In 1954, Chiara met Pavel Maria Hniliça (Chiara later called him Father Maria), a bishop consecrated clandestinely in Czechoslovakia. Having grasped the spirit of the charism of unity, he asked Chiara to spread it behind what was known as the Iron Curtain.
Shortly afterwards, events paved the way for a group of focolarini to leave for Eastern Europe, and from 1955 onwards the Focolare spread in those countries, beginning a delicate mission at the service of the Church.

First Mariapolisin Zakopane (Poland), in 1962.
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