The aim of the conference entitled Chiara Lubich: light, life and culture is this: to explore fresh insights and new understandings arising from a surprising story of the twentieth century. It will look at a charism of light that touched not only people’s souls but, at the same time, the whole range of human life, and became a scholarly and cultural project fit for the times.
It will take place in two venues: on 14 March in the cultural heart of Rome, in the prestigious great hall of the Sapienza University, and on 15 March in the heart of the Focolare Movement at its Mariapolis Centre in Castel Gandolfo.
The conference will take place on an important date for the Work of Mary (as the Focolare Movement is called officially). The 14th of March 2013 will be the fifth anniversary of the death of Chiara Lubich. While last year the commemoration of Chiara focused upon young people and the impact of Chiara’s charism upon their education and training, this year the emphasis is upon the spirituality of unity’s ‘innovative intellectual potential’.
Members of the academic bodies of universities across the world, and especially from Italy, will be present and actively participate during the two days of the conference. It will be opened by greetings from the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, the President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno and the President of the Focolare Movement, Maria Voce.
The meeting’s agenda seeks to facilitate a conversation between scholars of various disciplines. Among those present there will be professors of sociology, economics, politics, theology, mathematics, philosophy, communication sciences, education and psychology. It will attempt to achieve, as the organizers put it, ‘dialogue at all levels, and in first place ecumenical and interfaith dialogue (an inspirational contribution in developing a form of society worthy of human beings), in the commitment to make Europe into a place where all are at home, [and] unity among peoples through new and innovative projects (such as the Economy of Communion).’
Behind the initiative on 14 and 15 March are the twenty-four scholars of a wide range of disciplines who make up the ‘Abba School’, the Focolare Movement’s research centre, set up by Chiara Lubich in 1990. The centre, in its own terms, ‘is an interdisciplinary workshop dedicated to the study of the academic and intellectual contents of the charism of unity, drawing out its many implications in the different spheres of human knowledge.’
Economics, humanism, law, beauty, the future ‘are some of the themes that will be touched upon in the conference,’ the organizers say, ‘and they will be looked at also by the heads of the universities who saw in Chiara Lubich a witness to human history in its journey towards universal fraternity.’