The congregation singing to celebrate Chiara Badano’s beatification. Photo by Darren Boon
SINGAPORE – Chiara “Luce” Badano was just an ordinary teenager, but she achieved sanctity by the time she died of cancer at the age of 19.
She was only 17 when she was struck by the disease. When she learnt about it, she just fell silent for about 25 minutes before saying her “yes” and accepting God’s will for her in her life.
She would often repeat the words: “If you want it Jesus, so do I.”
And it is her sanctity that has become a source of inspiration and made her a role model for youths, say young people who attended a celebration organised by the Focolare Movement in Singapore on Oct 24.
The event, held at the Catholic Archdiocesan Education Centre, was to mark Chiara Badano’s beatification. About 100 people, comprising members of the Focolare community as well as non-members, attended the celebration.
Badano was given the title of “Blessed” on Sept 25, and is the first beatified member of the lay Focolare movement.
Blessed Chiara had belonged to the “Gen” – the young people of the community. The core spirituality of the movement is “the spirituality of unity”.
Astrid Ng, 18, a “Gen” member told CatholicNews that unlike Blessed Chiara who did not complain about her sufferings, she on the other hand would sometimes complain about some of the problems she faces.
Ms Ng added that she admires Blessed Chiara’s faith in God and wishes to emulate her.
“I think we can look to her and we can have hope in our lives,” she said.
“I think I may have a chance to be a saint if I pray more, become more spiritual, believe in God.”
It was also partly due to Blessed Chiara that “Gen” member Trevor E. Bando was inspired to take part in a mission outreach project in Batam, working with the other “Gen” members as one community.
Mr Bando added that it is heartening to know that a teenager like Blessed Chiara could in the modern age have the capacity to love and accept her sufferings.
“If you’re facing some challenges in life, you just have to think about how she accepted the difficulty that she is suffering. It’s already a joy for you to accept what you’re suffering at the present moment,” Mr Bando added.
Gerald Ho, 20, a non-member said that Blessed Chiara was able to smile during her sufferings and that this is an “inspiration to try to be happy through all our problems”.
Mr Ho hopes to do be able to do the same by loving the people around him despite the problems one might face.
Mr Nicolas Iturralde, Coordinator for the Focolare Movement in Singapore said that Blessed Chiara is an inspiration not just for the youth but for everybody – young and old.
Her route to sanctity began when Blessed Chiara accepted God’s will in her life, he said, and has lived out the Focolare charism in uniting her pain and suffering, remembering the forsaken Jesus who was on the cross.
Mr Iturralde said that it was important to do the will of God, even though it may not always be what one wants: “When we try to do the will of God, if we get used to the will of God, then the will of God becomes our will.”
Archbishop Nicholas Chia celebrated Mass for the participants in the morning. A video documentary on Blessed Chiara’s life was shown. Talks about the Focolare movement and spirituality followed after lunch.
By Darren Boon