23 – NARRATIVE
IDE: Summer 1988, two months until her 17th birthday
VALE: While she played tennis, she felt a sudden stabbing pain in her shoulder:
VALE: The best thing was to get to the bottom of it and have it examined.
BARBARA: The diagnosis took her breath away and left no escape: it was a tumour, among the most ruthless and most painful.
GIOVANNI: Chiara Luce sensed that it was serious, but she took everything from the hands of God and she only thought of getting better.
BARBARA: The barrage of medical tests began and then, in Turin, the day of the operation arrived.
IDE: Before entering the operating theatre she confided a thought to her mother:
SARA – Chiara Luce: “Mom, if I shouldn’t wake up anymore, when you have the funeral Mass, tell the Gen to sing with all their heart.”
• On awaking she whispered something.
• Her mother drew closer and listened:
SARA – Chiara Luce: “Jesus why? Why?”
• And immediately she added:
SARA – Chiara Luce: “If you want it, Jesus, I want it too!”
• But, the course of the illness was incurable and a few days after the operation, going beyond the door of the
oncologic ward, Chiara Luce understood what was happening.
24 – TESTIMONY OF MARIA TERESA AND RUGGERO
Maria Teresa: I saw that she was walking very, very slowly. When she reached the door I asked her: Chiara, how did it go? Without looking at me, with a gloomy face, she answered: “Don’t talk now,” twice over, “Don’t talk now.” And she threw herself as she was on her bed. I wanted to tell her many things: don’t worry, you are young, but I had to respect her desire. I saw the huge struggle Chiara was facing within from her facial expression, because she knew that she had to say ‘yes’ to Jesus, not only joyfully, but especially in suffering. But she couldn’t manage because with the strength of a 17-year-old, she only wanted to live.
After twenty-five minutes she turned towards me with her radiant smile as always, with a real gaze full of light, a wonderful smile, and said: “Mom, now you can talk,” twice over, “Now you can talk.” I told myself, “but Jesus, Chiara has said her ‘yes’ now, but how many times will she have to repeat this ‘yes’, how many times will she stumble, how many times during the operations and when in pain.” But Chiara took twenty-five minutes to say her ‘yes’ to God and she never turned back.
Ruggero: When we returned, I had already started to follow Chiara in a different way, because, the fact that she was so at peace already surprised me. I told Maria Teresa: “When we open the
bedroom door, she smiles at us, right?” But I couldn’t understand. I thought she was smiling for us, instead… I then started watching her from the keyhole, in order to understand if she was always like that, even when no one was looking. And I realized that Chiara was always like that. From there I understood that Jesus had given Chiara a grace.
25 – INTERVIEW with FERDINANDO
Manolo: Welcome Ferdinando. When you were 23 years old you were a medical student at the Molinette Hospital of Turin. That is where you met Chiara Luce with whom you shared the life experience of being linked to many young people of the Focolare Movement.
Ferdinando: Yes, the first time I saw her it was only for a few minutes, one evening. That morning she had
undergone her first painful operation. That encounter was unforgettable. There were two very strong thoughts in my heart: what a splendid smile she has in the freshness of her 17 years of age, but also: what will happen to that smile when she’ll understand that the illness will go progress?
Eleonora: From that first encounter others followed. You were not the only one. There was a continuous coming and going of young people, but even adults, in that hospital. What attracted you?
Ferdinando: We all felt that she was one of us and we were ready to do anything in order to sustain her. But day after day, during those visits which we didn’t want to miss out on, we understood that it was Chiara Luce who gave life to us… She never spoke of her illness. We had the impression that her room was always open to the world.
Eleonora: In what way? Ferdinando: It was the end of the ‘80s: Tiananmen Square and the dramas of the African continent were lived by her with real participation … but also the important appointments with John Paul II, the crumbling of the Berlin wall, the Genfest … Chiara Luce firmly believed in a united world. We told each other: we have only one life, we must live it for something great. And she was the prime mover of all our commitments and activities.
Manolo: Let’s go back to Chiara Luce’s room and to the network of people around her. Is there a particular
moment you remember?
Ferdinando: We were in the mountains with a group of young people and the news arrived that Chiara Luce was admitted to the hospital as an emergency patient because of a serious haemorrhage. The doctors didn’t know what to do. The doubt was: if we don’t intervene she will slowly but surely fall asleep and stop suffering. If we give her a blood transfusion we might save her, but all these pains will start all over again. It was a huge dilemma, for the doctors and for her parents.
After having offered up the whole day for her, that evening all us young people met together and decided: “Let’s have a relay race. We can cover all the streets of the city, going two by two to pray the rosary all night long. So from midnight until 1 a.m., the first two began. At 1 a.m. they
went to knock at the door of another two, who then started off and so on. Late that night the doctors decided to give Chiara a blood transfusion, precisely when we were beginning our race… This is what saved Chiara Luce, who was then able to live her last year, a year in which she ran her final race.
Eleonora: Ferdinando, one last question. Today, as a doctor you follow the terminally ill. How much did your
relationship with Chiara Luce have to do with this choice?
Ferdinando: It influences my choice every day: I feel that she is always near me. In the most difficult moments it’s as if she is repeating to me: “Medicine has laid down its arms … only God can do something now.” Only God … only our relationship with Him … only Love can give meaning to life, always and up to the last instant.
Also in this aspect Chiara is a ‘light’ which shines today more than ever.
26 – THIRD STAGE: LIGHT (blue – light) – JESUS IN THE MIDST
27 – SONG “Follow the Light”
Follow the light (x 3)
Be the change today
Bright in a cloudy day
Say it right again
Play it wise again
Here we are together
Counting on one another
To make a world that never
Falls into dismay
Follow the light
You don’t need to fear the night
Take all the right
from all the wrong
The stars come out at night
And what we have around
Happy people found
Giving up what they have
Giving out all they have
And when the world
that slowly turns
We will turn around and learn
There ain’t no other side
Make Love our only guide
Follow the light…
There ain’t no reason to be sad
when you’re with us
There ain’t no way
to make it back, without love
Follow the light… (x 2)
Follow the light!