ROME – God is addressing a particular invitation to youth through the beatification of an 18-year-old Italian girl raised to the altars on Sep 25.

This was the affirmation made Sep 26 by Benedict XVI’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, when he spoke of Blessed Chiara “Luce” Badano (1971-1990).

Chiara died in 1990 of bone cancer just a few weeks before her 19th birthday. She is the first beatified member of the Catholic lay Focolare Movement.

Cardinal Bertone celebrated a thanksgiving Mass in her honour on Sunday at St. Paul’s Outside the Walls.

He recounted that on the return trip from the United Kingdom, he and the Holy Father spoke of the saintly girl.

“Seated next to him on the plane, we spoke of Chiara Luce Badano and he told me that this, our blessed, is an example to be appreciated by young people,” Cardinal Bertone said.

Speaking of Chiara’s spirituality, the cardinal noted her exhortation to youth, “I can no longer run, but I would like to pass the torch, as at the Olympics”. During her battle with cancer, Chiara lost the use of her legs.

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