Focolare Movement

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Focolare Movement
Established1943;76 years ago (1943)
Type Catholic movement
PurposeUniversal brother/sisterhood
HeadquartersVia Frascati, 306 – 00040
Rocca di Papa, Rome, Italy
Region served
Worldwide, 182 nations [1]
Chiara Lubich
Main organ
Citta Nuova, 37 editions worldwide [2]
Website Focolare
Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement Chiara Lubich.JPG
Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement

The Focolare Movement is an international organization that promotes the ideals of unity and universal brotherhood. Founded in Trent, northern Italy, in 1943 by Chiara Lubich as a Catholic movement, it remains largely Roman Catholic but has strong links to the major Christian denominations and other religions, or in some cases with the non-religious.

Trento Comune in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Italy

Trento is a city on the Adige River in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol in Italy. It is the capital of the autonomous province of Trento. In the 16th century, the city was the location of the Council of Trent. Formerly part of Austria and Austria-Hungary, it was annexed by Italy in 1919. With almost 120,000 inhabitants, Trento is the third largest city in the Alps and second largest in the Tyrol.

Italy European country

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps and surrounded by several islands. Italy is located in Southern Europe, and it is sometimes considered as part of Western Europe. The country covers a total area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and shares land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian Sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fourth-most populous member state of the European Union.

Chiara Lubich was an Italian Catholic activist and leader and founder of the Focolare Movement.


The Focolare Movement operates in 180 nations and has over 140,440 members. The word "Focolare" is Italian for "hearth" or "family fireside". [3] While Focolare is the common sobriquet given to this organisation, its official name when approved in 1990 as an International Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right, was "Work of Mary". [4]

The Directory of International Associations of the Faithful, published by the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, lists the international associations of the faithful in the Catholic Church that have been granted official recognition. It gives the official name, acronym, date of establishment, history, identity, organization, membership, works, publications, and website of the communities and movements.


In the Northern Italian city of Trent in 1943, in the climate of violence and hatred of the Second World War, the young elementary school teacher Chiara Lubich saw God's love as the only antidote when civil life was crumbling around her. With Bible in hand in the shelters during air raids, she felt deeply Jesus' desire "that they all may be one." A group sharing her vision joined in helping those in the shelters and in the poorest parts of town, and numbers grew. In 1948, the journalist Igino Giordani, a member of Parliament and pioneer of ecumenism, joined the group, bringing his ideal of social unity. Another cofounder was Fr. Pasquale Foresi with his theological background, and founder of New City Press in 1964. [4]

Igino Giordani Italian politician and journalist

Igino Giordani, was an Italian politician, writer and journalist, born at Tivoli. He was also a significant figure in the Catholic/ecumenical Focolare Movement.

Pasquale Foresi was an Italian priest and theologian. He was connected to the Focolare Movement co-founded by him, Chiara Lubich and Igino Giordani. The Focolare Movement is an international organization that promotes the ideals of unity and universal brotherhood with other religious movements.

Focolare initially spread in Italy and Europe, then worldwide: South America (1958), North America (1961), Africa (1963), Asia (1966), and Australia (1967). [1]

Focolare towns

Communal electrical shop, Loppiano, 1989 Loppiano works 03.jpg
Communal electrical shop, Loppiano, 1989
Focolare town church at Loppiano Chiesa di Loppiano - panoramio.jpg
Focolare town church at Loppiano

After 1949, summer vacations together in Fiera di Primiero in the Dolomite Mountains led to the desire to share – materially, culturally, and spiritually. Numbers increased for these retreats, including priests and religious with a variety of spiritualities, and by 1955 this gathering took on the name "Mariapolis", a model of peace for the world under Mother Mary's patronage. In 1962 Chiara's visit to the Benedictine Einsiedeln Abbey in Switzerland made her dream of permanent towns of brother/sisterhood, "simple houses, work places, schools – just like an ordinary town." In 1964 Loppiano, the first permanent Mariapolis, was built on land donated by Vincenzo Folonari, near Florence. It has grown to include 900 people of worldwide origins and diverse occupations, married and single, priests and religious, who work and study together and strive to live in exemplary Christian charity. Each year an average of 40,000 visitors pass through Loppiano.

Fiera di Primiero Comune in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Italy

Fiera di Primiero was a comune (municipality) in Trentino in the northern Italian region Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, located about 60 kilometres (37 mi) east of Trento. It was merged with Siror, Tonadico and Transacqua on January 1, 2016, to form a new municipality, Primiero San Martino di Castrozza.

Einsiedeln Abbey Benedictine monastery in Switzerland

Einsiedeln Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in the village of Einsiedeln in the canton of Schwyz, Switzerland. The abbey is dedicated to Our Lady of the Hermits, the title being derived from the circumstances of its foundation, for the first inhabitant of the region was Saint Meinrad, a hermit. It is a territorial abbey and, therefore, not part of a diocese, subject to a bishop. It has been a major resting point on the Way of St. James for centuries.

Florence Capital and most populous city of the Italian region of Tuscany

Florence is a city in central Italy and the capital city of the Tuscany region. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 383,084 inhabitants in 2013, and over 1,520,000 in its metropolitan area.

Thirty-two other such towns have sprung up worldwide. [5] Some have specific emphases: ecumenism (Ottmaring, Germany; [6] Welwyn Garden City, Great Britain); ecology (Rotselaar, Belgium); interreligious dialogue (Tagaytay, Philippines); multi-ethnic harmony (Luminosa, New York; Križevci, Croatia); or inculturation (Fontem, Cameroon; Kenya; Ivory Coast [7] ). In these towns religious and cultural differences are respected, to exemplify Jesus' dream: "Father, may they all be one, as you and I are one." [8]

Welwyn Garden City town in Hertfordshire, England

Welwyn Garden City is a town in Hertfordshire, England. It is located approximately 20 miles (32 km) from Kings Cross, London. Welwyn Garden City was the second garden city in England and one of the first new towns.

Rotselaar Municipality in Flemish Community, Belgium

Rotselaar is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Flemish-Brabant, near the convergence of the Demer and the Dijle. Since January 1, 1977 the municipality comprises the towns of Rotselaar proper, Werchter and Wezemaal. On January 1, 2006, Rotselaar had a total population of 15,068. The total area is 37.57 km² which gives a population density of 401 inhabitants per km².

Tagaytay City in Cavite, Philippines

Tagaytay, officially the City of Tagaytay,, or simply known as Tagaytay City, is a 2nd class city in the province of Cavite, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 71,181 people.


The president of the Focolare movement, who is always a lay woman, [4] was Maria Voce in 2014, first elected in 2008. [9] [10] [11] The chief goals of the movement are: to cooperate in the consolidation of unity in the Christian world, with individuals and groups, movements, and associations; to contribute to full communion with Christians of different churches; and to work towards universal brother/sisterhood of all peoples, regardless of religious beliefs.

The movement has branched out to address a variety of groups including families, youth, and different religions. Special projects have sprung up within the movement, such as the "Abba" school, [12] Young People for a United World, Teens4unity, [13] Economy of Communion (involving 800 companies), evangelism within small cities, social work, the Igino Giordani Centre, [14] and 27 publishing houses. [15] Pope Francis in praising Economy of Communion called on it to change “the rules of the game of the socio-economic system.” [16] John L. Allen Jr. has observed that it is hard to "pick a fight with a focolarino. ...They tend to be open, ego-free, and just relentlessly nice." [17]

Focolare has 140,440 members in more than 180 countries. People more broadly involved in the movement are estimated by the Vatican at 4.5 million. [4]


At a reorganizational meeting in 2014 newly elected council members had an average age 16 years younger than that of the previous council, and the 30 council members came from 20 different countries. In Pope Francis' address to the reorganizational meeting he said: "The Work of Mary, that everyone knows as the Focolare movement, was a little seed in the Catholic Church’s womb, that in the course of the years has brought to life a tree which now extends its branches in all the expressions of the Christian family and also among members of different religions and among many who cultivate justice and solidarity together with the search for truth." Francis went on to describe elements of the movement as contemplation, going out to engage in dialogue, and formation of youth. Of contemplation he said: “We need to contemplate God and the beauty of his love,” keeping in mind that “to contemplate means to live together with brothers and sisters, breaking with them the bread of communion and fraternity,” since “contemplation that leaves people outside is a lie, it is narcissism.” [11]


New City Press, established in 1964, is the official publishing house for the Focolare movement, publishing books, periodicals, and e-books. [18] Among its publications are the Spirituality of Unity series, featuring the works of founder Chiara Lubich, and Understanding the Scriptures, Bible commentaries by scholars such as Daniel J. Harrington, Dianne Bergant, [19] Robert Karris, [20] and Ronald Witherup. [21] NCP publications include: the academic journal Sophia twice a year; three quarterlies – Gen's on ecclesial commitment [22] as well as New Humanity, [23] [24] and Unity and Charisms; [25] the bimonthly Teens for children; and the monthly periodicals Città Nuova (published in 38 different national or regional formats; known as New City in the UK, and as Living City in the US) with opinion and dialogue, [26] Big Smart Kids including inserts for educators, and Gospel of the Day. [27]

Focolare also produces Economy of Communion quarterly and website. [28]

Members proposed for Sainthood



Servants of God

Other Candidates

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Maria Orsola Bussone was an Italian Roman Catholic and a member from the Focolare Movement. Bussone's involvement in her adolescence in parish activities led her to Catholic Action as well as to other movements that she served as an active participant; she learnt the guitar and liked sports and music which she engaged in with her close friends. But those who knew her attested to her deep spiritual desires which she found sated in the Focolore Movement that she first came into contact with in the late 1960s. Bussone desired to act as a vessel for the goodness of God and desired that He would "... use me as He wants". Bussone died in an accident in 1970 and there were immediate calls to launch a process for beatification due to the impact she had made on local communities.

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The Economy of Communion (EOC) project is an initiative of the international ecclesial and ecumenical Focolare Movement, and is a concrete attempt to address acute social problems by creating businesses that are integral parts of their communities. The project requires member businesses to commit, after an appropriate investment in the sustainability of the business, a part of their profits to direct aid for those in need and another part toward nurturing a “culture of giving”( The EOC presents examples of companies that are both successful global competitors as well as clear and intentional manifestations of “lived” faith in the business world. It was started by Chiara Lubich in May 1991, in São Paulo, Brazil, with the aim of building a human society where, following the example of the first Christian community in Jerusalem, "no one among them was in need".1

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Blessed Chiara Badano was a young Italian teenager who is currently in the process of being pronounced a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. At age nine she joined the Focolare Movement and received the nickname "Luce" by the founder Chiara Lubich. When she was 16 she was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma, a painful bone cancer. Chiara succumbed to the cancer on October 7, 1990, after a two-year battle with the disease. She was beatified on September 25, 2010 at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Divine Love in Rome. Her feast day is celebrated on October 29.

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Klaus Hemmerle was a Roman Catholic bishop in Aachen, Germany. He was ordained as a priest in 1952 and became bishop of the Diocese of Aachen in 1975. He was inspired by Chiara Lubich, who said she was also inspired by him and considered him one of the co-founders of the Focolare Movement due to his teachings on theology and philosophy, and particularly his views on plural thinking and unity.

This article is a list of people proposed by each diocese of the Catholic Church for beatification and canonization, whose causes have been officially accepted by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints during the papacy of Pope Francis and are newly given the title as Servants of God. The names listed below are from the Vatican and are listed in month beginning the year 2013, with their birth and death year, position in clerical or religious life, and the place where the saint-to-be lived or died.

Maria Voce Italian lawyer and President of the Focolare Movement

Maria Voce is an Italian lawyer and president of the Focolare Movement. She was born in Calabria, Italy. She was elected as the president by the General Assembly of the Movement after the death of its founder Chiara Lubich, in March 2008.


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  2. Citta Nuova. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  3. "focolare - Dizionario italiano-inglese WordReference".
  4. 1 2 3 4 "International Associations of the Faithful, Directory - Pontifical Councils for the Laity". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  5. Mariapolis Luminosa
  6. " Startseite". (in German). Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  7. ":: Gli amici di MAN ::". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  8. "Focolare Towns". Focolare Movement. 11 June 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  9. "Church's most powerful woman focuses on unity". Crux. 13 February 2015.[ dead link ]
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  14. "Igino Giordani - Foco". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
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  20. "Faculty Profiles". St. Bonaventure University. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
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  28. "Benvenuto sul sito ufficiale dell'EdC!". (in Italian). Retrieved 13 July 2017.
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  32. "Beatification cause opened for founder of Focolare movement". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  33. "La figlia suora che "dirigeva" De Gasperi". Avvenire (in Italian).