RUGGERO BADANO’S PROFILE
Sassello, October 15, 2018
Anyone who has met him knows that Ruggero was a humble man of few words, so we do not think he would appreciate too many panegyrics, even less so on this occasion.
He was born in Sassello on February 12, 1935. Like so many of his peers, he had lived through the darkest years of the Second World War: he liked going out with friends, going hunting and searching for mushrooms.
It was love at first sight with Maria Teresa, although it took him quite a while to declare himself.
He worked as a truck driver in the small family business: a difficult job that often took him away from home, but he enjoyed going back and forth through Italy.
Ruggero was a simple man, one of common sense and cheerfulness, but gifted with a deep intelligence and a great sense of justice: all peculiarities that he transmitted to his daughter, together with the love for nature and for life.
He and Maria Teresa got married in October 1960. Exactlyon October 16th: sometimes life reserves incredible coincidences for us … And October is a recurring month in the life of Badanos: Maria Teresa was born in October, Chiara, awaited for 11 years, was born on October 29, 1971, and died on October 7, 1990.
The tumor that had struck her in 1989 came as a tsunami to upset the quiet life of the Badano family, and his in particular. Faced with that overwhelming verdict, he and Maria Teresa hugged each other tight, together they entrusted her to the Blessed Mother, and together from that moment, they shared every moment of her Calvary.
It was not easy, of course, but the unity between them and with Chiara, and the sharing with friends of the Focolare Movement helped them to face even the most difficult challenges and trials that parents can face: \”Sometimes I felt like a paratrooper – he remembered while talking about those days – You jump and you feel the fall, but you know that the parachute will open. The same was for me: sometimes I felt myself falling into emptiness, but Jesus supported me and I had the strength to start again. We had our pain, Chiara’s pain, but they were down there, they did not touch us\”.
A hard battle, to be faced day by day, hairpin bend after hairpin bend, living that particular present that God\’s Will reserved for them: “Like her, we had to remain firm and certain in that plan – he often said – and we found this strength, not only in the unity and prayers of many people, but also before Jesus in the Eucharist, to whom we would run as often as possible, perhaps no longer able to pray, but only to listen to Him”.
Yet, in the midst of all those troubles, Ruggero and his family also found remnants of Paradise, feeling in each of them a sign of God\’s love for them. As on the day of Chiara\’s 18th birthday, when Ruggero took up pen and paper and wrote her this card:“My joy, I have so many things to tell you, but I can’t say them all, just a few. I apologize if sometimes I was rude to you. I thank Jesus for sending you among us on this Journey that will never end. Thank you for all the joy you gave us with your love, thank you for teaching me to suffer, to offer, and above all to do God’s will in the present moment. Let’s remain in unity so that Jesus may be in our midst: only in this way, with your help and with His, will we also be able to live in that dimension. United forever, your dad.”
Chiara was declared Blessed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, but for years he and Maria Teresa – responding to their daughter’s wish – had already been traveling through Italy to give testimony to the extraordinary adventure they experienced. However, since that day, appointments have multiplied, in Europe and around the World: France, Germany, England, Spain, and then Brazil, Egypt, even in the rural heart of India: to inaugurate the first parish built specifically to be dedicated to Chiara.
Ruggero lived those moments as well with the simplicity and naturalness of his character, but rejoicing every time in seeing how much his daughter was loved throughout the world.
Until the aftermath of a bad fall stopped him permanently. But until the end Ruggero remained the same as always: with his pungent sense of humor, with his faith strong as rock, with that penetrating gaze with which he could listen to anyone, without making a distinction between a more or less important person. Ruggero was like that, and he was truly very similar to Chiara, in personality and temperament: now they found each other again, and this time it will be forever.
Goodbye Ruggero, and thank you for all the love you gave us: we will miss you, but we will always know where to look for you…