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.
A call to everyone
When I think of Chiara Luce Badano, the phrase, “A life lived to the full” always comes to my mind. Through her experience I have understood that the significance of our lives is not measured in how long we live or how many things we have accomplished or experienced, rather in how we lived it. She has given me the courage to embrace wholeheartedly the reality of each present moment, and to live it to the full.
Three years ago, the young people of the Focolare in the Midwest U.S. decided to have a program on the life of Chiara Luce Badano. Since many knew that I enjoy writing songs, my youth coordinator at the time, Margaret, asked me if I could write a song for it.
Song writing had always been very spontaneous for me, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to come up with the right words. But I also felt that this was my opportunity to contribute to this program, so I said yes.
In the weeks following, I couldn’t think of anything worth writing. One day Margaret called me to ask how the song was coming, and I told her quite honestly that I had not written anything yet. She said, “Think of the one person in the audience who is lost or alone and needs to hear the call from God to our life as young people in the Focolare — the life that Chiara Luce lived.”
That night, I was lying in my bed and thinking about our life being a call. Suddenly, the whole song came to me, and in the next 10 minutes I had written it down. Then I shared the song with the others, and we decided that it would be a perfect fit in the program.
So many people approached me after that program and said how much the song had touched them. I felt so blessed to be able to show people how much Chiara Luce had influenced my own life just through a song. In the following months, many people from all over the world heard the song, and I ended up being able to sing it for 12,000 young people in Hungary at the Focolare’s international youth festival, Genfest 2012.
If we could each live like Chiara Luce, inspiring those around us, I think the world would be filled with saints.
Ann Rusher, Ohio