Mary, the Mother of God, has been present in the life of the Movement since the beginning, and even before that through an experience Chiara Lubich had in 1939 when visiting the little house of the family of Nazareth in the shrine at Loreto, Italy. Chiara very often recalled an episode when, during heavy bombing in the Second World War, which could have killed her and her first companions, she understood something about Mary:
‘Covered with dust that completely filled the air, almost miraculously I was able to stand up, and in the midst of the cries of those around me, I said to my companions “ I had felt a deep sorrow in my soul as my life was in danger: it was the sorrow of no longer being able to recite on earth the Hail Mary”. At that time I could not grasp the sense of those thoughts. Perhaps it was to explain that being given life again, through the grace of God, we would be able to give glory to Mary with the Movement that was being born’. The fact that the official name for the Focolare Movement is the’ Work of Mary’ comes as no surprise. Nor is it so strange that we use the title Mariapolis (City of Mary) for many things: the main meetings of the Movement are known as Mariapolis as are the little towns. Each conference centre is known as a Mariapolis Centre and there is also a Mariapolis magazine.