Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, Luly Fernández grew up in a large and loving Catholic family with four sisters and two brothers. When Luly was 12 years old, one of her older sisters became a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi, but it wasn’t until she attended a retreat when she was 18 years old that Luly began to feel her own call to a deeper and more intimate friendship with Christ. At the time, however, Luly had a boyfriend, whom she continued to date for nearly five and a half years, and even made plans to marry in the summer. Luly ended up pursuing a BA in Business Administration from the Institute of Technology of Higher Studies in Monterrey, and then worked for a year in the personnel department of a stock company, but even here, through her service of others, Christ continued to call her to something more.
But one day while in church, while she was looking at her boyfriend and looking at the tabernacle, Luly suddenly knew that Christ was asking her to discern her vocation in an even deeper way. Shortly afterward, Luly broke up with her boyfriend and began a more intense discernment process. Throughout this time, Luly continued to feel signs of Christ’s presence in her life and her call to consecrated life, and finally, on the Feast of the Assumption on August 15th, 1993, Luly began the adventure of her life as a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi.
When Luly chose to answer the call to consecrated life, she knew there would be two things that would be especially difficult for her to let go. The first was her beautiful family in Mexico – since consecrated women make a promise of availability, promising always to go where God needs them most, Luly knew this would mean leaving her family behind to follow Christ. The second was the possibility of becoming a mother and having a family herself. “I knew how hard it would be to leave the possible family I could have built with my boyfriend, so I told Jesus, ‘you’re going to have to make yourself really present in my life!’”
And although Christ continued to make himself truly present and very real to Luly throughout the first years of her consecrated life, she still struggled to offer up the sacrifice of physical motherhood, particularly when she was around little babies. One day, in her suffering, Luly decided to make Jesus a deal. “I just told him, ‘Look, Jesus, it’s always such a blessing to see a baby because I know they’re a gift to the world, but it’s hard to offer that up for you, so every time I see a baby, I’m going to ask for something – I’m going to ask you to empty purgatory.’ And so, throughout her entire life as a consecrated woman, Luly has continued to ask Christ for this favor every time she sees a baby. “I know it’s a huge favor that I’m asking, but I know he can do it, unite my little sacrifice to his huge sacrifice on the cross, and I believe he has done that, and this has helped me so much in perseverance in my vocation.”
And on August 15th of this year, the Feast of the Assumption and the date of Luly’s 30th anniversary of consecrated life, she received a special grace as an anniversary gift from Christ. After receiving communion, Luly knelt in her pew to pray with her eyes closed. For a brief moment, she Luly opened her eyes, and just as she did, a woman walked by with a beautiful newborn baby asleep on her chest. “Here we go again with this sacrifice,” Luly thought to herself but all at once she knew that Jesus had wanted her to experience that suffering, and to offer it up. “I felt Jesus saying, ‘I wanted you to see the baby, because I wanted you to ask me to empty purgatory.’ He wanted to fulfill the promises he made me. Those words spoken during that Mass, “Blessed is she who believed that the promises of the Lord would be fulfilled,” have accompanied me throughout my whole jubilee year leading up to my 30th anniversary, and they were spoken to me then in that moment, and that was a huge grace that I received on the day of my anniversary.”
Over her 30 years of consecrated life, Luly has served in a large variety of apostolates in several different fields. Luly has obtained a Masters in Guidance and Counseling and a Doctorate in Education, and she continues to receive certificate training in a variety of areas that help her in her pastoral work, like management, leadership, and education. After becoming consecrated, Luly was involved in the Mater Ecclesiae College in Greenville, Rhode Island, where she later became director and president, and then in 2011, Luly served as Territorial Director for New York for one year, before heading to Rome to serve as General Counselor until 2014. She then became Vice Director of Le Chatelard Academy, an international boarding school in Switzerland until 2021.
Currently, Luly is serving in Washington, DC where her pastoral work with women and families consists of offering talks and retreats at Our Lady of Bethesda Retreat Center and local parishes, leading pilgrimages, and facilitating gatherings for couples where they can reflect on the sacrament of marriage and nourish their relationships. Luly also serves as a board member at Divine Mercy University.
One of Luly’s favorite roles is her work in women’s ministry, where she has the opportunity to accompany, guide, and learn from, the women she serves. One of the women that Luly accompanies spiritually is Pilar Dickens, who calls spiritual coaching one of the best things that has ever happened to her:
“Luly provides a space for reflection that gives me time to think about not only what I need to change, but also what I’m proud of, what I can keep working on, and what I’m grateful for, and I always leave feeling so supported, with clear, positive goals. I’ve been so lucky to have someone like Luly who is there for me, sees me as I am, and hears me without judging, and it’s so easy to connect with her because her heart is always open. She is such a great example – so loving and full of joy, so humble and wise at the same time. Her spirituality, kindness, empathy, and ability to give great advice or share useful tools have made a big difference in my life and my relationship with God, and I feel so blessed and grateful to be able to count on her.”
And how will Luly be celebrating her 30th anniversary? “The best way to celebrate my anniversary is with a Eucharistic celebration – the Mass, there couldn’t be a better gift than that!” In fact, Luly’s celebrations include two Masses: the first one was celebrated on August 30th in Mexico with family, friends, Regnum Christi members, and three fellow consecrated women from Monterrey, and the second will be held in Maryland on September 10th.
But Luly takes no personal credit for her perseverance and fidelity throughout the 30 years of consecrated life – she owes everything to God. “The biggest lesson that I’ve learned in my consecrated life so far has been Jesus’ mercy – I am so little, but our Lord is great and merciful. Even my fidelity is thanks to his fidelity and mercy,” says Luly. “When I used to tell my vocation story, I would say ‘In the end, Jesus won!’ But now I realize that the one who won was me – in choosing Jesus, I won so much more, and it took me 30 years to realize that!”