Beatification date announced for Italian teenager who died in 1989

.- Venerable Chiara Badano will be beatified next fall, the Bishop of the Diocese of Acqui, Italy announced on Friday. She provides a "meaningful" testimony to young people because she never lost sight of God in the midst of her battle with terminal cancer.

Bishop Pier Giorgio Micchiardi and the postulator of the Chiara Badano's Cause for Canonization announced on Friday that the date for her beatification is set for Sept. 25, 2010, according to SIR news.

Bishop Micchiardi's predecessor, now retired Bishop Livio Maritano, explained his reasons for putting the beatification process in motion for the girl who died in 1989, saying, "It seemed to me that her testimony was meaningful, particularly for young people."

According to an official website created in Chiara's honor, she lived a short, but intensely spiritual life before she succumbed to ravages of osteosarcoma, a malignant bone cancer.

The story of her life reveals an immense love for Christ and an inexhaustible faith in God's will. From the time she found out about the disease, she was often heard saying "If you want it Jesus, so do I."

As the disease ran its course over the period of three years, she was never heard complaining. After an operation left her paralyzed and suffering from extremely painful and constant leg contractions, she even said, "If I were now asked if I want to walk, I would say no, because this way I am closer to Jesus."

Having become a member of the Focolari Movement at the age of nine, she was said to have had a "mother-daughter like relationship" with its foundress, Chiara Lubich, who nicknamed her "Luce" or "Light."

Stories on the website dedicated to her relate that the young girl often reflected on the words of the foundress, “I'll be a saint, if I'm a saint now."

Contemplating the life of Chiara Badano and her example, Bishop Maritano explained, "There is a need for holiness also today." Her life is a "witness of faith, of strength fortitude" that instigates many people to change their lives, said the Italian bishop, adding that, "we have almost daily testimony of it."

SIR reported that Chiara will be the first member of the Focolari Movement to be beatified. Her cause was advanced with Pope Benedict XVI's approval of a decree last Dec. 19 attributing to her intercession the healing of a young Italian boy from Trieste who suffered from a serious case of meningitis.

Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregations for the Causes of Saints will preside over the solemn rite at the sanctuary Our Lady of Divine Love in Rome, and festivities will follow the ceremony in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall. Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone will celebrate a thanksgiving Mass at St. Paul Outside-the-walls on Sunday, Sept. 26.

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