Sunday, September 26, 2010

Another Wonderful Model for Youth: Blessed Chiara Badano

Who believes in coincidence? Not me. Everything happens according to God's perfect timing and it can be nearly electrifying to watch things unfold according to His plans.

Yesterday, a series of events led me to attend the Beatification of Chiara "Luce" Badano at the Sanctuary of Divine Love several miles away from the center of Rome. It took a long walk, the Metro and a bus to get there but it was well worth it. Thanks to Wanda and her friend (who happened to be named Piergiorgio!), I had a ticket to get inside the new church and ended up sitting six rows behind Mr. and Mrs. Badano throughout the Mass. After Mass, I was able to watch them being interviewed by various TV stations.

I had not heard of Chiara Badano until August 22nd when I was visiting some friends in Alabama. In honor of their wedding anniversary, another family hosted a little gathering that I almost didn't attend. It was during a conversation there that Chiara's name came up. When I heard that the beatification would take place on September 25th, something told me I was meant to attend.

Chiara Badano died at the age of 18 in 1990 -- the same year that Pier Giorgio was beatified. She suffered from bone cancer but her spirituality allowed her to embrace her suffering and give it all to God. The story is inspiring and you can find it (in English) on her website: All of the events were streamed live on the internet and you can watch the recordings (with English translations) from this website:

Like Pier Giorgio, Chiara is often noted for being a regular teenager who showed that we can be holy. One of her meditations during her battle with cancer was, "If you want it Jesus, so do I." She also reflected often on these words, "I'll be a saint, if I am a saint now." Those words struck me as a good way to examine my conscience. Am I being a saint now? Chiara planned her own funeral with the intention for it to be a true celebration of her meeting with Jesus. Her last words to her mother were, "Mom, be happy, because I am. Goodbye." Throughout the Mass, I could not help thinking about the suffering that her parents endured then and the tremendous joy they were experiencing 20 years later. Imagine losing your only child and then witnessing her beatification.

The lives of these two Blesseds are incredible examples of how we can be modern and Christian at the same time. We are all called to be holy. We are all called to be saints. As they unveiled the large picture of Blessed Chiara Badano in the presence of her parents and thousands upon thousands of others who attended, the choir sang "Gloria!" On earth and in heaven, the choirs sang. Blessed Chiara Badano and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati...pray for us!


This morning, I stepped out of the 21st century and into the 8th century when I attended the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in the Melkite tradition at the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. Many of you may not know that I am born and raised Byzantine Catholic. I grew up hearing the Liturgy chanted in Old Slavonic, so today's Italian mixed with Arabic was quite different, but it was very comforting to experience the Eastern Rite here in Rome.

On a side note, the exterior wall of Santa Maria in Cosmedin is famous for the Bocca della Verita (the Mouth of Truth) -- a tourist staple. People stand in line to put their hand inside the mouth and see if they will pull it out unharmed. If you have seen the movie, Roman Holiday, there is a cute scene with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck standing in that spot. Till next time...Verso l'alto!

1 comment:

Jackie O said...

Thank you for posting this lovely blog. Blessed Chiara, please pray for my children!