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Sassello, Italy: Grave of Blessed Chiara Badano

About Chiara Badano:

We live in a world where many people will tell you how you ought to live…..but very few give advice on how to die.  Death is a subject even many Catholic Christians prefer to avoid….just push if off to the back of our minds.  But death comes to us regardless of time or place.  We can all take a clue from this young blessed.

Ruggero and Maria Teresa Badano had been praying for eleven years to have a child. Then it happened, and Chiara was born on October 29, 1971   As a young girl, she did the things most girls her age did:  she loved singing, dancing and playing tennis.  She had always been a virtuous child, having been taught this by her parents.  Although she attempted to be a good student, she did not do well in school, and was sometimes ridiculed for her religious convictions. Nevertheless, she did develop good friendships with some of her classmates.

In 1980, she became aware of the Focolare Movement, and its emphasis on the forsaken Christ.  She was quoted as saying  “I discovered that Jesus Forsaken is the key to unity with God, and I want to choose him as my only spouse. I want to be ready to welcome him when he comes.

Then in 1988, at the age of 16, she experienced sharp pains in her shoulder which were diagnosed as bone cancer….and a very rare and painful version of that disease.

Chiara was filled with a profound trust in God’s will and was now realizing the extent of her desire to be united with the forsaken Christ. No complaining came from her, “It’s for you, Jesus; if you want it, I want it, too.

Photos courtesy Chiara Badano Association

She refused pain medication for fear it would dim her mental faculties and therefor endured a painful death.  She endured this with good humor:  the only thing that brought her down was when sad-faced friends and relatives came to visit her.  So much did she desire to be united with Christ in the poor and vulnerable that when she was sick in hospital, Chiara chose to spend time with another patient suffering depression rather than heed requests to rest in her bed.  Toward the end of her life she said:  “I have nothing left, but I still have my heart, and with that I can always love.”

She planned her funeral as if it were a wedding. She chose to be buried in a white dress as she saw her death as becoming a bride of Christ. Chiara was able to make her union with Christ complete in death, and so she welcomed it. “Don’t shed any tears for me. I’m going to Jesus. At my funeral, I don’t want people crying but singing with all their hearts,” she said.

Chiara died on Oct. 7, 1990, with the final words “Bye, Mom, be happy, because I am.”

In 2010 she was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI.  We celebrate her feast day on October 29.  She is entombed in the family chapel in the cemetery in Sassello (note: the cemetery is not shown on the map below).

Traveling to Sassello:

Sassello is located about 25 miles northwest of Genoa, the nearest large city with both train service and an airport.  You can find train and bus schedules here.

Groups can fill out this form to arrange for a visit as well as meeting with some of those who knew her.

Click here for the official website of the Chiara Badano Association.  Click “immagini” at the top of the page for a collection of photos of Chiara Badano.

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