Chiara “Luce” Badano was proclaimed “Blessed” in 2010. A few days later, this is how Pope Benedict XVI would remember her: “I think you all know that last Saturday, September 25th, in Rome, an Italian girl named Chiara, Chiara Badano, was beatified. I invite you to get to know her: her life was short, but itâ€™s a wonderful message. Chiara was born in 1971 and died in 1990, because of an incurable illness. Nineteen years full of life, of love, of faith.
Two years, the last ones, also filled with pain and suffering, but always in love and light, a light that shone around her, and that came from within: from her heart filled with God! How can this be? How can a girl of 17, 18 years live a suffering like this, without any kind of human hope, spreading love, serenity, peace and faith? Obviously, this is a grace from God, but this grace was also prepared and accompanied by human collaboration: the collaboration of Chiara herself, certainly, but also of her parents and her friends.” (Benedict XVI, Palermo, October 3, 2010)
From the first months after Chiara’s departure, echoes of Chiara Luce Badano’s story began to spread around the world, while her tomb, in the Sassello cemetery, became a destination for countless pilgrimages, for everyone, especially the youth. Because hers is an example that is, in some way, reproducible, besides being extraordinarily modern for everyone, especially the youth.
They come to Sassello from everywhere (proof of that is the basket always full of letters in her little chapel); and the Center of the Focolare Movement continues to receive countless testimonies: people who have changed their lives, rediscovered their faith, or received special graces.
Monsignor Livio Maritano, bishop of Acqui Terme and a direct witness to Chiara’s life, took the initiative, and in September 1998 decided to start the Beatification process. This is how he supported his decision: “It seemed to me that her testimony was significant, especially for young people. We need holiness today too. We need to help the youth find a direction, a purpose, to overcome insecurities and solitude, their uncertainties in facing failures, pain, death and all their anxieties.”
The course of the canonical process was definitely expeditious; also thanks to the great work by the Postulation that organizes the process and incessantly gathers evidence and documents. Started in the diocese of Acqui Terme in 1999, it passed to the Vatican as soon as the following year, and on July 3, 2008, Chiara Badano was declared “Venerable.”
The following year, on December 19, 2009, with the Holy Father’s authorization, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints released the decree regarding the miracle attributed to Chiara Badano’s intercession; the sudden healing of a boy from Trieste who was suffering from a most severe form of fulminant meningitis. The doctors had given him 48 hours to live. Shortly thereafter, Pope Benedict XVI beatified her in September 2010.
Chiara’s story continues to fascinate and win the hearts of people everywhere, especially the youth of all social backgrounds and cultures, of every creed, including non-believers. Chiara Luce is a story that continues, and never ceases to amaze.