concludes her Holy Journey
14 March 2008, shortly after 2am Chiara Lubich, founder
of the focolare movement, died peacefully aged 88, at her
home in Rocca di Papa, surrounded by members of her family
and the Focolare community.
Following several weeks care in Rome’s Gemelli Hospital,
Chiara had expressed the desire to return home and she was discharged
on Wednesday evening.
All day long, in the concluding hours of her life, she was visited
by hundreds of people - relatives, close collaborators and her
spiritual sons and daughters – who paid their last farewell
in her room, and then stopped for a moment of meditation in the
adjacent chapel. Despite her extreme weakness, Chiara was able
to recognize some of these people.
An enormous number of messages has already reached the Focolare
Centre in Rome from religious, political, academic and civil
leaders from all over the world expressing their gratitude for
Chiara’s life and for her contribution to the Church and
to humanity. Messages of love and unity are also arriving from
her many spiritual children present in all the continents.
Pope sends telegram of condolence
On hearing of the death of the 88 year-old Focolare founder,
Pope Benedict XVI sent a telegram expressing his “deep
emotion” on hearing the news of her death which, he said,
had come “at the end of a long and fruitful life marked
untiringly by her love for Jesus forsaken.”
In his message Pope Benedict said that together with all those
who “valued her constant commitment for communion in
the Church, for ecumenical dialogue and brotherhood among all
that he assured Chiara’s family and the whole Focolare
Movement of his spiritual closeness “with affection”.
The Pope thanked the Lord for Chiara having given herself to
“listening to the needs of contemporary humanity in complete
faithfulness to the Church and the Pope”. He expressed
the wish that “all those who had met her and knew her,
admiring the wonders that God performed through her missionary
ardour, will follow in her footsteps and keep the charism alive.”
The Pope concluded his message invoking “the maternal
intercession of Mary” and giving his apostolic blessing