The historical background of Chiara Lubich’s mystical experience in 1949

The encounter with Chiara Lubich, through the historical events that spanned the first half of the last century, is an experience which enables the reader to re-live and, above all, to internalize the meaning of the spiritual and human events which were lived by the founder of the Focolare in those years.

The title of the book, "Verso un’estate di luce" (Towards a Summer of Light), published in Italian in May 2019 by Professors Silvio Cataldi and Paolo Siniscalco, indicate the vision and potential outcome of that which was to become the cradle of the Focolare. The authors, thirteen in total, examine the historical context and background of the events and elaborate a detailed analysis derived from meticulous research into archival resources.

“The book provides an accurate insight, from a historical point of view,” reads the publisher’s review, “into the experience lived in Tonadico (Trent) by Chiara Lubich during the summer of 1949, an experience she subsequently shared with Igino Giordani and the first group of men and women focolarini. Through a convincing and passionate sequence of contributions, a number of historians who belong to the Abbà School give an outline of its context. On the basis of published and unpublished sources, the post-war years are described both by means of tracing the fundamental structures underpinning the history of Italy and the Church, as well as by giving space to female figures of the first half of the twentieth century and to the multifaceted personality of Igino Giordani. Finally, the study focuses on the ecclesial reality of the Trentino region, on the origins of the Focolare Movement (1943-49), on the places that were a backdrop to those happenings and the first-hand witnesses who were there.”

The publication examines the birth of the Focolare Movement and its origins; it retraces the story of the vocation of Chiara Lubich from the moment in which she, a Franciscan tertiary, centred her entire mission on “living the Word”. As a consequence to living intensely that evangelical life, the experience of summer 1949 came to be. A chapter of the book describes the historical background surrounding the adventure of that summer, a period during which Chiara had an intuition of what was to become the “Focolare Movement”. In a letter written on 22 June 1949 to Dina Fedrizzi, Chiara announces her imminent transfer from Rome to Trent:

“We are all leaving for Trent to restore our strength due to our Roman endeavours, and to recharge ourselves spiritually too. [...] The Light that He gave us will always lead us.”

Patrizia Mazzola


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