Early this morning Chiara Lubich, one of the founders of the Catholic movement Focolare, passed away. Upon hearing of her death, Pope Benedict sent a telegram conveying his sadness and “deep emotion” to the movement.
According to a press release from Focolare, Chiara Lubich passed away “in a serene climate, of prayer and deep emotion” at 2 a.m. March 14 in her home. Her death came after she spent a month being hospitalized for severe respiratory failure.
The well loved leader spent her last day on earth receiving hundreds of people – relatives, close collaborators and her spiritual children – who went to her room to pay her their last respects, then stopped in meditation in the adjoining chapel and stayed around the house, praying, for quite some time.
Pope Benedict XVI responded to the news of her passing “with deep emotion”, saying that it “came at the end of a long and fruitful life marked by her tireless love for the abandoned Jesus.”
The Pope also recalled the Focolare Movement’s “constant commitment for communion in the Church, for ecumenical dialogue and for fraternity among all peoples.”
He continued saying, “I thank the Lord for the witness of her life, spent in listening to the needs of modern man in complete faithfulness to the Church and to the Pope. And, as I commend her soul to divine goodness that she may be welcomed in the bosom of the Father, I hope that those who knew and met her, admiring the wonders that God achieved through her missionary ardour, may follow her footsteps and keep her charism alive.”