From the first months after Chiara’s departure, the echo of Chiara
Luce Badano’s story began to spread around the world, while her tomb, in
the Sassello cemetery, became a destination for
countless pilgrimages, for everyone, especially the youth. Because hers
is an example that is in some way reproducible, besides being
extraordinarily modern: for everyone, especially the youth. They come to
Sassello from everywhere (proof of that is the basket always full of
letters in her little chapel); and the Focolare Movement Center
continues to receive countless testimonies: people who have changed
their lives, rediscovered their faith, or received special graces.
Livio Maritano, bishop of Acqui Terme and a direct witness to Chiara’s
life, took the initiative, and in September 1998 decided to start the
Beatification process. This is how he supported his decision:
“It seemed to me that her testimony was significant, especially for young people. We need holiness today too. We need to help the youth find a direction, a purpose, to overcome insecurities and solitude, their enigmas in facing failures, pain, death and all their anxieties”.
The course of the canonical process was definitely expeditious; also
thanks to the great work by the Postulation that organizes the process
and incessantly gathers evidence and documents. Started in the diocese
of Acqui Terme in 1999, it passed to the Vatican as soon as the
following year, and on July 3, 2008, Chiara Badano was declared
With the Holy Father’s authorization, the following
year the “Congregation for Saints Causes” released the decree regarding
the miracle attributed to Chiara Badano’s intercession; the sudden
healing of a boy from Trieste who was suffering from a most severe form
of fulminating meningitis. The doctors had given him 48 hours to live.
Shortly thereafter, in November 2009, Pope Benedict XVI declared her Blessed.
September 25, 2010: the day of the Beatification. More than twenty
thousand people rushed to the “Divino Amore” (‘Divine Love’) Roman
Sanctuary: youth and adults from more than 70 nations across the five
continents. Endless initiatives were organized across the world to allow
even those most distant and underprivileged to afford the trip. A
simple ceremony, but intense and moving, followed around the world
thanks to internet and television broadcasts. The rite was presided by
Monsignor Angelo Amato, the Prefect for the “Congregation for the Causes
of Saints”. Chiara’s mother still remembers: “When I saw the drape that
covered the large picture of Chiara come down I felt in that moment
that Chiara was no longer my daughter, but she belonged to everyone, she
That same night, in the crowded “Paul VI Hall” in the Vatican, a great
event sealed an extraordinary day; this too reaches many countries
around the world thanks to live streaming. With Chiara Luce – Life,
Love, Light was an enormous feast that communicated the model of life of
this new Blessed with the language of theater, music and several
witnesses. However, even that immense Hall was not enough to hold
everyone, and many youth were forced to watch the event on the large
screens placed in Saint Peter’s Square.
The following week, during his visit to Palermo, Pope Benedict XVI
addressed the youth, recalling the beatification and recommending Chiara
and her family as a model:
“I invite you to get to know her – he said, among other things – Her life was short, but it is a wonderful message (…) Nineteen years full of life, love, and faith. Two years, the last ones, also filled with pain, but always lived in love and light, a light that shone around her and that came from within: from her heart full of God! How is this possible? How can a 17, 18 year-old girl live through suffering like that, humanly hopeless, spreading love, serenity, peace, faith? Apparently, it is a grace from God but this grace was also prepared and accompanied by human cooperation: Chiara’s own cooperation, of course, but also that of her parents and friends (…) Today I want to highlight this in a special way. Blessed Chiara Badano’s parents are alive, they were in Rome for the beatification – I myself met them in person – and they are witnesses of the fundamental fact that explains everything: their daughter was full of the light of God! And they were the ones who first turned on this light, which comes from faith and love: her mother and father sparked the flame of faith in their daughter’s soul, and they helped Chiara to always keep it burning, even in the most difficult moments of growth and especially during the great trials of suffering”.
In the wake of the beatification, Chiara Luce’s life continues to spread like a media tam-tam among youth around the world. Her life consistently inspires articles, television specials, songs and musicals. The world of social media from Facebook to YouTube, from Orkut to Twitter, overflows with news about her; as well as websites and biographies in more than thirty languages (from the most famous to the most particular, from Korean to Croatian, from Norwegian to Turkish, from Urdu to Japanese, and then Armenian, Chinese, Swahili…).
In the meantime, as the canonization process goes forth comes the fulfilment of her parents’ wish to create the “Chiara Badano Foundation”, which is responsible for collecting all the material about her that pours in from around the world (including this official website), safeguarding and disseminating her image. Not only that: all kinds of structures are constantly dedicated to her: parks, streets and town squares, fountains, oratories, youth centers, shelters…. On december 27, 2010 in Bohicon, Bénin, the first church in the world dedicted to the Blessed Chiara, while in September 2015 the first parish was dedicated to her in the presence of her parents: in a tiny town in the rural heartland of India.
There’s more: for over five years now, her parents, accompanied by
Chicca and Franz Coriasco (her “agnostic” biographer), continue to
travel the world, invited by dioceses, public and private associations,
schools, prisons, the most disparaged organizations and events to bring
their testimony: to the World Youth Days in Madrid and Rio de Janeiro,
in dozens of European nations and around the world. A small “team”, like
mom Maria Teresa likes to define it, but supported by a great number of
collaborators, like Chiara’s friend Giuliano in Sassello, whose Bar
Gina is still today a fundamental point of reference for those who come
from all over the world to visit Chiara’s grave. Not to mention the many
that follow and coordinate the countless groups of pilgrims that come
to Sassello, and the many friends of Chiara who continue to bring their
testimony wherever her parents cannot go: it is the tiny “people of
Chiara” who, then like today, continues to gather around her.
In short, Chiara’s story continues to fascinate and win the hearts of people everywhere, especially the youth: of all religions and cultures, of every creed, including non-believers. Because that of Chiara Luce is a story that continues, and never ceases to amaze.