Chiara Lubich was still a young teacher, at the Opera Serafica of the Capuchin Fathers in Trent, when, one day, a priest gave her his blessing and she made the dazzling discovery of God Love. Her personal experience was soon shared, a reality proclaimed firstly to those closest to her. Discovering themselves immensely loved by God, Chiara and her first companions found the way of responding to this by loving their neighbours in the light of the words of the Gospel, ready to die for one another in imitation of Christ. In their experience, they saw the fulfilment of the words recorded in Matthew’s Gospel, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Mt. 18:20).
From the earliest years of the Movement that came to life around Chiara, the points of a new spirituality, both personal and communitarian, were defined.
In his Encyclical Letter Novo millennio Ineunte (2001) Pope John Paul II spoke of the
“[…] need to promote a spirituality of communion, making it the guiding principle of education wherever individuals and Christians are formed, wherever ministers of the altar, consecrated persons, and pastoral workers are trained, wherever families and communities are being built up. A spirituality of communion indicates above all the heart’s contemplation of the mystery of the Trinity dwelling in us, and whose light we must also be able to see shining on the face of the brothers and sisters around us.” (NMI 43).
In 1997 Chiara received two Honorary Doctorates in the field of theology, in Manila (Philippines) and Taipei (Taiwan), followed in 2003, 2004 and 2008 by three more honorary doctorates from Trnava University in Slovakia, the Claretianum Institute of the Pontifical Lateran University (Rome) and Liverpool Hope University in England.
The “Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomàs”, Manila’s oldest university, gave Chiara the degree of Doctor of Theology, honoris causa, for having “spread a specifically communitarian spirituality which springs forth from the deepest roots of Christian tradition; for having established Ecumenical Schools, Schools for Dialogue with Contemporary Culture, Schools on the Other Religions, Schools for Ecumenism, Schools for Inculturation and Social Schools, whose basis is mutual love and understanding and thus greatly contributing towards the fulfilment of the Testament of Jesus: “That they may all may be one”; for having published many books that have been translated into 20 different languages with several million printed copies, and having contributed numerous articles to professional and popular publications.”