|Mari Carmen Ávila |
Mari Carmen Ávila was born in Mexico D.F. and is
the oldest of six children. Her father was in the
military and went to live in Mexico after the war,
and her mother is from Puebla. Hers is a family
of deeply rooted Spanish traditions, and they are very proud
of telling others about their genealogy, which includes three saints:
St. Francis Xavier, St. Francis Solanus and St. John of
Avila. Something which distinguishes her family is their unity and
their faith life. At Christmas, before dinner, the youngest family
member places the Child Jesus in the manger, and on
Good Friday everyone goes to pray the Way of the
Cross at the local parish.
1. How did you get
to know the movement?
I knew about it since 1971. My
brothers went to the Cumbres school. I knew the Legionaries
when they were with the Jesuits and my sisters were
the first generation to graduate from the Colegio del Bosque.
I was an alumna of Anahuac University.
My first experiences
with the movement were with Fr. Rodero when he was
still a brother in apostolic practices. He was very close
to my family even when he returned to Rome, and
this made a deep impression on me. I knew the
consecrated women from the Bosque school, although I must admit
that the ones who attracted me more were the Legionaries,
and not so much the consecrated. It took a long
time for me to join the movement because I already
had my prayer life and apostolate.
For the last three
years of school, I was an English teacher. I studied
industrial design, which is what I really like because it
combines the artistic with the architectural and engineering. I like
to invent. My mother offered me a job as an
English teacher at the Colegio del Bosque, where I worked
for six years. There I saw the consecrated women, and
their “suffering” I witnessed changed the poor opinion I had
had of them.
I joined the movement when I saw
the change in my brothers. To see one of them
praying the rosary regularly over four years convinced me that
I would join. Finally I joined at the age of
24 and I was consecrated at age 25, having slowly
grown deeper in my self-giving as a member of the
On the day of my confirmation, I consecrated myself
spiritually to God, and gave myself to the Holy Spirit.
When I joined Regnum Christi, I knew from the first
moment by intuition that it would culminate in consecration. I
was going to be a co-worker stationed in Madrid, but
I never made it there because God had called me
to give my whole life.
2. If this were a
job interview, how would you describe yourself?
I commit myself
to the end, with all the consequences, in all the
details. I have to put color and references to everything.
I don’t like boring things. My Outlook email is pink,
and I always use distinctive fonts. I love working with
a team. At times I “play the fool,” although everyone
thinks I’m incredibly serious.
3. When you were little, what
did you want to be?
A ballerina and a singer.
My dad took me once to see a clown, and
when the clown invited the audience to sing with him,
I ran out to join him.
4. Tell us something
that has changed in you or your vision of our
life during this year we dedicated to the revision of
The greatest task has been to allow time
for the grace of God to touch hearts, so that
God and the Holy Spirit touches and uplifts souls. Because
I am very practical and I can see things clearly,
I act. This year has been the total opposite --
having to wait to give time to God and see
how He touches souls to bring them where He wants
them, so that they take this path in personal freedom
and not because you tell them to.
5. During this time
of reflection and prayer with the community, what have you
At the beginning it was brutal, because I wanted
to experience something similar to what happened in the territorial
assemblies. I was nervous because I didn’t know what my
future would be. I spent the week before the election
making acts of trust and abandonment.
It gives me a
lot of joy to see people who have spent a
lot of time without seeing, discovering that, in the essential
and the fundamental, we are in agreement. The prayer that
we made together in the chapel one day when we
were reflecting on the spirit helped me, because I heard
many others crying, and I see these tears as the
desire that we not lose the gift that God has
6. What did you feel when you were
elected? Tell us what will change in your life.
confirmed in me a desire that he had put in
my heart, which is to serve and to work to
build, because I always had apostolates where you had to
take what was there and rebuild with patience. I felt
a confirmation from God that this desire was from Him
and not my own.
By nature I am much more apostolic.
To be in my office is costly. I start climbing
the walls. It hurts me in my soul to not
be able to give spiritual direction. It hurts me to
not have contact with people in apostolate.
7. What has
been your experience working with the other branches of the
Working with the consecrated men, for me it has
been a total discovery, because in our life we never
shared a word with them. With the Legionaries there has
always been a special appreciation. God asked a lot of
me to be spiritually close to them, to speak to
them and to tell them what I see, what I
think and feel. It has helped me a lot to
give them encouragement, to help them raise their eyes, and
bring them hope and confidence.
8. How did the presence of
the members of the other branches contribute to the assembly?
It helped us to better know Fr. Sylvester. He is
very human and “normal.” That helped us not to create
barriers or difficulties. Jorge Lopez and Felix Gomez Rueda showed
a lot of interest and real appreciation. Iliano Piccolo put
himself deeply into everything and gave some extremely valuable comments,
showing a real care and affection for us.
do you envision for the next 6 years?
new stage, where what we see on the horizon is
to build and go forward. I get excited about the
work of the council because I know the other members
well and they are people that I can work with
in a team. I also get excited about being able
to show the affection I feel for the movement and
the consecrated women.
10. Give us four key words for
this new page of our history that we are beginning
would you most like to share or impart to the
other consecrated members? Do you have some message for them?
For me, the basis of all this is in the
encounter with Love and the response in love, and that
I hope every one of us is centered on this.
Mari Carmen studied industrial design at the Anahuac University and
also has a licentiate degree in education and development. She
has served apostolically in Rome, Switzerland, France, Spain and Mexico
directing educational institutes, and working with young people and adults
for 22 years. She has also collaborated in the formation
of consecrated women. She has been a member of the
general council for a year and a half. She is
54 years old and has been consecrated for 29 years.