I was five weeks in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Such marvelous people, who seem made for Chiara’s Ideal.” These are among the first things Bruna said upon her return, and she is one of the first direct witnesses of the birth of the Focolare. After her trip, we received a the following letter, filled with gratitude and recognition from the hundreds of people who had the opportunity to meet her during these five weeks: “Chiara and her first companions considered themselves a constellation of stars: One of them, Bruna Tomasi, arrived here to share her divine adventure with us.”

Colombia. From 26 April to 10 May there was a succession of appointments: from the visit to the 85 priests meeting at the Mariapolis Centre in Tocancipà, to the community meetings, with the youth, with focolarini, religious, and families. . . People came in large numbers from every corner of the country, overcoming flooding, closed roads, caused by the flooding.

Marita Sartori (centre)

And what was it like for Bruna? In Colombia she was struck by the living presence of Marita Sartori, a focolarina from the earliest times, who lived in Colombia from 1973 to 2002 “like a seed fallen on this land, which bore much fruit”. She was also struck by how active the Columbian people are, going out to help those who are in need. One example is the “Unity Social Centre” – a social project run by many members of the Focolare, which for more than thirty years is invovled in a quarter on the outskirts of Bogota, offering assistance in sanitation, education, and the arts. Then there is Rising Sun School near to the Mariapolis Centre in the capital.

The journey then continued in Equador, from 10-23 May. Bruna remarked: “What came into evidence the most in this country is the cultural variety. Yet there is mutual acceptance, which appears very beautiful. What could have been an obstacle, has already been overcome.” There was a gathering planned at Simón Bolivar University (14-15 May) for Focolare members from different areas: Esmeraldas, Guayas, Imbabura, Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, and Pichincha. There were so many cultural expressions of this people so rich in its diversity. There was singing and dancing, from the coast to the central mountain range of the Andes – a special expression of thanks for the group that was visiting. One expression of diversity which was transformed into a gift was the “Afro Mass” animated by the community from Esmeraldas. “How can we spread the Ideal of unity in the whole country? This was a recurring question. Bruna charged the people of this land to “Strengthen what you’ve already begun and. . . revive the ‘fire’ of mutual love.” so that Ecuador might live fraternity to the full and offer it to the world.

And finally, we reached Peru. Bruna Tomasi was in Lima from 23 May to 3 June. The Peruvians had always longed for a visit from Chiara Lubich, and “Through Bruna, God gave this gift to us,” they write. Bruna commented: “The Peruvians have ancestral dignity. It seems that also in the Incan religious tradition, there are traces of the Golden Rule. . .” There were numerous appointments in this immense land as well. The meeting with the entire community of Peru was especially beautiful. There were some 320 people coming from every part of Peru, some having travelled more than thirty hours. It was a feast,” they write from Lima. “In 1989, there was terrorism in our land and many people fled the country, but precisely in that same year, the Focolare arrived in Lima, underscoring the fact that our revolution of love is stronger than all else.” There was a very important meeting with the Apostolic Nunzio, Archbishop Bruno Musarò, with the Cardinal of Lima, Juan Luis Cipriani and other bishops of the area. They all expressed their esteem for Chiara and her charism.

In our interview with her Bruna concluded by saying: “Chiara’s Ideal is made for the ‘relationship’ with the other person, at whatever level, in whatever challenge, even at the cultural level. The challenge is there, yet, by living love, you can overcome all the differences.”

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