“Chiara Lubich: Charism, History and Culture”

Sophia students at the International Convention


On March 14 2013, in the Main Hall of the Sapienza University in Rome, the International Convention on the figure and thought of Chiara Lubich was held, marking the fifth anniversary of her death.  The event was organized by the ‘Abba School,’ a Centre for Studies belonging to the Focolare Movement , committed to deepening  the inherent contents of the charism of unity, and to bring into the light its multiple implications on the social level, an interdisciplinary and international workshop that also saw the participation of numerous professors from the IUS.



At this Convention, with more than 600 people present, among whom academicians and young students of different nationalities from 5 different continents, the talks presented ranged from theology to sociology, from natural sciences to politics, from economy to law.  


Thamiris de Melo Caixeta, with a degree in Psychology from the Patos de Mina University (Minas Gerais, Brazil), who was among the students attending from Sophia, is now very close to concluding her program of study in Trinitarian Ontology at the IUS with a thesis on the new perspectives of relational Psychology.  At the end of the Convention she described thus the motives for her interest:


“I was, once again, greatly struck by the many interpretative ways the charism of Chiara Lubich offers in considering the human being in a unitary frame, capable of integrating all of his diverse dimensions.  The individual is fundamentally a being ‘in relationship with’, but these relationships oftentimes suffer, and are deformed by limits and conflicts; some, by founding  and structuring their daily reality starting from a personal experience of the love of God ( which has its most radical manifestation in the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross and in the abandonment that the Son of God felt on the part of His Father), who is then able to go beyond his own pain, to heal and rebuild interpersonal and social relationships that had been torn and are constantly being rent apart.  
What defines the individual is then shown with greater clarity: we can enter into a relationship with the other only if we are able to come away from a closed vision of ourselves, if we accept to comprehend the other in our growth walk, so that the ego is no   longer the absolute centre of existence, but we look instead for positive relationships with every other person through a constantly renewed choice of love, welcome, openness, and of forgiveness as well, when necessary...  All truly human realities can be reinterpreted in this light: politics, economy, science, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, etc.


Just to recall some work that was presented, the talk by Vera Araujo, a sociologist who worked in this direction, revealed how only a culture determined in the penetration of the Absolute, there where human intellect can grasp the truth in reality, is able to generate that continuous movement of renewal of many categories of thought and of action that today appear more worn out than ever.  When the talk touched on what builds personal identity, of dialogue with the other, of interaction and conflict, of cultural pluralism and global belonging, I understood more on what paths we need to move to arrive as well at a ‘psychological relationship’: conflict can become the place from which, even though through effort of will, we can combine and welcome diversity, through the dynamics of making yourself one with the other.


There is a beauty and an originality of thought in all of this that gives me great strength, in looking at preparing myself to face my profession as well.  It is an awareness that the months of study at the IUS cannot but confirm.”

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