About Chiara Lubich
Chiara Lubich was born on 22 January 1920 in Trent, northern Italy, into a family of modest economic means. From her mother she inherited the Christian faith and from her socialist father she gained a marked sensitivity towards social issues. She qualified as a junior school teacher and worked in this profession from 1939-43. Her thirst for truth led her to doing further studies at the University of Venice but she could not complete her course because of the Second World War. It was precisely at that difficult time, under the destruction caused by bombardments, that she discovered in the Gospel those spiritual values that can rebuild both individuals and the fabric of a disintegrated society. These values gradually attracted people of all ages, social categories, races, cultures and faiths on all five continents.
It was against the backdrop of general destruction and collapse, in the climate of hatred and violence of war that in 1943 Chiara made the “dazzling discovery” that God is the Only One who remains, God who she experienced as Love. She immediately shared this with other young people and the discovery transformed their lives and gave meaning to everything they did. It shed light upon the breadth of God’s plans for humanity that Chiara began to understand when, in an air-raid shelter, opening the Gospel, she came across the final prayer of Jesus, “May all be one, as you and I are one.” She spent her entire life contributing to the fulfilment of this prayer. Her charism was unity and it is from the perspective of unity that she read and lived the Gospel. The commandment of reciprocal love, “Love one another as I have loved you”, when practised in everyday life, produced the communion of material and spiritual goods and was seen as “the key to transforming life, the paradigm of unity on which to rebuild society”. This experience gave rise to a new spiritual current which gradually became incarnate and proved to be a means of social transformation with worldwide appeal since love and unity are inscribed in the DNA of every person.
“I have never made plans,” Chiara repeated on several occasions. “The score is in heaven, we try to play that music on earth.” On 14 March 2008, after a long period of illness, she died at her home in Rocca di Papa, Rome. Her funeral was attended by thousands of people, many bishops and cardinals, civil society leaders, politicians from various parties and representatives of Catholic movements, Churches and religions. In his funeral message, Pope Benedict XVI affirmed that Chiara was a person “in full harmony with the thinking of the popes […] with an almost prophetic capacity to perceive and anticipate it.”