At the time that Chiara and her first companions began their adventure in Trent (Northern Italy) the town had a population of about ten thousand. The girls’ actions had a real effect on the people and also on the Church. Both the elderly and the young were left speechless seeing the unusual life lived by the girls living in the ‘little house’ in Piazza Cappuccini, the first ‘focolare’. In this humble apartment the poor were at home. In fact the social problems of the city, ruined by the War, were problems the girls made their own. They believed that they could solve the problems by simply believing the truth in the words of the Gospel. By loving each neighbour one after the other.

Chiara wrote: ‘Among all the Words in the gospel we noticed immediately all those for our charism concerned specifically with evangelical love towards each neighbour, not only the poor, as when we read in the Gospel that Jesus had said “Whenever you did this for one of the least important of these brothers of mine (and that means everyone), you did it for me.” (Mt 25,40). Our old way of understanding our neighbour and loving them crumbled. If Christ was in some way in everyone, discriminations couldn’t be made, nor could preferences. Our normal way of reasoning of classifying people was thrown into the air: fellow country man or foreigner, old or young, beautiful or ugly, likeable or not, rich or poor, Christ was behind each one, Christ was in each one. “Another Christ” really was each neighbour – if grace enriched his soul – or “another Christ”, a Christ proud – if he was still far from Him.

Living like this, we realised that our neighbour was our way to reach God. It seemed that our neighbour was an arch we had to pass under in order to meet God. We experienced this right from the start. In the evening, during prayers or in a moment of recollection, after we had loved God in our brothers all day we had such union with God.  Who gave us that consolation, that interior balm which was so new, celestial if not Christ who, from His Gospel lived “give and you shall be given”? (Lk 6,38) We had loved Him all day in those brothers and now He loved us. This inner gift was such a benefit! They were the first experiences of the spiritual life, of the reality of a kingdom which is not of this earth. So, in the marvellous way that the Spirit showed us, love for our brother was a new cornerstone of our spirituality.’

Daily Life

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Argentina: the unusual loot of a burglary

Argentina: the unusual loot of a burglary

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This is the ongoing adventure of Anita, a girl from Córdoba who, after an aggression in the house of friends, is making an effort to forgive. She has discovered that every reconciliation is a brick in building peace, even in one’s own country.

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Nigeria. Yakoko and the gift of rain

Nigeria. Yakoko and the gift of rain

In the rural villages of North-Eastern Nigeria, the drought is creating huge problems for the population. From Onitsha (a 24-hour journey away), some youths and adults of the Focolare went to visit to share the situation and bring some material and spiritual help.

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Articles

EXPO: Solar Power Cookers For Haiti

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EXPO: Solar Power Cookers For Haiti

Helping to relieve poverty in Haiti while resolving the environmental problem. The Cucine solari per Mont -Organizé Project,presented at EXPO Milano 2015 in the Cascina Trulza-Civil Society Pavilion.

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Graziella De Luca

Graziella De Luca

She was part of that first group of the growing Focolare Movement in Trent and she devoted her time to the expansion of the ideal of unity among different peoples and cultures embracing the poor and disadvantaged in humanity (March 21, 1925 – May 9, 2015)

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