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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Beautiful Girl


Chiara Luce Badano, who died in 1999  at the age of 18, is to be beatified in Rome on September 25th.  Read this excerpt from the Denver Catholic  Register to find out why:

"Sometimes we’d prefer that our lives be a different story than the one God seems to be writing.  In our fragile existence it doesn’t take much to turn a romance into a drama, or an adventure into a tragedy.  At a glance, the story of Chiara Badano—an only child conceived after 11 years of marriage, who died at 18 after a bout with a painful form of bone cancer—looks like an empty tragedy, but not from the perspective of the Divine Author.  
Chiara seemed to have everything going for her as a teen.  She had a loving, holy family and a rock solid faith that was nurtured by retreats and youth ministry programs.  She was popular amongst her friends and was liked by boys.  It’s not hard to see why.  She was beautiful.  Chiara loved to hang out in coffee shops.  She was great at tennis, swimming and mountain climbing.  Her outgoing personality and adventurous spirit made her dream of becoming a flight attendant.  Chiara had a bright life ahead of her.  

Chiara’s joy was explosive and it only increased with her suffering.  After one very pain-filled night she said, “I suffered a lot, but my soul was singing.”  Google pictures of her on her death bed.  Her eyes look like pools reflecting the glory of heaven.  One of her doctors remarked, “Through her smile, and through her eyes full of light, she showed us that death doesn’t exist; only life exists.”  Cardinal Saldarini heard of this amazing teen and visited her in the hospital.  Awestruck, he said, “The light in your eyes is splendid. Where does it come from?”  Chiara’s reply was simple:  “I try to love Jesus as much as I can.”
One day while playing tennis, Chiara experienced excruciating pain in her shoulder.  Shortly afterwards she was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma.  She watched her bright future slip away.  But it’s here that the real story of her life begins—the story of heroic virtue. ..

During one of her many hospital stays Chiara took walks with a depressed, drug-dependent girl, despite the pain of walking from the huge growth on her spine.  When she was encouraged to stop and rest she said, “I’ll have time to rest later.”  Ever thinking of others, she said, “I have nothing left, but I still have my heart, and with that I can always love.” 
Chiara requested to be buried in a wedding gown.  As the end of her short life drew near she told her mother, “When you’re getting me ready, Mum, you have to keep saying to yourself, ‘Chiara Luce is now seeing Jesus.’”
She died on Oct. 7, 1990.  Her parents and friends were with her.  Her last words were: “Goodbye. Be happy because I’m happy.” 
Speaker and author Christopher Stefanick is director of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry for the Denver Archdiocese. Visit chris-stefanick.com.

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