I’d like to…

1967-2017, fifty years ago Chiara Lubich founded the Famiglie Nuove movement, delivering a bundle…

“Iremember a true story, which I have never forgotten,” says Chiara Lubich,
speaking to a group of married Focolare couples gathered at Rocca di Papa. It was 19 July 1967, a special meeting for participants, founding what would become many Focolares dedicated to the family. Chiara puts the focus on an episode that upset her: an American mother with ten children turns out to be suffering from cancer. Her husband paralysed, the anguish of having to leave his ten children. At one point, with new strength, she decides to look for the families to entrust them to. “I will let you one thing,” Chiara continues in her speech, “so many times in my life seeing these little orphans, alone, I had a strong desire to take ten, twenty,

Chiara_Famigliathirty under my care and be their mother.” It’s the desire to make emerge the movement of families that the stork can deliver bundles to, with the desire that many orphanages become empty. “I entrust to you hundreds, I’d like to say thousands, of orphans and let’s hope that over the years and centuries, this desire of mine becomes a reality.”
“Chiara has put in front of us a vast horizon, entrusting humanity to us as a family,” say Anna Maria and Danilo Zanzucchi, among the first married couples to the spirituality of the union. The various initiatives which the Movement has undertaken, with the aim of enhancing the family, includes those helping alleviate disadvantaged children, realized through the AFNonlus association.
“When Chiara spoke of abandoned children in her keynote speech, the perception of the phenomenon of abandonment was not as present in us,” explains Anna Friso, which saw the birth of the long-distance supportproject, and who has been responsible along her husband Albert for New Families from 2008 to 2014. “We simply realized there was a heart beating for these children without a family and that the New Families could take care of them because they were a family.” There were many adoptions by couples who didn’t have children, but also those who did have children. Later, the war broke out in Lebanon, which meant a growing number of children in need. “It was thought that the collaboration would be to give them a family, instead we were recommended that children would not leave the country, where they could be raised by a grandparent, aunt, or someone of the extended family that there was urgent need for resources economic.” This a support action was born, which someone called someone called ‘sponsorship’, a practice that is still widespread: “We could not imagine where we would bring this action. When you open to solidarity, it is solidarity that guides you.” This experience raised a lot of enthusiasm and spread over time to Brazil, and Asia, the Philippines, and later Africa.logo afn in jpg definitivo
The birth of AFNonlus in ’98 makes it possible to structure and give greater continuity to the activities, enhancing programs of long-distance support and projects of cooperation for development. Today, in support of disadvantaged children, in 49 countries around the world there are almost 100 projects dedicating particular attention to children and their families, to enable them to carry out their educational functions.

“The most important work was that developed by the staff onsite,” says Anna Friso. “Economic support is transformed into programmes of training, food, dress, healthcare and education. We try to make people see that what arrives from international solidarity emerges from a principle of fraternity, being with people in the community, reassuring them that the process that is being proposed is an efficient one.” At the same time we highlight to sponsors the need for the gift of education: in the sense that in donating it is necessary to enter into an attitude of mutual discovery.
After the founding of New Families, Igino Giordani journalist, politician and a Focolare spouse, who contributed decisively to the birth of the project, wrote to Chiara: “You entrust the family an explosive mission, a deep change that families can start for the world.” Family, the origin of the good that there is in society, should indeed be the basis from which to start the renovation, the way out of the tragedy and the suffering of humanity.

(Source: “Giovanna Pieroni Rivista Spazio Famiglia 2017)

Related News