A selection of messages of condolence sent to the Focolare Movement on the death of its founder Chiara Lubich on the 14th March 2008 from Prominent Christian Leaders at the time.
Cardinal Bertone who presided at the funeral “Chiara’s Lubich’s life is a song of love to God, to God who is love”.
Bartholomew I Orthodox ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople Ms. Lubich had the respect and esteem of the great Church of Constantinople for her monumental work to promote a Gospel-based love among people of all religions and backgrounds. His All Holiness was happy to be able to visit Chiara on his most recent visit to Rome. The great works of Chiara will ensure that her memory will be eternal. May he who is Lord of the living and the dead comfort the many that loved her.
Dr. Rowan Williams Archbishop of Canterbury Chiara Lubich was one of the great figures of the modern Church, she set a new tone and a new agenda for the community life of many Christians. Her writings and teachings gave inspiration to hundreds of thousands and we lament her passing with very deep feeling. She was someone I had the privilege of meeting and I’ve had very fruitful contact over many years with the Focolare movement who have been kind and supportive and inspirational to me in my own ministry. My heart goes out to them as they mourn Chiara’s passing. I think we have seen in her one of the great lights of the present Christian generation.
Rev. Samuel Kobia, Secretary-general of the World Council of Churches The many friends of Chiara Lubich in the World Council of Churches received with deep sorrow the news of her death at her home in Rocca di Papa. Only a few weeks ago, I met her there, once again impressed by her tremendous spiritual strength despite her physical weakness’s. A flame of love that began to shine in the midst of the ashes and destruction of the war in 1943 in Trento, Chiara Lubich’s charisma gave birth to the Focolare movement that spread within her life-time to all regions of the world. Focusing on the spirituality of unity, Chiara Lubich had a profound impact on the ecumenical movement and helped significantly to foster viable relationships between churches of different Christian traditions. She challenged the Focolare movement and all of us to give credible witness to the presence of Christ also in the spheres of economy and politics.
Rabbi David Rosen President of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations She also became more and more convinced that inter-religious dialogue and cooperation in full respect for the religious convictions of the other are necessary expressions of Christian love. I give thanks for the great blessing of her life in this world and for the movement she founded and the millions more from all faiths. Chiara’s legacy is one of the greatest spiritual blessings of our time.
“Imam W. Deen Muhammad”, the founder and leader of American Society of Muslims: Chiara Lubich opened up something in me. She opened up another room in my heart and in my soul and made me feel more comfortable in expressing my desire to have Muslims and Christians know each other, so we can be better citizens with each other. Not just for ourselves but for each other.
President Nichiko Niwano of the Rissho Kosei-kai a Buddhist Japanese Movement, sent a message of condolence to the Focolare headquarters. In his message, President Niwano praised Ms. Lubich’s lifelong dedication to promoting world unity and expressed his gratitude for her friendship with Rissho Kosei-kai. During the Funeral Mass, representatives of six Christian and other religious organizations made speeches of condolence. Rev. Watanabe spoke as one of the representatives of non-Christian faiths, Recalling Ms. Lubich’s virtues, he said that Rissho Kosei-kai hopes its ties with the Focolare Movement will flourish eternally as both organizations work hand in hand for peace.
Lisa Palmieri Representative in Italy and the Vatican for the Anti-Defamation League Vice moderator World Conference on Religion and Peace/Europe Chiara was infused by Divine Inspiration in teaching us all that only Love can heal this aching world. Her energy continues to expand across the globe, bringing us ever closer. May her name be a blessing to all humankind.
Pope Benedict XVI There are many reasons to give thanks to the Lord for the gift he has given to the Church in this woman of intrepid faith, a meek messenger of hope and peace, founder of a great spiritual family that extends across multiple fields of evangelization.
Above all I would like to give thanks to God for the service Chiara has offered to the Church: a silent and incisive service, always in harmony with the magisterium of the Church. “The Popes,” she said, “have always understood us.” That is because Chiara and the Work of Mary have always tried to respond with docile fidelity to each one of their invitations and desires.
The uninterrupted list of each of my venerable predecessors, from the Servant of God Pius XII and Blessed John XXIII to the Servants of God Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II, is a concrete testimony. The thought of the Pope was for her a sure directional guide. Moreover, seeing the initiatives that she has started, one could even affirm that she had an almost prophetic capacity to intuit [that thought] and act on it in an anticipatory way.
Her heritage passes now to her spiritual family: May the Virgin Mary, constant model as a reference point for Chiara, help each member of Focolare to follow the same path, contributing to make the Church be ever more a house and school of communion, as dear John Paul II wrote after the Jubilee Year 2000.
Chiara Lubich’s message of the 25 December 1973, addressed to the members of the Focolare Movement about her wish after her death:
“If I should have to leave this world today and you were to ask me for a single word, one last word that sums up our Ideal, I would say – certain of being perfectly understood – ‘Be a family’.
Are there among you those who are suffering spiritual or moral trials? Understand them as a mother and more than a mother would, enlighten them with your words or example. Do not leave them alone; indeed, surround them with the warmth of a family.
Are there among you those who are suffering physically? They should be your preference. Suffer with them. Seek to understand their sufferings in depth. Share with them the fruits of your apostolic endeavours so that they may realize that they, more than others, contributed to its success.
Are there those who are dying? Imagine yourself in their place and do all that you would want others to do to you, to the very last instant.
Are there those who are happy because of a particular achievement or for any other reason? Share in their happiness, so that their consolation may not be saddened and their heart closed, but that the joy may be of all.
Are some people leaving? Let them go, but first fill their heart with this one heritage: a sense of the family, so that they may bring it to their future destination.
Never put any kind of activity– neither spiritual, nor apostolic – before the spirit of being a family with the brothers or sisters with whom you live.
And wherever you go to bring the ideal of Christ, to extend the immense family of the Work of Mary, you can do nothing better than to seek to create with discretion, with prudence, but with determination, the spirit of a family. It is a humble spirit, it wants the good of the others, it is not proudâ€¦ in short, it is charity, true, complete charity.
In conclusion, if I should have to leave you, I would have Jesus in me repeat to you: ‘Love one anotherâ€¦ so that all may be one‘».