By Kathy Fanger
Chiara Luce Badano was born in 1971 to Ruggero and Teresa Badano of Sassello, Italy. At the early age of four, Chiara seemed aware of the needs of others. She would give her toys to poor children, invite less-fortunate people into the family’s home for the holidays, and visit the elderly at the retirement center. When other children were sick and confined to bed, Chiara visited them. She loved the stories of the Gospel and attending Mass.
Chiara was an avid tennis player and adored hiking and swimming. She loved to sing and dance. Chiara said she did not try to bring Jesus to her friends with words, but with her example and how she lived her life.
When she was nine, Chiara became involved with the Focolare Movement and its branch for young people. The founder nicknamed her “Luce” meaning “light”, because her smile and love of Jesus lit up a room.
At 17, Chiara developed a very serious form of bone cancer. Treatments were painful and unsuccessful. In her suffering and paralysis, she felt closer to Jesus. Despite being confined to bed, Chiara wrote many letters inspiring everyone with her faith and love. “I have nothing left, but I still have my heart, and with that I can always love.”
When nearing death, Chiara said, “Oh, Mama, young people – they are the future. I can’t run anymore, but now would like to pass them the torch, like in the Olympics. Young people have only one life and it’s worthwhile to live it well.”
Chiara planned her funeral with her mother. She chose the songs, flowers and scripture readings for the mass. When you’re getting me ready in my white dress, you have to keep singing, “Chiara Luce is now seeing Jesus.” At my funeral, don’t shed any tears for me. I don’t want people crying, but singing with all their hearts.”
Chiara died in 1990. Within nine years, the bishop of her diocese began the work on her cause for canonization. Pope Benedict XVI declared her “Blessed” in 2010. She was a normal, everyday girl, and possibly a normal everyday saint. Chiara’s brief life showed us how much one person can accomplish in God’s name. Chiara’s Feast Day is October 29.*
Jesus will call each of us ‘home’ on a day and moment we cannot predict. Jesus gave us gifts, talents and a mission of our very own. Like Chiara, we can be our best selves and share Christ’s light with others.
One way we can offer our ‘best’ to those we love most is by having our end-of-life plans in place. Catholic Cemeteries will assist you; listening to your wishes and explaining burial options. Our zero interest finance plans now extend to 5 years. We also have resources for planning a funeral (Vigil, Mass or Memorial Service, and Committal).
When plans are in place, loved ones need not be burdened with countless decisions. Their time may be focused on supporting one another and giving thanks to God for your life and legacy.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (650) 428-3730 or www.ccdsj.org.
*Taken from: RCL Benzinger-Saints Resource.