The 7th seminar in the series on female models of holiness, promoted by the Pontifical University Antonianum of Rome, concluded on Saturday, 6 April 2019, with a talk given by Professor Vittorina Marini who put forward the figure of the Servant of God Chiara Lubich.

In previous seminars, other holy women were presented among whom the first Christian martyrs. These included Teresa of Ávila, Catherine of Siena, Elena, mother of Emperor Constantine, Francesca Romana, Thérèse of Lisieux, all women who reached sainthood and who thus made history in the Church, reforming it.

Professor Marini introduced the person of Chiara Lubich explaining the motivation for including her among the saints previously mentioned. Although she was not a canonized saint but a Servant of God, the impact she had on the contemporary spirituality of the 20th century was fundamental in the journey of the Church as were the effects on society instilled by the Focolare Movement founded by her. The spirituality of unity has also influenced the life of other canonized figures in the Church and of many religious congregations which, while remaining faithful to their own charism, allowed themselves to be revived by this charismatic movement which came to life in the last century. Chiara Lubich lived all the historical events, fully immersed in society and in its problems.

Lubich AntonianumMarini continued by recalling the life story of the Servant of God to those present: “Chiara is a great saint even though she was not canonized. Her inspiration was not derived from mystical phenomena, such as those attributed to Padre Pio da Pietrelcina, but it is a light. As a child she felt called to martyrdom; it was a sudden and an unexpected call. She said yes to that call. Naturally she did not undergo a bloodstained martyrdom endured by many Christians. What is required of martyrdom is a witness of life, because that is the meaning in Greek of the word martyrdom”.

Marina retraced the stages of Chiara’s life, from Loreto and her choice of God to the birth of the Focolare Movement: her work as a teacher, love for her family, the points of the spirituality of unity, her relationship with the saints and the Church, and in particular with Francis of Assisi and Saint Claire.

“Chiara’s writings are focussed on theological virtue, on hope.” continued Professor Marini. “Her spirituality was never separated from narration; she always reverted to her own story. St Paul VI affirmed that we must always reflect on the inspiration of the beginnings, and Chiara did so in a very natural way. Despite being the bearer of a new charism, she sometimes anticipated the Popes and the Church, always remaining in full accord and maintaining full communion”.

Patrizia Mazzola

See Faculty of Theology seminar flyer (Italian)

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