission and presents us with an infinite number of opportunities to love one another. It’s only a question of taking advantage of these opportunities.

3. When you were little, what did you dream of being?

I dreamed of being an astronaut. I was always fascinated with outer space, the cosmos and its vastness.  If I could travel one day to the moon I would do it to be able to contemplate the greatness of outer space.

4. Tell us something that has changed in you or your vision of our life during this year dedicated to the revision of the Statutes.

It has been a difficult time, but at the same time, it has been a time of blessing and an infinity of graces. Many things have changed.  We have learned a lot of lessons. One of the principal ones is that it helped us to know ourselves much more and to seek the identity that God has intended for us. We have learned to be more like sisters, merciful and open, to allow ourselves to be more open to what is essential, to Christ and the Gospel, and to do this serving others.
It has helped me to understand the suffering of others -- that life is made up of lights and shadows. It isn’t linear.  It has high and low points, but in the end, the grace of God is always greater, and He does not leave the side of mankind for one instant.  It has been a stage of profound maturing, purification and renewal on all levels.

5. What did you feel when you were elected? When the cardinal asked you if you would accept, what did you think about? Explain to us what will change in your life.

First of all, I had the absolute certainty that it was God who was asking this mission of me.  He called me and sent me.  It was a surprise, but at the same time it was clear at that moment my desire to say like Mary, “Lord, here is your handmaid. Be it done unto me according to your word.”

Doing this implies leaving Juventud y Familia Misionera, and the apostolic projects we have been developing in the Mexico territory, which had been an inestimable gift of God for me. But I know the gift isn’t mine.

It is a personal call that takes over my heart so that, at every moment, God can count on me, in spite of my limitations, to help the government and my sisters in the best way I can.  If I accepted, it was for God.  And I carry each one of my sisters in my heart and I want to serve them, including those that I don’t know as much as those that I know.  I have loved them in a real way from the minute I accepted my mission, which is possible with the grace of God.

6. What has been your experience working with the other branches of the movement?

I have spent twenty years working with all the branches. My experience has been extraordinary, in that I see that we are a family, where each one of the parts complements the other.  I see that we all need each other and no one exists without the other.  I also see that in spite of the difficulties and disagreements, in general and above all, a spirit of family reigns, without idealizing it.  I see that there are good dispositions and we are in process.  We are trying out a model where work is segmented, like a work apprenticeship, that will be done in a unified and coordinated way. It’s necessary to help the localities to reach harmony in the mission.  That is a great challenge.  I also think it’s important to learn to center ourselves in the essential priorities, and not lose ourselves in secondary things.

7. Give us four key words to describe this new page of our history.


8. What would you most like to tell the other consecrated members?

I want to tell each one that I am here to serve, that I keep everyone in my prayers and that I place myself at their disposition. I am very proud of each of the consecrated woman, spread throughout the world, and I think that each one is a gift of God.  The world needs God and each consecrated woman is an incredible testimony of the love of God. We can never be discouraged. We need to keep on being who we are.  The world needs us.

Cristina studied chemical engineering at the Universidad Iberoamericana and has worked apostolically in Mexico City directing VIA, Red Mision and Juventud y Familia Misionera. Before coming to the Assembly, she was a territorial councilor for the apostolic area in Mexico.  She is 46 years old and has been consecrated for 12 years.



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