Chiara Lubich was born on January 22 in Trent, Italy. When baptized, she was given the name Silvia.
When she became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis, she was attracted by St. Clare of Assisi’s radical choice of God and chose the name “Chiara” (Italian for “Clare”). On December 7, she consecrated her life to God with a perpetual vow of chastity. Unknown to her, this marked the beginning of what would become the Focolare Movement.
After a devastating aerial bombardment, the Lubich family had to flee from Trent, but Chiara decided to stay in the city. She went to live in an apartment in Piazza Cappuccini, together with several of her first companions. This became the first “focolare” (Italian for “hearth”).
Each summer from 1949 to 1959, Chiara and her first companions went to the Dolomite Mountains near Trent, to have a rest, while still trying to live the Gospel together. Every year, more and more people joined them, forming a small temporary city called Mariapolis, the “City of Mary”. The only law for this city was “Love one another”.
In Darmstadt, Germany, Chiara met several Lutheran pastors who wanted to know more about her Gospel-based spirituality. This was the start of the Movement’s ecumenical dialogue.
Pope John XXIII gave the first approval of the Movement with the official name, “Work of Mary”.
At the Guildhall in London, Chiara received the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. Representatives of many faith traditions were present and expressed the desire to continue contacts with the Movement, giving rise to a widespread interreligious dialogue.
John Paul II visited the International Centre of the Movement in Rocca di Papa near Rome (Italy).
The Pontifical Council for the Laity approved the updated General Statutes of the Focolare Movement.
In Mariapolis Araceli, near San Paolo, Brazil, Chiara launched the project of the Economy of Communion.
In Paris, Chiara was awarded the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education. That year she also received an honorary doctorate in Social Sciences from the University of Lublin in Poland. Subsequently 15 other honorary doctorates were conferred on her in a variety of disciplines and in various countries.
Chiara recounted her personal experience to 3000 African-American Muslims at the Malcolm Shabazz Mosque in Harlem, New York.
At the first international meeting of ecclesial movements, held in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, Chiara felt impelled to commit herself and the Movement to embark on a journey toward fuller communion among Catholic movements.
A daylong celebration entitled, “Together for Europe”, was held in Stuttgart, Germany, leading to a greater communion among more than 150 movements and ecclesial communities from many Christian Churches. 9,000 people were present.
The Sophia University Institute was established on December 7 by a pontifical decree of the Vatican. It is located in the Focolare town of Loppiano, near Florence, Italy. This was the last official act signed by Chiara Lubich.
After a long illness, Chiara died on March 14 at her home in Rocca di Papa, outside of Rome.
Some of Chiara Lubich’s Writings
The theologian Pasquale Foresi was the first priest focolarino and the first co-president of the Focolari.. Chiara Lubich entrusted him with the task of translating into concrete works her mystical intuitions; and to incarnate the spirituality of unity into the various aspects of life and of culture. He contributed towards the drafting of the Statutes; looked after the relations with the Holy See, gave life to nbsp;centres of spiritual formation, small towns of witness, publishing intiatives.
Writer, journalist, politician, ecumenist and patrologist, he was a co-founder of the Movement. A husband and father, he was a multifaceted personality who outlined the Movement’s prophetic perspectives on a cultural, political, ecclesial and social level.The cause for his beatification is currently being carried out. |iginogiordani.info
Organization and Governance
Organization and Governance
According to the General Statutes of the Focolare Movement, its president will always be a lay woman, with a male co-president who is a priest. The current president is Maria Voce, an Italian attorney, and the co-president is Jesús Morán from Spain, who is a philosopher and theologian. They are assisted by a General Council, which includes representatives of every part of the Movement: young people, families, consecrated persons, people of different religions, etc. The council members are of different vocations, cultural backgrounds and national origins.
All positions of responsibility last for six years and can be confirmed only once.
The Movement is present in 182 countries, which are organized in 22 geographical regions, in which activities are coordinated by a male and a female delegate together with members of a local council.
Maria Voce was elected President of the Focolare Movement during its General Assembly in 2008. She is the first focolarina to succeed the foundress, Chiara Lubich, who passed away that same year. The 2014 General Assembly re‐elected her for a second term.
Jesús Morán Cepedano was elected co-president of the Focolare Movement on September 13, 2014, by the General Assembly, which had convened at the Mariapolis Center of Castel Gandolfo outside of Rome.
Did you know that...
…Every day at 12 noon in each time zone there is the Time Out, a moment of silence or prayer for peace. This idea originated from the desire of Focolare teens and children for world peace and has been taken up by the whole Movement.
…The Word of Life, a monthly leaflet with a spiritual commentary on a passage from the Bible to be applied to everyday life, is translated in 90 languages and dialects. It reaches millions of people through the media.
… Silvia was the name given to Chiara Lubich at her baptism. When she became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis, she was fascinated by St. Clare’s choice of God and decided to take her name, which in Italian is “Chiara”.
… Chiara Lubich was the first Catholic white woman to speak at Malcolm Shabazz Mosque in Harlem, New York. It was on May18, 1997, with an audience of more than three thousand people.
… Focolare centers can be found throughout the world. The furthest north is the one in Stockholm, Sweden, while the furthest south is in Trelew, Argentina.
… The Movement’s logo recalls “Mary, Mother of all people”, who gathers all vocations under her mantle. The blue symbolizes Mary, while the orange represents the members who follow Mary as the model for their life.