Blessed Chiara Luce Badano was the child of Maria Teresa and Ruggero Badano. The couple waited and prayed for 11 years for the gift of a child, and then Chiara was born Oct. 29, 1971.
Love for neighbours
Chiara desired that all the children of the world would be happy. She donated her best toys to the poor children, and set aside her pocket money for children in Africa. She invited poor people into the family’s home for holidays, and visited the elderly, and sick children.
At 9 years of age, Chiara became involved with the Focolare movement, and lived out the spirituality of unity.
To please Jesus, the teenage Chiara dressed in a clean and tidy way, without being flashy or ostentatious, because “what matters is to be beautiful inside.” She tried to turn the normal difficulties of daily life into opportunities of love. Chiara was a girl like all the others: she liked music, dancing, swimming, tennis, and hiking in the mountains.
Chiara had a wide circle of friends. When asked, she said she did not try to bring Jesus to her friends with words. She tried to bring Jesus to them by the way she listened to them, by the way she dressed, and above all, by the way she loved them.
Way of the cross
In the summer of 1988, during a tennis match, Chiara experienced a very sharp pain in her left shoulder. Medical tests revealed Chiara had osteosarcoma, one of the most serious and painful forms of cancer, and it had already started spreading.
Once back home after hearing the news, Chiara told her mum not to ask her any questions, and she experienced 25 minutes of “Gethsemane garden.” Eventually she said “yes” to Jesus about accepting her sufferings, and then she said: “Now you can speak, Mum,” and her face shone again with her usual luminous smile.
The treatment was painful. Chiara wanted to be informed of every detail of her illness. For each new and painful surprise, her offering was firm: “For You, Jesus; if You want it, I want it too!”
Chiara underwent two surgeries, and subsequent chemotherapy treatment caused her to lose her hair. As each lock of hair fell, she would say sincerely, “For You, Jesus.”
In July 1989 the tumour spread quickly, and Chiara lost the use of her legs. She said, “If I had to choose between walking or going to heaven, I would choose going to heaven.”
In the last year of her life, Chiara kept in touch with and encouraged the Focolare movement through telephone calls, messages, postcards, and posters. In May 1990, Chiara had the joy of watching Genfest 90, an international youth gathering held in Rome, from her home. She was a great inspiration for those who came to visit her.
Chiara refused to take pain medication, saying: “It reduces my lucidity,” and she added, “There’s only one thing I can do now: offer my suffering to Jesus, because I want to share as much as possible in His suffering on the cross.”
Chiara gave all savings to a friend who did missionary work in Africa. She said, “I have nothing left, but I still have my heart, and with that I can always love.”
With her mother, Chiara prepared for her “wedding celebration”: her funeral. Chiara asked to be dressed in a simple white wedding dress; she chose the music, the songs, the flowers, and the Mass readings. She told her mother, “When you’re getting me ready, Mum, you have to keep saying to yourself, ‘Chiara Luce is now seeing Jesus.'”
Chiara died at 4:10 a.m. Oct. 7, 1990. Her last words to Teresa, her mother, were “Goodbye. Be happy because I’m happy.”