Chiara Lubich always saw Pasquale Foresi as someone with a unique role in the development of the Focolare Movement, the role of incarnating the charism of unity in concrete works. For this reason she considered him and Igino Giordani co-founders of the Movement.
When he met Chiara in 1949 Pasquale was a young man looking for his way in life. He felt called to the priesthood and attended seminary in Pistoia and the Almo Collegio Capranica in Rome. He recalls: “I was happy and satisfied with my decision, but at a certain moment I had second thoughts (. . .) I began to doubt that I could move toward priesthood with those thoughts in my heart, so I suspended my studies at least for the time being. It was then that I came to know the Focolare Movement (. . .) I found an absolute faith in the Catholic Church in the members of the Movement and, at the same time, a radically evangelical lifestyle. It made me realize that this was where I belonged, and soon after the idea of the priesthood returned. Pasquale was the first focolarino to be ordained to the priesthood.
In Chiara Lubich and her first companions Pasquale saw “a new evangelical spring that was gushing forth in the Church” and he began a partnership with them which would lead him to make foundational contributions to the Movement as one of Chiara Lubich’s closest collaborators.
He wrote about some of those contributions: “As a priest I was in charge of relations with the Holy See. I also worked for the Movement’s growth and development around the world. I assisted Chiara in drafting the Statutes of the Work of Mary. I also helped in starting up some of the permanent features of the Movement such as the “Mariapolis Centres” that provide courses for the members; the town of Loppiano in Italy; and the Citta Nuova publishing group.”
But there is one area of Fr Foresi’s life that probably represents his most specific contribution to the Movement. He explains: “It’s in the logic of such things that these new spiritual charisms in the Church contain implications for culture as well. If you study history you’ll find that this has always been the case: the development of architecture, art, ecclesial and social structures, human knowledge, especially theology.”
Fr Foresi published numerous articles and books on the novelty of the spiritual and social dimension of the theology that emerges from Chiara’s charism. His writings offer a keen analysis and optimistic vision of the future, which is based on the wisdom that flows from such deep experience of Chiara’s charism.