What does the young woman , declared blessed by the church, have to say today to young people and to all of us who are living in these uncertain times generated by the pandemic? We asked Chicca Coriasco, Chiara Luce’s famous best friend, 10 years after her beatification and 30 years after her death.
Ten years ago on September 25th there were twenty-five thousand of us inside and outside the Roman Shrine Divino Amore to celebrate Chiara Badano’s beatification. On that day, holiness became something closer and more accessible for many young people (and not only) from all over the world, who saw in this nineteen year old Italian girl, someone cheerful and deep, able to live and die for God, an attainable and imitable model. Today, thirty years after her death on October 7th 1990, it is impossible to calculate how many people have “met” Chiara Luce, just think that exactly one year ago – and before the pandemic and lockdown forced on us alternative forms of encounter and communication – Maria Teresa Badano, Chiara’s mother and Chicca Coriasco her best friend, were in Argentina. For 13 days they travelled more than two thousand kilometres, crossing four regions, enabling more than 8,000 people to meet Chiara Luce Badano. We ask some questions to Chicca.
30 years after her death, Chiara Luce continues to be present and loved… How do you explain this following by so many young people that does not diminish but grows with time?
Chiara knew how to bring out the best in those around her, and with me she always succeeded, as she always did with her parents. I think that this phenomenon continues to happen with everyone who comes into contact with her, even today. She never made many speeches nor do extraordinary things, but that Yes said to God moment by moment, one step at a time, in simplicity, was extraordinary: it is what then as now continues to win over and fascinate many, especially young people.
Can you tell us what was the most important moment you lived with her?
The pact we made on August 22nd 1990. We told each other that the first one who left for heaven would help the other one to get there, while the one who stayed would try to fill the void left by the other. Thirty years later I can say that there was probably a design that was revealed in circumstances that were unimaginable at the time and which have acquired meaning and fulfilment that continue to this day.
What does Chiara Luce have to say to young people today?
Every now and then I have tried to imagine Chiara living in these times… Probably the same way she lived her own life, that is, without ever turning in on herself, looking ahead with courage and determination, focusing on the beauty that is still there today, in the new occasions that this uncertain circumstances make us discover.
Chiara Lubich told us that in addition to Jesus’ suffering on the cross, ours was also needed to cooperate in building a more united world: she told us “Living by half measures is too little: God proposes something great to you, it is up to you to accept it”. This was the experience that Chiara Luce and we, her friends, had. More than ever, these words of Chiara Lubich’s are very relevant and practicable today.
Who is Chiara Luce TODAY for you?
She is always present in all aspects of my life. I don’t know if she is satisfied with me, but I feel close to her, and I hope she will continue to help me to be faithful to my ideals, which were her own. In the new book published a year ago and edited by the Foundation, “Nel mio stare il vostro andare“, (In your staying ,our going-our translation) where many direct witnesses tell of their friendship with Chiara Luce, I turned directly to her and wrote: “Dear Chiara I would love to hug you again and share with you so many challenges, suspensions and intimate discoveries. But to tell you the truth, it has already been a bit like that all these years (…) Continue to accompany us, as you know how to do, with your ‘caresses’ and your silent presence, that there is and always has been, I’m counting on it! LOL Chicca”.
What are the events that the Chiara Badano Foundation is planning in the near future?
This year, due to the health restrictions imposed by the pandemic, it is not possible to visit Chiara’s bedroom. To mark the 10th anniversary of her Beatification, we have posted on the official website (www.chiarabadano.org) a video that retraces those unforgettable moments. Instead, for the 30 years since her “departure”, we have produced another video that allows us to relive, through the voice of witnesses, something of Chiara’s last days. The video is available on the site from October 7th 2020 after 4.10 am ( the time of her departure). Finally, on October 25th , the liturgical feast of Chiara Luce, we will be together with the Bishop of the Diocese of Acqui and promotor of Chiara’s Cause of Canonization, with the celebration of Mass, the Time Out at the Cemetery at 12 noon, and the award ceremony for the winners of the Chiara Luce Badano Prize. Everything can be followed via streaming on the site. Various events are also being organised around the world: the Foundation wants to be the spokesperson and channel for this light that will shine in many places on the planet.