Ginetta Calliari

From Trent to Brazil, with a ‘living’ crucifix in her heart. (5th October 1918- 8th March 2001)

«Sine sanguinis effusione non fit remissio» Ginetta (Luigia Calliari) used to recite. And, since her encounter with Chiara Lubich in 1944, difficulties were never lacking for Ginetta, but neither were the countless fruits that she brought about right up until that 8th March 10 years ago.

Immediate and radical cohesion to Chiara’s Ideal; an unconditional ‘yes’ to God who, in 1959, brought her and a small group of focolarini to Brazil, where a small community of young people were attracted by the Ideal of Unity.

Ever since she started working in an agricultural business, before the beginning of the Second World War, social inequalities and discrimination were unbearable for Ginetta. Arriving on Brazilian soil, the blatant gap between rich and poor left a deep mark on her.

Remember that the poor are the movement’s focus point in Brazil”. This was the mission that Chiara Lubich gave just before the group’s departure.

The years that followed saw the multiplication of focolares in this immense South American country, where there are now over 300, 000 members of the movement; much of this is thanks to Ginetta’s ‘active’ faith in carrying out the Will of God. “Right from the beginning we felt that God alone, by changing people’s hearts, had the power resolve the social problems”, Ginetta said, “I didn’t bring the iron cross that I’d received as a child with me, but the living crucifix that I found in the heart of the people I met”.

Economy of Communion and Political Movement for Unity: two of the answers that the Focolare Movement proposes as a contribution to resolving the many social problems in the country. Both inspirations of Chiara Lubich, Ginetta was their “spur” on Brazilian soil.

“I see just how much those who visit are impressed; they say ‘this is what the world should be like. Here we find happiness”- Ginetta’s words when speaking about the industrial centre in the focolare movement’s ‘little town’ in Brazil that now bears her name.

Ginetta Calliari’s beatification process opened on 8th March 2007. The packed cathedral for ceremony confirmed that Ginetta’s life continues to bring extraordinary fruit. Mons. Ersilio Turco in his sermon recalled: “Ginetta not only lead people to a relationship with Jesus but also to a deep commitment in their Christian vocation within society; a pathway to sainthood that generated transformation”.

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