On December 7, symbolic date for the Focolare Movement, the president Maria Voce announced the imminent presentation of the request to open the cause of Chiara Lubich’s beatification to the Bishop of Frascati, Raffaello Martinelli.
7 December 1943: the date of the birth of the Focolare Movement. In fact, on that day, as she herself recounts, Chiara Lubich never thought of establishing something. Her only desire was to follow God.
7 December 2013: after 70 years, her consecration to God brought forth unexpected fruits and consequences in many ways. The birth of a Movement, the Focolare Movement; the acknowledgement of the person of Chiara as one who received a charism, for the good of many and her faithfulness to it. On the day of her funeral, March 18, 2008, thousands of people from all over the world paid her tribute, and the testimonies of those belonging to various Christian Churches, faithful of other religions, representatives of the world of culture, laity and politics underscored the impact of Chiara’s charism in their personal lives and on the world that each one represented.
«Chiara’s legacy is one of the greatest spiritual blessings of our time,» the Rabbi of Jerusalem David Rosen affirmed. And Samuel Kobia, ex-secretary general of the World Council of Churches said: «Focused on the spirituality of unity, she made a great impact on the ecumenical movement.» «Chiara is not only yours, she is also ours. Indeed, she belongs to the whole world,» these are the words of Phramaha Thongratana Thavorn, a Thai Buddhist monk. «Her experience of a Christianity devoid of every dogmatism and all enlightened by the mandatum novum [new commandment] is such a great lesson for believers and non-believers,» the philosopher Massimo Cacciari wrote.
In the Catholic Church it’s a custom to present, to the Catholic faithful, people who have been distinguished for a special witness of faith in and love for God, as a catalyst of Christian life. This happens after a canonical process of verification, that also looks at the patrimony of life, thought and action of the person. This can begin no sooner than five years after the person’s death.
In these years, thinking of Chiara and her legacy, ordinary persons and those of authority, Catholics and people belonging to other Churches, religions and cultures – even in the diversity of their respective visions – have expressed the wish that this could happen also for Chiara. They ask for a recognition that will remarkably encourage Christians and non-Christians to take a greater moral and spiritual commitment for the good of humanity. It will be an encouragement to assume Chiara’s desire that she expressed many times, the desire to become saints together, to propose to the Church not the holiness of an individual, but the holiness of the people.
In an interview to Città Nuova of March 2013, the co-president of the Focolare Movement, Giancarlo Faletti, answered a question on the different views of non-Catholic Christians who also belong to the Movement on the proclamation of a person’s holiness: «I think that this new experience should not endow possible memorial greatness because of the beatification or canonization, but should rather highlight the presence of God in a person, understand God’s work in this person,» and – through this person’s witness – in many people.
For information and in-depth study:
press release – biography Chiara Lubich