Anyone who has had the privilege of knowing Valeria Ronchetti personally can testify to the extraordinary spiritual strength of this exceptional woman and of all the first focolarine who began what she liked to call the “adventure of unity” alongside Chiara Lubich: the adventure of making the world become one family; contributing to the realization of Jesus’ prayer: “that all be one” (Jn. 17:21).
“It would be impossible to summarize the richness of Vale’s life in which she was a protagonist in so many areas of Europe and other continents, and in many areas of the Movement,” writes Focolare president, Maria Voce, in the message she sent to the centres of the world, informing them of Valeria Ronchetti’s death.
“We watched her as she strengthened her efforts in developing the branch of the consecrated women religious who live the Spirituality of Unity; her work in favour of communion among the ecclesial movements and new associations; in the worlds of art and sport and media… to mention only a few.”
Vale recounted the story of her life in many different settings and it is all being gathered along with news and testimonies, in order to write a biography about her,” the president went on to say. And it was precisely in telling her story and, in particular, her encounter with Chiara Lubich who, once she met her, was never again able to forget her greeting: “Fire and Light!” This was in reference to her great discovery – as the Second World War was raging – that God is Love and that he loves us immensely.”
We’ve put together a profile,” Maria Voce added, “that will be read at her funeral, which you will be able to watch via internet.”And just as she had dreamt of doing when she was a young woman in the midst of the ruins of the war, she shall be laid to rest together with the other members of that first group who have already “arrived in Heaven”, in a common tomb on which the words of the Gospel are engraved: “And we have believed in Love” (1 Jn. 4:16).
Maria Voce writes: “Many letters are arriving from around the world, from people who are telling us what the encounter with her has brought about in their lives. It’s like a grand chorus of thanksgiving to Almighty God!”
“With immense gratitude,” concludes the president’s message, “let us offer suffrages for Vale, certain that from there above, she will continue to help us keep the fire of the ideal of unity burning in our hearts and that we might bring its light into the world.”