Italy: Death of the Foundress of the Focolare

Source: FSSPX News


Born in Trent, in Italy, in 1920, Chiara Lubich founded the movement of the Focolare in 1943, during World War II. The movement presently numbers almost 150,000 active members, with antennas in 182 countries. Among those who claim to have the spirit of the movement are members of 350 ecclesial Communities coming mainly from Orthodoxy, Protestantism, and Anglicanism, as well as adepts of the Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist religions, and also people with no religious conviction.

On this score, Chiara Lubich had received the Templeton Award for the progress of Religion (1977), the Unesco Award for Education to Peace (1996), the European Award for the Rights of Man (1998). She was honorary president of the World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP). She was one of the main speakers at the European Ecumenical Meeting in Graz (Austria) in 1997. She had also given an address at the interreligious Assisi Meeting, in January last year. The highest civil and religious authorities of any denominations used to listen to her. She was approved by John XXIII, appreciated by Paul VI, close to John Paul II, and had taken part in two bishops’ synods.

In her last days, Chiara Lubich received many visitors in her sick room, among them the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew 1st, who was in Rome on the occasion of his meeting with Pope Benedict XVI. She also met Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, the archbishop of Prague, and Andrea Riccardi, the founder of the Sant’Egidio community, who organizes the Assisi interreligious meetings.

In his telegram of condolences, the pope paid a tribute to the “constant commitment for communion in the Church, for ecumenical dialogue and for fraternity among all peoples” of Chiara Lubich, who had died “at the end of a long and fruitful life marked by her tireless love for the abandoned Jesus.” Benedict XVI thanked “the Lord for the witness of her life, spent in listening to the needs of modern man in complete faithfulness to the Church and to the Pope”; and said he remained “affectionately and spiritually close” to her relatives, to the Focolari Movement and to those who appreciated her commitment. (Sources: Apic/ENI/VIS)