March 13, 2011.
Chiara Lubich was born on January 22, 1920, in Trent, northern Italy. When her father lost his job because he defended socialist ideas, Chiara began tutoring so that she could afford to go to college. In the midst of World War II, while Trent was being bombed, she decided to devote herself completely to God. It was on December 7, 1943, that the Focolare Movement began.
Although her family fled to the mountains, she decided to stay in town to help victims cope with the terrible consequences of the war. She worked to bring unity and brotherhood to all people, which became the charism she promoted the rest of her life.
In 1991 in Brazil, impacted by the social conflict and misery of the “favelas,” Chiara launched the “Economy of Communion,” a project based on solidarity in which a portion of the proceeds is given to the poor. Currently, there are 700 companies that follow this philosophy.
From 1997 to 1998, Chiara worked especially hard to promote interfaith dialogue. She was invited to speak during this time about her charism to 800 Buddhist monks in Thailand, in New York to 3,000 Muslims at a Harlem mosque, and in Buenos Aires to a Jewish community.
Chiara Lubich died on March 14, 2008, in Rocca di Papa, near Rome. Today, the Focolare Movement has 140,000 members and has over 2 million friends in 182 countries.