.- Expecting to offer their appreciation to the Holy Father for the beatification of their daughter, the parents of Blessed Chiara "Luce" Badano were thanked instead by the Pontiff himself. They expressed their surprise to be chosen to participate in their daughter's "contagious Christian experience."
L'Osservatore Romano (LOR) reported on the encounter between the blessed's parents and Pope Benedict XVI which followed Wednesday's audience in St. Peter's Square.
Greeting the Pope after a line of prelates had done so, Maria Teresa and Ruggero Badano were visibly pleased to meet the Holy Father. They meant to thank Pope Benedict for their daughter's beatification last Saturday, but, reported LOR, it was the Holy Father who thanked them.
The parents remarked that they were "surprised that two poor people like ourselves were chosen to participate in the contagious Christian experience of our only daughter."
Recalling the years they waited hopefully before their baby was born and then remembering their suffering during her illness and death, they said, "now we are more than ever with her in the joy for her beatification."
During the brief audience in the square, they gave the Pope a card signed by Chiara in which she entrust herself to the Virgin Mary to have "the strength necessary to never give in."
After a bout with bone cancer, the blessed died in 1990 at the age of 18, but is remembered for her constant joy and close relationship with Christ. She was beatified by Archbishop Angelo Amato last Saturday in a celebration at Rome's Divine Love shrine.
Among others present who had also attended her beatification included: fellow Focolare Movement members from 42 countries, the movementâs president Maria Voce, Chiara's former bishop who began her cause and the postulators who continue to promote her cause for canonization.