Amidst a constant rainfall, wind, cold, and chaotic traffic jams the Carlos Gomes theatre of Rio de Janiero was filled with a large crowd of young people. They came from faraway places, speaking in French, Spanish, English and Brasiliera. They had come to know the beloved Chiara Luce Badano, who is described among the intercessors of the WYD as “someone who lived totally abandoned to Jesus.”
Blessed Chiara Luce Badano was born in Sassello, Italy, in 1971. The WYD website states: “At 10 years of age she had a powerful experience of meeting God, which changed her life and that of her parents. From that moment on she decided to live the Gospel in a more radical way, striving to love all the people around her. At 18 years of age she was diagnosed with bone cancer. She lived every stage of the painful illness with great courage. The prayer proposed to her by WYD: “Help me to conquer the challenges of my youth, so that I can give my life over to Jesus Christ without reserve.”
To make her better known 80 youths and young people – dancers, musicians, singers and the entire production staff – devoted themselves to the arduous task for a good six months previous to the show that was presented on July 24, 2013 at WYD Rio. They believed beyond hope that they would find the money to cover all the expenses, but the communion of goods among the Focolare community in Brazil covered the entire cost before the show was even ready.
The show is called “Holiness Dressed in Jeans,” (www.chiaraluce.org) and it presents the brief life of Blessed Chiara Luce with color, rhythm and explosions of the joy that are typical of the Brazilian land. During a few moments of such profound and unique depth, the hall fell silent as it admired this young girl who transformed suffering into love, thanks to the love of her “Spouse” – Jesus crucified and forsaken. This intense passage was represented in an engaging mime with images of personal and social suffering projected on the stage’s large backdrop.
Each of the evening shows lasted no more than an hour, leaving the young people with an incredible thirst to know more about Chiara Luce and about her life, which they could begin to do by reading the book “25 minutos” by Franz Coriasco, which they received, and by visiting the website www.chiaraluce.org.
Many in the audience left their impressions about the show: “I was converted,” “I’ve rediscovered my ideal in life,” “it was like reawakening to a more radical life,” “we are enchanted by the beauty of Chiara Luce’s life,” and there were many others.
Three shows were foreseen at the Carlo Gomes theathre, but the endless line of young people that reached around and encircled the entire block, prompted them to ask the WYD Local Organizing Committee to allow a fourth show! In a short time, in spite of logistic difficulties, and the tiredness of the actors, permission was granted. To everyone’s great joy the parents of Chiara Luce showed up at this final show – Maria Teresa and Ruggero Badano. They had been at St. Francis Hospital for the Pope’s visit, accompanied by Chicca who was a personal friend of Chiara Luce.
Each show ended with a standing ovation. But it didn’t end there. The Youth for a United World in San Paulo have asked for the show to be performed in their city as well.