Focolare Movement

Welcome to the new!

A new look and new capabilities for the Focolare Movement’s website It is eight years since this website was last restyled. The graphics have changed but so has the structure of the site, with shorter articles containing infographics and video-clips. The new structure allows greater integration with social media and is mobile-friendly, in view of the increasing use of mobile phones for information and communication. New features include diversified and personalised content that users can access The articles in the main pages of the former website can still be accessed. They are now grouped in a few e-books. Instead, the news can be found in the archive section. Updates on many aspects of the life of the Focolare Movement can now be found in the community area called “Mariapolis”, the name given to the summer meetings of the Focolare worldwide which was also used for the Newsletter published in hard copy [in Italian] until December 2018. From 2019, a pdf “Mariapolis Newsletter” will be prepared bi-monthly, containing the most important news items. In this area a notification system lets users choose when, on what topics and on which device (computer, tablet or mobile) they wish to receive information. The new site is the result of an on-going process over a two year period at the international centre of the Focolare Movement at Rocca di Papa (Rome). This has led to the creation of a single Communications Office, operational since 1st February 2018. It brings together the work done previously by four separate entities. The aims of this Office include: collecting news of the life of the Movement worldwide and communicating it via various media; promoting the Focolare’s activities and making the Movement itself better known through a variety of communications channels; to contribute to an ever growing sharing of life and news among the Movement’s many communities throughout the world. Enjoy surfing!

Thank you Eli

Thank you Eli

At the age of 92 years, Giulia (Eli) Folonari passed away peacefully on november 26th 2018. She was one of the privileged witnesses of the public life, but above all of the ordinary, everyday life, of the founder of the Focolare Movement.
She was born in Milan, in Northern Italy, on 8 February 1926. She was the eldest of Luigi and Speranza Folonari’s eight children, a rich industrial family in Brescia. After graduating in Business & Economics at the Sacred Heart Catholic University of Milan, at the age of 25, Eli, for the first time, heard about the newly-born Focolare Movement from Valeria (Vale) Ronchetti. That same year, while spending her holidays not far from Tonadico (Trent), where one of the first Mariapolis gatherings was taking place, she decided to attend together with her siblings Vincenzo and Camilla. It was on that occasion that she met Chiara Lubich.
She moved to Rome in 1951, and she accompanied Chiara on all her trips around Italy, as well as South America, Asia, Australia, North America, Europe. “It was a divine adventure,” she said, “Keeping up with Chiara was no mean feat! We went from one surprise to another.” She was Chiara’s confidant and counsellor in the difficult years when the Focolare Movement (Work of Mary) was being studied by the Church. She also followed, in a particular way, all the media developments within the Movement: the birth of the St Claire Audiovisual Centre named after St Claire of Assisi, as well as the beginning, in Switzerland in 1980, of the “conference call” which soon extended to all the nations where the Focolare was present. Whilst it started off simply as a way of sharing the spiritual life, joys and sufferings among everyone, the conference call subsequently evolved, through technological advances, into that which today is a live streaming event via satellite! Still now it is referred to as CH (from the Latin Confoederatio Helvetica) in order to be true to its Swiss origins. Eli always accompanied the founder of the Focolare Movement on important encounters with the great dignitaries of our time: from Pope Paul VI to John Paul II, from Mother Teresa of Calcutta to Vaclav Havel and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Athenagoras I. Her testimony as a direct witness to these events is contained in the book Lo spartito scritto in Cielo. Cinquant’anni con Chiara Lubich (“The Score Written in Heaven. Fifty years with Chiara Lubich” (Città Nuova, 2012). Giulia Eli Folonari was the Director of the Chiara Lubich Centre since its foundation in July 2008, right up until 2014. This institute aims to be a custodian of the thought of Chiara Lubich, to assure its authenticity and to help spread her charism, as well as to preserve the history of the Focolare Movement through meetings, conferences and a dedicated website. The Centre ensures that the rich patrimony of paper-based archives and multimedia documents that the founder of the Opera di Maria left behind is made available to scholars and the public in general.

Note from the Fontem focolarini

The wave of violence in Southwest Cameroon shows no sign of stopping. The focolarini have had to flee the little city, although they remain in the country. “How long can we hold out? What will happen next? Will we be able to still live in Fontem? We’ve kept on, even in the most adverse conditions.” With these words the focolarini of Cameroon’s little city shared their difficult decision on November 16 to not go back to Fontem – although they still remain in the country. There are just not the “fundamental conditions to be able to continue living there.” “Many things have happened,” their message continues, “especially some serious incidents that made us reflect on the choices to make… It was with a heavy heart that we decided not to go back to Fontem for the moment, in order to rebuild our strength and try to understand what God wants.” The wave of violence in Southwest Cameroon, which is where Fontem is located, unfortunately shows no sign of stopping. In the last few months, the bishops of Cameroon have several times tried to get their voices heard, raising “a cry of anguish” at the deteriorating security conditions in the English-speaking regions and calling for political mediation to avoid “useless civil wars.” The Focolare’s little city is located in a zone of continuous armed conflict. It has had to close down its education complex for some time now, although the hospital continues to work and give aid to those in need.

Sweden: “undermining” the divisions

From 6th-10th November 2018, 40 bishops who are friends of the Focolare Movement, from 12 different Churches and five continents, met in Sigtuna, Sweden. They brought with them the challenges and joys of their life and work. What meaning do these meetings have? What outcomes are there? Susan Gately, a journalist from Ireland, found out.