Focolare Movement

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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 1943[1] in Trento, northern Italy by Chiara Lubich as a religious movement, the Focolare Movement, though primarily Roman Catholic, now has strong links to the major Christian denominations and other religions, or in some cases, with the non-religious.

The Focolare Movement operates in 182 nations] and has over two million adherents.[2][3][4] The word "Focolare" translates into Italian as "hearth" or "family fireside".[5] While Focolare is the common sobriquet given to this organisation, its official name as approved by the Roman Catholic Church is "Opera di Maria" or "Work of Mary".[6]


In 1943 in Trent, Italy, Chiara Lubich founded the movement. Chiara and her companions started off working with people in the poorest neighborhoods of the city and bomb shelters. This first group soon became a movement, dedicated to living out the gospel message and the precepts of Christianity. It spread, initially in Italy and Europe, then worldwide.[citation needed]


The current president of the Focolare movement is Maria Voce,[7] who was elected in 2008.[8] Today the movement, which is now international, considers the following issues as part of its mandate: 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; to move towards universal brotherhood with followers of various religions and people of other convictions, including those with no religious affiliation. The movement consists of 25 branches including those for families, youth, religious dialogues, etc.

Gradually, several projects have sprung up within the movement: the 'Abba' school, the 'Economy of Communion' (which is linked with more than 800 companies), evangelism within small cities, social work, and publishing magazines. The Focolare Movement is recognized by the Pope and is present in over 182 countries.


Every year the Movement holds local retreats termed Mariapolises, where members and newcomers come together to discuss the Movement and its spirituality. The first Mariapolis was held in 1949 in Fiera di Primiero, in the heart of Italy's Dolomite mountains. Each year, over 200,000 persons attend a Mariapolis.[citation needed] At a Mariapolis, there typically is an ecumenical prayer room, or a panel discussion with leaders from multiple faiths. These short retreats are related to the Permanent Mariapolises, 33 "little towns" that serve as Focolare centers.

Building in Loppiano in 1989
Communal electrical shop at Loppiano specializing in refurbishments of power meters. Taken in 1989

The main center is located in the town of Loppiano near Florence, Italy.

Beatification of Chiara Luce Badano[edit]

Chiara Badano, a member of the Focolare movement, was beatified on September 25, 2010.[9]

Members proposed for Sainthood[edit]



  • Chiara Badano [Luce] - (1971-1990), Young Layperson of the Diocese of Aqui Terme, Member of the Focolare Movement


  • Maria Orsola Bussone - (1954-1970), Young Layperson of Vallo Torinese, Member of the Focolare Movement

Servants of God[edit]

  • Igino Giordani (Foco)- (1894-1980), Married Layperson of the Diocese of Frascati, Cofounder of the Focolare Movement
  • Alberto Michelotti - (1958-1980), Young Layperson of the Archdiocese of Genoa, Member of the Focolare Movement
  • Carlo Grisolia (Vir) - (1960-1980), Young Layperson of the Archdiocese of Genoa, Member of the Focolare Movement
  • Maria Cecilia Perrin de Buide - (1957-1985), Married Layperson of the Archdiocese of Bahia Blanca, Member of the Focolare Movement
  • Margarita Bavosi (Luminosa) - (1941-1985), Layperson of the Archdiocese of Madrid, Consecrated Member of the Focolare Movement
  • Daniela Zanetta - (1962-1986), Young Layperson of the Diocese of Novara, Member of the Focolare Movement
  • Renata Borlone - (1930-1990), Layperson of the Diocese of Fiesole, Consecrated Member of the Focolare Movement
  • Dario Porta - (1930-1996), Priest of the Diocese of Parma, Member of the Focolare Movement
  • Manuel Pascual Perrin - (1925-2000), Married Layperson of the Archdiocese of Bahia Blanca, Member of the Focolare Movement
  • Chiara Lubich - (1920-2008), Layperson of the Diocese of Frascati, Founder of the Focolare
  • Cardinal Nguyễn Văn Thuận
  • Santa Scorese
  • Jerzy Ciesielski - (1929-1970), Married Layperson of Archdiocese of Kraków, Poland. He was among the first to welcome and spread the spirituality of the Focolare Movement in Poland.

Open causes[edit]

Members of the Focolare Movement that may be accepted by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to beatify include:

  • Lucia De Gasperi, layperson and member of the Focolare Movement.[10]

New City Press[edit]

New City Press, established in 1964, is an official publishing house for the Focolare movement. Among their publications is the Spirituality of Unity series, featuring the works of founder Chiara Lubich, and Understanding the Scriptures, Bible commentaries by scholars such as Daniel Harrington, Dianne Bergant, Robert Karris, and Ronald Witherup.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roy, Olivier. "Breakthroughs in Faith". World Policy Journal (Winter 2011/2012). Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Fang, Tony; Liang, Alice (February 14, 2001), "ROC PRESIDENT AWARDS FOUNDER OF FOCOLARE MOVEMENT", Central News Agency - Taiwan, retrieved February 19, 2010 
  3. ^ "UNESCO peace prize for founder of Focolare movement", Deutsche Presse-Agentur, August 12, 1996, retrieved February 19, 2010 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "focolare - Dizionario italiano-inglese WordReference". 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Church's most powerful woman focuses on unity". Crux. February 13, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Maria Voce". Focolare Movement. 
  9. ^ "Italian teen one step closer to sainthood". Catholic News Agency. 
  10. ^ "La figlia suora che "dirigeva" De Gasperi". Avvenire (in Italian). 
  11. ^ "About New City Press". New City Press. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 

External links[edit]