Unity
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A Fair Primiero in the early days of the Focolare Movement

Paul VI stated that the new path traced out by Chiara Lubich and born from the Gospel, is a spirituality of communion. But what are its characteristics? What events led to the certainty that they were born to contribute to everyone’s unity with God and one another? Let us find out. In May of 1944, gathered together in the darkened cellar which had become the bedroom of Natalia Dallapiccola in the basement of her family home – she had moved there to find some protection from the bombardments – Chiara and her friends from Trent read the Gospel by the light of a candle.

They opened it by chance to the passage containing Jesus’ last prayer before his death: “Father, that all be one” (Jn 17:21). This is an extraordinary and complex text, Jesus’ “testament”, which has been studied by scholars and theologians throughout the Christian world. But in those days it was a bit forgotten, because it was so mysterious, to say the least. This passage could have seemed too difficult for young women like Chiara, Natalia, Doriana and Graziella. Yet they sensed that this was their “word of the Gospel: Unity.” On one of those days in Trent, crossing the Fersina Bridge, Chiara had told one of these companions: “I’ve understood how we are to love each other according to the Gospel: to the point of being consumed in one.” Later, in Christmas 1946, the girls chose a radical phrase which would be their motto: “Unity or death.”

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