A witness of faith and love – It is customary in the Catholic Church to present to the faithful as an encouragement to their Christian life, people who have distinguished themselves because of their special witness of faith and love for God and neighbour. This is done following a canonical process of verification which also examines the life patrimony of ideas and actions of that person. The process can be started no earlier than five years after their death.
In recent years, considering Chiara Lubich (1920-2008) and her legacy, ordinary and authoritative people – notwithstanding the diversity their respective visions – have expressed the hope that this could be the case for her as well. The aim of such recognition would be to encourage many others to further their spiritual and moral commitment for the good of the human family. It would be an incentive for them to personally adopt the desire that was repeatedly expressed by Chiara: of becoming holy together, offering to the Church not only the sainthood of separate individuals, but that of a people. In this spirit, the president of the Focolare, Maria Voce, on December 7, 2013 announced the decision to solicit the opening of the Cause of Beatification of Chiara Lubich.
After a year of compliance with the canonical norms for the Opening of the Cause, the Bishop of Frascati, Italy, Raffaello Martinelli, has designated 27 January 2015 as the date of the Solemn Opening of the “Cause of Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Chiara Lubich.” In a letter addressed to the Focolare Movement, Maria Voce was delighted to announce the Opening of the Cause, inviting everyone who adheres to the spirituality of unity to be a “living witness” of what Chiara had lived, proclaimed and shared with so many, through a common effort to become holy together.”
She had an idea of holiness that was firmly rooted in the Gospel, from which she drew nourishment throughout her life. Chiara wrote: “We find holiness in Jesus, who blossoms within us because we love. . . If we sought holiness for its own sake, we would never reach it, ever. Love, then, and nothing else. Lose everything, even any attachment to holiness, so that you can tend only towards loving.” We’ll become saints, she explained, “if we have at the basis of our holiness – ante omnia, before all else, also before sainthood – mutual love: Jesus in our midst as the premise or origin, as the means for becoming holy and as the goal.
Letter sent by Pope Francis (in Italian) for the Opening of the Cause of Beatification of Chiara Lubich