Chiara Lubich and the Family

 
Interview by Laura Badaraccchi from Italy’s Avvenire newspaper with Alberto and Anna Friso, who were close collaborators of Chiara Lubich for the family.

20150202-01Chiara Lubich’s spirituality invites us to be open to communion first of all in our own families and, once there’s unity in our own families, to open ourselves to other families. No family is an island. We all feel the need to share our spiritual and material possessions, our time and our abilities, so that a network is built that is doing something that helps the world that is waiting for a love won’t give up, and always begin again.”

Anna and Alberto Friso sounded quite delighted as they remarked on the opening of the Cause of Beatification of Chiara Lubich last January 27, 2015 in Frascati, Italy. They knew the foundress of the Focolare Movement personally and for twelve years were in charge of the New Families Movement, one of the Movement’s first family associations. They took on that role just after marrying and travelling from Padua to Rocca di Papa to take part in a family conference with their first newborn son.

“We were very struck that a consecrated woman could have the family so much at heart and that her ideal could also be applied to our vocation as a married couple,” they recalled. Not only: “Chiara was a modern woman, pretty but not flashy, elegant but not affected, with an appealing and harmonious way of expressing herself,” the Frisos noted. “We were coming from the province, two simple working people, clumsy. With great simplicity and firm conviction she told us that Jesus was also counting on us, as individuals, but also as a family.” Lubich was indeed convinced that her spirituality was especially suited for families, because in its original design, it was a small community of people united by love.”

Currently, Alberto and Anna take care of the non-profit “Action for new families” group, which provides adoption at a distance in the world’s southern hemishpere. When they were in charge of the New Families they would meet with the foundress regularly: “She listened to the problems and the projects, but mostly she gave us the courage without which it would have proven difficult for two poor creatures like us to carry ahead a movement made of so many families, and on the global level. She offered guidelines, affirmed and dreamt with us. But most often she expressed her trust and confidence in us married people.”

Members of the Pontifical Council for the Family the Friso’s had also been invited by Chiara to give attention to separated couples, divorced and remarried people, which she described as “the face of Jesus crucified and forsaken.” Chiara’s charism continues to announce God’s divine love for each and everyone,“a conviction not only found in Scripture, but in the proofs of personal experience, from our own lives. It’s an announcement that turns out to be efficacious also for those who have perhaps lost hope or faith, or think that separation is already inevitable. If God loves me, if he gave his life for me, then I should – I can! – respond to that love by loving the person next to me. And who are more next to one another than a married couple, their children and other family members?”Alberto and Anna argued: “If we sincerely place ourselves on a ray of love that draws on the Absolute, then everything becomes possible: acceptance, service, listening, disinterested love, free-giving and forgiveness. . .”

 

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