Sunday, 9 October 2011

Blessed Chiara Badano

In September 2010, Chiara "Luce" Badano was beatified. Something of her significance for young people of our times can be found here and in this report of a presentation of her life that was offered as part of the cultural programme of the 2011 World Youth Day in Madrid.

Magnificat published the following short account of Chiara Badano's life, under the heading "Saints of Today and Yesterday", for Saturday 8th October. One detail of this account appears to differ from other sources, that is, the description of the initial pain of Chiara's illness being felt in the spine rather than, as other accounts suggest, in the shoulder.
As a child, Chiara Badano, of Savona, Italy, imbibed from her mother a deep love for Jesus and Mary. At the age of nine, she learned of the Focolare apostolate, of which she became a devoted member. Chiara was sixteen when as she was playing tennis she suddenly felt a sharp pain in her spine. It proved to be the first sign of bone cancer. As she underwent a gruelling series of medical treatments, she suffered without complaint. Chiara developed a special devotion to Christ in the mystery of the abandonment he experienced in his passion. During her illness, she spent hours conversing with her mother about her faith. Chiara also experienced the higher states of prayer, finding it difficult afterward to descend "from the heights where I spend my days, and where all is silence and contemplation". She was repeatedly heard to pray in her sufferings, "If you will it, Jesus, I will it too". When on her deathbed a priest brought her Viaticum, she saluted the Blessed Sacrament with the words, "Come, Lord Jesus". Having spoken of Christ as her Spouse, Chiara, nineteen at her death on 7th October 1990, was buried in a wedding gown as she had requested.
The first paragraph of the "Day by Day" meditation for today, Sunday, is then taken from the writings of St Catherine of Siena, and has a happy coincidence of theme:
I Caterina, servant and slave of the servants of Jesus Christ, am writing to you in his precious blood. I long to see you clothed in the wedding garment without which I know we cannot please our Creator or have a place at the wedding feast of everlasting life. So I want you to dress up, and to make that more possible, I want you to take off all your selfish ... love.

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