The encounter with other charisms is fascinating to me, and doing it in the place where Chiara Luce Badano had radically lived the Gospel, has given it a sense of newness and youthfulness.” So writes Alessandro, a young religious from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He is one of 22 young people who met in Sassello, Italy, the birthplace of the young Blessed, between August 19, 2013 and August 23, 2013.
The meeting “From Light to Light – Chiara Luce for Young Consecrated Religious” was an opportunity for young men and women religious from different charisms to take part in a workshop in which they uncovered what they share in common and asked about their young calling to consecrated life. They were from 7 congregations: Friars Minor, Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, Missionaries of St. Paola Frassinetti, Franciscan Missionary Brothers and Sisters, Little Brothers of the Risen Jesus of the New Horizons and the Missionaries of Joy. “It was a powerful experience,” writes Friar Andrea. “We let ourselves be ‘swept away’ by the Spirit who was pushing us to create communion among our charisms to make the face of the Church shine with its beautiful new young face.”
“It was a splendid opportunity to share as a young consecrated religious who is close to the spirituality of the Focolare,” commented Sr. Cinzia from the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor. “A very enriching experience of communion and a fine training, an occasion for reflecting on holiness in daily life to which we are all invited. I truly experienced that if we live in a relationship of love and mutual knowledge among different charisms, we draw close to God.”
The workshop was structured according to the three-word slogan from the Beatification ceremony of Chiara Luce: “Life, love, light.”
On the day dedicated to “life” Fr. Theo Jansen showed how the life of Christ, which enlivens the Church, has blossomed in the various charisms and how it now pushes for communion and mutual love. In the work sessions we explored how the charisms respond to Jesus’ mission: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). In front of the disadvantages and problems of youth, and the economic crisis, two illuminating experiences were offered: Matteo Zini from New Horizons showed how the charism of joy, as abundant life, leads to Resurrection and to the underworld of the streets (drugs, alcohol, prostitution, and criminality. . . ); and Livio Bertola, a businessman from the EoC showed how the Gospel also renews the world of economy. In the evening everyone vented their talents: a cute talent show, with games, comedy and song.
On the day dedicated to “love” Fr. Andrea Patane spoke of the discovery of love and it implications, as it was intuited and lived by Chiara Lubich and her companions; Fr. Jacopo Papi related the experience of Chiara Luce to that of young consecrated religious; and Fr. Donato Cauzzo, Secretary of the Prefect of the Congregation for Religious, highlighted the power of the Spirit which pushes the charisms to live in communion so that the face of Christ shine even more.
On the day dedicated to “light” there was the testimony of Silvia who had lived the Gen experience together with Chiara Luce: the experience of Lorenza from the New Families group; the experience of Giuliano, the bar man at the coffee bar and great friend of Chiara Luce; and a moment of intense prayer at the tomb of the young Blessed.
Friar Andrea, from the Franciscan Missionary Brothers, offered a summary of the 5 days together: “It was a moment of Heaven that was much more than expected. How the Lord and Chiara Luce have transformed us during these days! And lively was the communion among us, in spite of the diversity of our callings!” They left with this desire for communion, to carry to many the “torch” that Chiara Luce wanted to hand on to the youth. Their next appointment is for Loppiano 2014.