CmalatalettoWith the worsening of her illness, the administration of morphine should be intensified, but Chiara Luce refuses: “It will take away my lucidity and I can only offer Jesus my pain,” she says resolutely. Her dad Ruggero is constantly impressed, almost in disbelief, also by the determination and serenity that his daughter demonstrates in the most difficult moments. Sometimes he goes as far as spying on her through the keyhole, to be sure that her daughter is not playing a part to make it a little ‘less painful’ for her parents: and she is there, always serene, and sometimes he hears her singing

One early morning her mother enters the hospital room where Chiara was hospitalized again:

“I go in, and seeing the terrible mess around the room, I immediately understood that it had been a terrible night for her. Ruggero signals to me to stay silent because Chiara seemed to have just fallen asleep. I leaned on the wall, next to her, her face so pale that she seemed dead already. I watch her in silence, but she had apparently realized that her mom had arrived, and with a huge struggle, she tried to smile at me. So I asked her what had happened, and she replied: “Everything, mom! Everything! But you know, I didn’t waste a thing, not even – putting her thumb and index finger together – not even this much pain. I offered everything to Jesus”. So I turned to Ruggero and we really felt, looking at each other, that we should have kneeled in front of this daughter of ours: to admire and thank God for the wonders He was making in her soul”.

Scan_066In another moment of particular physical suffering she confided to her mother: “Jesus removes my stains with bleach to remove even blackheads, bleach burns. So when I get to Heaven, I will be as white as snow”. And again: “See, I have nothing left, but I still have my heart and with that I can still love”.  Don Lino, the assistant pastor, brings the Eucharist to her every day: for Chiara that is the most anticipated and important moment of her days. She feels that the end is near. She prepares herself, and prepares those around her. With her friend Chicca she chooses the songs that she would like for her funeral. She wants it to be a party, and does not neglect any detail: the flowers, the hairstyle, her parents’ outfits, and her dress: white, like a wedding gown … To her mom she reveals “When I will have gone to Heaven, you and Dad will write the experience we have lived together and you will donate it to others”.  At another time, she warns her: “When you get me ready, you will have to repeat – now Chiara Luce sees Jesus”.

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On September 10, 1990, a few weeks before her death, Chiara sends a recorded message to the gen – the youth members of the ‘Focolare Movement’ – to say goodbye and to thank them for their support; in that occasion she tells them an experience she lived in the hospital in Turin.


“I try to offer every little thing… so that the big event may bear fruit…

It’s because… the day before… receiving Jesus in the Eucharist… I had asked him to erase every mistake, every failure, of which there are so many…so that the big event would go well…. and so I think it worked… because… I feel like I do so little for the Opera… not being able to be present, not being able to help you with the New Youth, which I know is flourishing… so I offered this… I hope it helped…

As always, to keep Jesus in our midst, so extremely important right now, I wanted to share one of my experiences with you, which happened in Torino, a short while ago. I checked into the hospital, as I often have to, for a few days… and one of the doctors had told me I had to visit with a specialist for my legs in another hospital. So, the next morning my parents and I transferred there. But once we got there, and only when we got there, I understood that maybe it wasn’t a simple visit, but it was something more, because we were going into the operating room.

And I was so scared, because… I could not understand what they were about to do to me… I was expecting a normal doctor’s visit… and most of all… there was no one who could explain it to me… I went into this room, and after the doctors asked me a few questions, I understood that it would be minor surgery, very minor… with local anesthesia… nothing special, but…. I was also scared, because I didn’t really understand what it was about… they were talking in medical jargon… so I was not familiar with the terms they were using… It was a beautiful experience… because when the doctors began this tiny operation… which was… a little… troublesome… A person came in… a woman… with an extremely radiant smile… beautiful! She came up to me, she took my hand, and she encouraged me… I was convinced that this was one of ‘our people’, that she was a member of the Movement, because that light was typical of our Ideal… In fact I thought my parents, who had stayed outside, knowing her, had sent her in.

At a certain point… just as she came in, she was gone. I never saw her again, but I was overwhelmed by great joy… and all my fear went away!

When I came out of the OR, I asked my parents who she was, but they didn’t know her… come to think of it, I couldn’t explain what had happened… but I felt strongly that I needed to thank God for that… because rationally I thought it was a coincidence… but then I asked myself… “Why did she come in that precise moment? Right in that circumstance? Especially with that light…which I would call… without exaggerating… supernatural… she looked like an angel, an angel that the Blessed Mary had put next to me. It was truly astounding… a profound moment of God. Even my parents who had stayed outside knew nothing, so it was very strong for them too…. But we were able to trust God, and everything worked out… so in that moment I realized that if we were to ALWAYS be in that frame of mind… ready for anything… how many signs God would send us… I also understood that God passes us by so many times and we don’t even realize it… It was beautiful… so… that’s it… that’s what I wanted to tell you… to feel closer… even though I’m not present there with you… to feel more like brothers and sisters… this is what I wanted to tell you, declaring all my unity to you, especially for the New Youth… I was given an update… I heard about all the steps God allowed these youth to make… and for the big event I also invited one of my friends, as many of you know… and I know a lot of you met him… and he was extremely happy, in fact when he went home he told his mother that we should have meetings like this every day… He was impressed by the people, by the climate, by the love with which he was surrounded, and all this thanks to you, because I heard you were very close to him… he told me everything… ‘I met this person, do you know her?’… so… I thank you for this too… now I have to say goodbye, although I have so much to say to you… so… until next time… Goodbye everyone! One!!”

On October 5th, although exhausted, she had time to say goodbye to the many people that came by for an update, especially the youth, to whom she feels she has to pass the baton, like at the Olympics, because, she confides remembering Chiara Lubich’s words: “The youth are the future: they have only one life and they must live it well”.

Soon after, she signals her mother to move closer to her: “Mom, Ciao! Be happy, because I am”.  Dad Ruggero, on the other side of the bed, asks if the invitation is for him too, and she nods with a smile. Those will be her last words, but not her last act of love, because Chiara will donate her corneas, the only part of her body not affected by the cancer..

Scan_077Chiara Luce died at 4:10 AM on October 7th, 1990. At her funeral, celebrated by Bishop mons. Maritano, the musical groups Gen Rosso and Gen Verde sing the songs she chose: the church is packed with hundreds of youth, and almost the entire town is on the street that leads to the little cemetery, where she will be buried in the little family chapel; and there too, more singing and emotional tears. Chiara Lubich had sent a large flower arrangement and a telegram to her parents: “Let’s thank God for this luminous masterpiece”.