History of the Focolare Movement in Canada
Besides being present in large cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, the movement is also present in other cities spread across the vast Canadian territory, from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast, and to the Yukon in the far north. Notwithstanding the great distances, from east to west, north and south, and its multi-ethnical character, an ever increasing network of contacts keep this vast reality of people and communities united.
In 1960, two of Chiara Lubich’s first companions, while travelling throughout North America, visited Toronto where they met the first members.
During 1965-66, the focolarini living in New York, visited various cities in Canada. Over time, people became interested in the spirituality of unity which spread amongst peoples and communities. In 1967, the first women’s focolare center was opened in Toronto and in 1969, the men’s focolare center.
In 1969 the movement arrived in French Canada, above all through men and women religious communities, in particular through a French religious of the Order of the Brothers of St. Gabriel (St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Monfort), who gave great support to the people of the focolare community that was coming to life in the province of Quebec. In 1986 the women’s focolare center was opened in Montreal, long awaited by a lively community, and in 1990 the men’s focolare center was opened.
In 1976, the movement arrived in Vancouver. In 1983, a focolare family from Toronto moved to Vancouver to follow the newly-born community. And in 2001, the women’s focolare center was opened.
Local communities came to life also in Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and later on in Saskatoon, located in central Canada.
In 1984 through French and Canadian religious men and women, a local community was born in Haiti which was entrusted to Canada. Since 1988, the Focolare community in Haiti is being directly followed through trips and various contacts from Canada.
For many years, we have been sustaining a number of social initiatives which were born of the life of the local community who we work with:
– 167 Adoptions- at-a-Distance
– Two elementary schools
– 10 Scholarships – for students (for 4-5 years of university)
– Housing project for the poor and those affected by the earthquake
– Health Care Centre
The latest earthquake encouraged a wave of international support. Besides helping us to develop all existing initiatives, a housing project for the poor and those affected by the earthquake was built.
- Visit to Canada by Maria Voce, President of the Focolare Movement, accompanied by the Co-President, Giancarlo Falletti.
March 16-21 Toronto
March 21-24 Montreal
Montreal: June 23-26 (in French)
Toronto: June 30-July 3 (in English)
Vancouver: July 14-17 (in English)