Blessed Chiara Luce Badano has an impact on youth all over the world
Three years after Chiara Luce Badano was declared blessed by the Catholic Church, young (and not so young!) people all over the world have taken up her torch. They are spreading her story and following her courageous “yes” to trust in God’s love and his will in their lives.
She was chosen as an intercessor at the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this summer. “A saint dressed in jeans” was the title of a musical at the WYD dedicated to sharing her life with the young people there.
Chiara Luce grew up an only child in Sassello, Italy. At 17, she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, an aggressive and painful form of bone cancer. Yet she trusted God’s plan, saying “If you want it, Jesus, I want it too.”
October 29 is her feast day. Here is what some young people from around the world wrote us about her impact on their lives.
Today I get to love
If I could, I would tell every stranger I see about Chiara Luce. The truth is that her life is so beautiful that if more young people knew about her, there would be a revolution.
I’ve always been healthy and strong. I even played basketball in college. When I developed the initial painful symptoms to an illness related to multiple sclerosis, it was the first time in my life that something was stronger than I was. The tests at the hospital were also very painful, and I was scared because they would have to be repeated.
That’s when I first read Chiara Luce’s story. I found a best friend in her, someone whom pain couldn’t conquer. And I started to invite her into my day. For example, if there was some act of love I didn’t want to do for someone, I would think that Chiara Luce would have done it, and then everything became easier.
Then, after several months, I realized that Chiara Luce was leading me toward the spirituality of the Focolare that she had lived. I finally understood her secret in loving: Jesus on the cross. He had felt abandoned by the Father, and yet continued to love and give his life for humanity. She knew she could love as he did, and I wanted to do that, too.
Discovering her secret even redeemed everything I had suffered, because it showed me that my suffering was a meeting with Jesus. And life became so precious, more beautiful — I would wake up in the morning so excited to start the day, because all I could think was, “Today I get to love!”
She made me understand sanctity in a new way. I thought it meant going to church to pray, pray, pray. But she also loved God in the normal everyday things. So I’ve realized that spending part of a Friday night at a pub with my coworkers listening to them is another way to reach sanctity. Missing my last youth group event at church in order to surprise my grandma with dinner — that’s also a way to reach sanctity in that present moment.
Now I want to spend my life so that other people can know about her, too, and have her example to help them. I share her story whenever I can. Sometimes the people I least expect are the ones deeply touched by her life and ask her for help.
— Jessica Berends, Michigan