a column of benevolent gossip
‘Into the Light’ —Chiara Luce Badano will be beatified in Rome Sept. 25. Her recognized miracle was the healing of a little boy dying from meningitis last year. A first book about her story can be read in one evening, “Chiara Luce: A Life Lived to the Full.”Book on a ‘saint of our times.’
She is called “a saint of our times” by the local bishop in Italy who knew her personally. He sees this 18-year-old, who died after a three-year struggle with bone cancer, as a guiding light (“Luce”), especially for young people. “Theoretical discussions don’t win them over — they need witnesses!”
Before her illness, her mom asked if she spoke to high school pals about her spirituality (she was a youth member of the Focolare Movement, www.focolare.us). Chiara said, “Talking about God doesn’t count for much. I have to give him.”
In the 20 years since her death, she’s become a model for young people. They like the way she lived faith — normal, yet radical. The “normal” was her vitality, love of pop music, dancing, singing, sports — her kindness.
And “radical,” from the time she was nine and went to her first Focolare Gen 3 meeting (New Generation). The kids wrote after that meeting: “We started our adventure … to do the will of God in the present moment. With the Gospel in our hands, we will do great things!”Chiara Luce on phone with friends during illness
She “lived” the Gospel, doing simple acts of love. It’s in the book, with quotes from her letters, diary, experiences. She made sure her dad would donate her corneas (the only part of her body not affected by the cancer or chemo), and refused morphine so she could “be” with her parents and Gen visitors as long as possible.
Her mantra in many painful moments was, “If you want it, Jesus, I want it too.”
Michele Zanzucchi’s book also tells the story of Chiara’s parents, who shared their only child’s spiritual life. (They are still living.) Her last words to them were, “Be happy, because I am.” The book describes a close relationship the young girl shared with Focolare’s founder with the same first name, Chiara Lubich. (Some members of Chicago’s Focolare will attend the beatification.)
The book is $9.95 + shipping from New City Press, (800) 462-5980. There is footage of and about Chiara Luce on YouTube.com and at Google.com. (“Into the Light” is a song written and recorded in her memory.)
- “Virgin of the Lilies” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1899.
Faces of Mary follow-up —To those who asked for a list of the Mary master works (in the public domain) in the awesome morphing slideshow (Clips, 8/29-9/11), go to www.facesofmary.net and click on “Image Details” at the top of the page. There is a still photo of each Madonna with title and artist. Click on each image and learn more of its history. Seeing them in still form, you can understand their harmonizing flow.
Goin’ places —Our own, well, now Springfield’s Bishop Tom Paprocki, 58, is in training for the Oct. 17 Denver marathon. His monetary pledges will join other generous donors in paying down the $2.07 million debt on the recently restored Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield. This will be his 17th marathon.
Parish potpourri —Immaculate Conception Parish (E. 88th St.) is probably the only Catholic church in South Chicago with its original organ in maintained condition. Built by Kilgen in 1930, parishioners sacrificed over the years to “keep it up.” Organs need TLC, and right now this lovely one needs “releathering.” The organ accompanies English and Spanish hymn singing as well as Gregorian chant. If you can contribute any amount, make check or m.o. payable to Immaculate Conception Church (for organ), 2944 E. 88th St., Chicago, IL 60617. . . . The “Pure of Heart Campaign Rally” Aug. 22, included youth from around Lake County who support the arch Respect Life Office’s important Chastity Education Initiative. Bishop George Rassas was there to give them a blessing and encouragement.
Send your benevolent gossip to Church Clips, Catholic New World, P.O. Box 1979, Chicago, IL 60690-1979; or e-mail to email@example.com.