Theological nucleus of the Charism of Unity

Sonia Vargas Andrade: at the IUS after Receiving a Masters’ Degree



Last May 3rd, those enrolled in the IUS’ Doctoral program gathered together for a fruitful day of interdisciplinary work, as they are wont to do twice a year.  This is called the “PhD Day”, by the students.  Antonio Maria Baggio was entrusted with the talk on the topic of: ‘The Interdisciplinary Perspective in Political Studies.’


At a certain point it was the turn of one of the doctoral students to ‘take stock’ of his own research projects.  Giampietro Parolin, who is working on the concept of participation intended as deliberation in collegial decisions, showed his methodological preparation, the theoretical framework, and the first phases of the researches’ developments, gathering contributions and stimuli from colleagues. 


Soni Vargas Andrade


Along with candidates for doctorates in politics were numerous theologians; among them, Sonia Vargas Andrade, Bolivian, who received top grades at the University of San Miguel in Buenos Aires – already known as… the Jesuit University of Pope Francis.  For the agreement in force between the Argentinian University and the IUS, at the end of the doctoral program, Sonia Vargas will pursue the joint degree of Doctor in Theology, recognized by both institutions.


Every research thesis faces an original challenge deriving from the relevance and the innovative measures expressed by the topic: what would yours be?


 “My objective is to respond to a non-traditional challenge for a speculative-dogmatic theologian: to bring emphasis on the theological nucleus of a charism and spirituality, by a systematic study of it.  The charism of Chiara Lubich is the carrier of a novum, which, since its first moment of introduction into the events of our times, in the middle of the last century, has acted and continues to act, in full consonance with the requests of the II Vatican Council, while at the same time, sending signals of novelty of great ecclesial, civil and cultural relief. This ‘light’ implicitly contains a theological nucleus that could open up new perspectives for dogmatic research as well.


With my Masters’ thesis I was already able to do a first period of research by going into the writings of Chiara Lubich and taking some traces from it: a greater phenomenological and ontological penetration of the abandonment of Jesus on the cross as a Trinitarian Mystery event.  The study of the ‘fourth night’ in Chiara Lubich and of the ‘saturated phenomenon’ in Jean-Luc Marion has been one of the paths that led me to show how the abandonment, understood in the light of the charism of unity, represents the concentric point of the Christological soteriology, revealing the Trinitarian Mystery as a condition for enabling the trinitization of humanity and of the entire cosmos. 


This research has brought me to studying with major precision the category of the Gift in the work of Lubich, a category that transversely crosses her charism and, therefore, also its theological nucleus.  Having arrived at this point, my relator, Gonzalo Zarazaga SJ, who has been guiding me hence, was the one to advise me to proceed with the research in order to clarify further the event of the abandonment, as a Gift.  For this reason, needing to plan out the project, I asked to be able to spend 6 months at the IUS, so as to make use of the resources of the Institute and of its Department of Trinitarian Ontology.


I will report only one citation which seems, to me, to be strongly significant for my work, taken from a letter by Lubich of March 13, 1948 (published today in ‘Letters from the Very First Days’, Citta` Nuova 2011).


“…that immense golden mine of light and love that is you abandoned!  You are the apex of donation of self!  You are the life of the Trinity come to earth.”


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