During the 55-year presence of the Movement in this South American country the spirituality of unity has penetrated several areas of society through numerous social projects; the Economy of Communion (EoC) which began in Brazil; the Movement for Unity in Politics (MUP); the ecclesial world, ecumenism; interreligious dialogue and dialogue with contemporary culture.
Klaus Bruschke, Director of Cidade Nova Press states: “Brazil is going through a moment of speedy transformations not devoid of contradictions. It is the world’s eighth economy, yet the twelfth on the list of countries with the most inequality, although in recent years 40 million Brazilians have emerged from a level of misery. Chiara Lubich pointed to the priority of working for social justice in this land through love for the most underprivileged, in harmony with the Latin American Church and now Pope Francis.” Bruschke went on to say: “In Recife, the Island of Santa Teresinha is one of the poorest quarters in Brazil where the Movement has been carrying out social projects from the moment it arrived. As she stood in front of the wall that separates this slum from the shopping centre on the other side, Maria Voce remarked that the wealth didn’t lie on the other side of that wall, in the shopping centre, but on this side among the community on the island, because the [real] wealth is communion.” In Mariapolis Ginetta Calliari, near Sao Paulo, Maria Voce and Giancarlo Faletti linked up with numerous Focolare communities around the world via internet, and shared about their visit to Brazil.
What is your impression as you leave Brazil? If you had to give a title to your experience, what would it be? “Brazil has enchanted me, and if I had to give a title to this trip, I would use one of Chiara’s own phrases: “embroidered in gold”, because all the wonderful fruits that have been brought about by Chiara here in Brazil are woven into my heart. I think of the many social projects that are carried out mostly by young people, the Economy of Communion businesses. . . . but also of all the new communities, ecclesial movements and people who took their inspiration from Chiara’s charism, who live the Word of Life, who love Jesus forsaken, or who answer to Chiara’s plea: “Give me everyone who is lonely”. They’ve brought about beautiful works, which we had the opportunity of seeing during this visit. We admired in them the abundant fruits of the spirituality of unity whose root lies in the Focolare Movement, in the spiritual family of Chiara. But the root is glad for the fruits that were born beyond it, and it offers thanks to God. And the fruits are grateful to the root, because they feel the nourishment that comes from there and they want to continue to be nourished. Therefore, it’s a great act of mutual love that shows up these embroideries of light that are spread throughout Brazil.”
The establishment of the Chiara Lubich Chair in Recife shows that many are able to share in the spirituality of unity . . .
Giancarlo Faletti: “During this Easter season in which we hear the words of Jesus’ testament resounding: ‘that all may be one’ (Jn 15:17), I have the strong feeling that through the charism of unity, the paradigm of universal brotherhood is being applied to many academic disciplines, even in large universities. Therefore, it has been a very dynamic experience that is linked to the testament of Jesus.”
During this visit you’ve listened to many stories, known and shared in the life of many local communities. Where would you go from here?
Maria Voce: “I really think we should continue to embroider these embroideries of light that I mentioned earlier. We should do it within the humility of the present moment, carrying out whatever God may indicate to us, moment by moment, never losing sight of the final design which is universal brotherhood, the design of a united world. Therefore I feel that each of these beautiful projects that I’ve seen are part of this universal design and that together they could offer a model to the world, an example of a unity that is born from the variety of God’s gifts in Brazil and in the world, so as to never lose sight of God’s dream: to make all peoples into one family.”
Klaus Bruschke’s final comment: “These days have given us a strong push to convey this message of unity that overcomes inequalities and embraces diversity – a richness that expresses the very richness of God.”