The other day I came across a beautiful quotation from Blessed Chiara Luce Badano (1971-1990). This remarkable girl from a village called Sassello in Italy joined the Focolare Movement at the age of nine; Focolare was founded in the thick of World War II by her Italian namesake Chiara Lubich (1920-2008) as a movement for spiritual and social renewal. The word focolare means 'fireplace' in Italian - a source of heat and light and a symbol of homeliness. Blessed Chiara Badano developed cancer at the age of sixteen, but the courage and gentleness with which she endured the disease actually gave inspiration to those who visited her. One of her doctors, Antonio Delogu, said, "Through her smile, and through her eyes full of light, she showed us that death doesn't exist; only life exists." A friend from the Focolare Movement said, "At first we thought we'd visit her to keep her spirits up, but very soon we understood that, in fact, we were the ones who needed her. Her life was like a magnet drawing us to her." The quotation I mentioned at the start is from the end of her life: "I have nothing left, but I still have my heart and with that I can always love". I am reminded of St Therese of Lisieux, who decided that her vocation was to be love at the heart of the Church.
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