Chiara Lubich recounts to a group of young people, the mystical experience of the summer of 1949 which laid the foundations for the nascent Focolare Movement.[more]
In the summer of 1949, the deputy in government Igino Giordani, who had met the spiritaulity of unity just a few months before, joined Chiara Lubich who had gone for a rest in the Valley of Primiero in Tonadico, in the mountains of Trent, in northern Italy. Together with the small community of Trent, which was now swarming in several other cities of Italy, he had lived with intensity the phrase from the Gospel of Matthew concerning the abandonment of Jesus on the cross.Chiara would later write about that special summer: “While 1943 marked the beginning of the Movement, 1949 was a giant leap forward. Some unexpected circumstances – but foreseen by Providence – meant that the first little group of us who had begun the Movement should spend some time away from the “world” in the mountains. We had to spend some time away from people, but we couldn’t distance ourselves from our new way of living, which gave meaning to our existence. A tiny and rustic little mountain hut welcomed us into its poverty. We were alone, alone among ourselves, with our great ideal that we lived moment by moment with the Eucharistic Jesus, the Bond of Unity upon whom we drew each day. We were alone to rest, in prayer and meditation.
And that is when a moment of particular graces began. We had the impression that the Lord threw open the Kingdom of God that was among us, to the eyes of our soul. It was like the Trinity living in one cell of the Mystical Body: “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name (. . .) so that they may be one as we are one” (Jn 17:12). And we were given to understand that the Movement which was being born would be nothing less than a mystical presence of Mary in the Church. Naturally, we would never have left those mountains, little Tabor of our soul, if the will of God had not been otherwise. And it was only because of our love for Jesus Crucified and Forsaken living in humanity, which is so immersed in darkness, who gave us the courage to come down from the mountains.” (1)
On another occasion Chiara said: “A particularly luminous period began in which, among other things, it seemed that God wanted to make understand something about his plan for our Movement.”
In the years that remained, Chiara never did anything but try to realize what had been given to her during that summer of light.
(1) Chiara Lubich, in Scritti Spirituali/3, Rome 1996, pp 41-42.
This year, as the Movement marks its 70th anniversary we continue with a series on the history of the Focolare, presenting some foundational moments that were the cause of the birth, development and spreading of the Movement around the world.[more]