Sophia is financed mostly by the generous contribution of those who appreciate and support its objectives, just like any educational enterprise that goes beyond the rigid logics of the market. This is why every donation to finance IUS’s academic activities, is a value which surpasses its direct impact and at times specific effect, since the financing of academic activities affirms the project as a whole. And when an initiative consolidates the network of people working in synergy towards the same goal, it takes on an even greater significance.
This explains the particular gratitude expressed by IUS Dean, Piero Coda, in his letter to Fr. Heinrich Walter, President of the Apostolic Movement of Schoenstatt that had devolved a big donation received to the academic community of Sophia, with the specific aim of facilitating the enrolment of young women in IUS’s courses, to promote and boost their contribution to the Church and European society. Upon receiving an unexpected donation, the Schoenstatt directors decided to share this sum with Sophia, to acknowledge the university institute founded by Chiara Lubich.
But how is this movement linked to Chiara Lubich? Schoenstatt has been in the news over the last weeks with the mass media highlighting the Movement, as among the new religious communities that arose in the 20th century in the Catholic Church, and which celebrated its first centenary on 18 October 2014. The Movement was given the name of its place of origin: Schoenstatt, a district close to Koblenz in Germany, where Fr. Joseph Kentenich (1885 - 1968) founded the first group in the so-called "Original Shrine" in 1914.
On 25-26 October, about 7,500 members of the Movement from all over the world celebrated this extraordinary event also with a pilgrimage to Rome. The Movement’s website specified that “the leit motif of the celebrations is above all, that of thanksgiving for God’s gift to humanity which through the years has proven to be a blessing for many.” Central to the Roman pilgrimage was the audience with the Pope on Saturday, 25 October, in which – a particular note to stress – there was the participation also of representatives of various Christian movements and communities, united for some years now in a common project called “Together for Europe”.
This experience, initiated in 1999 through the decisive efforts of Chiara Lubich, is a response to the ever growing need to diffuse a “culture of reciprocity” in the liberal cooperation between Christian, Catholic, Evangelical, Anglican and Orthodox movements. It is not really an organisational unity, but a relationship of communion expressed also in concrete cooperation and solidarity, wherein the synergy between communities and movements better testify to the values of Christian commitment in the various fields of society, in the world and particularly in Europe. Also Schoenstatt’s donation to Sophia and indirectly to the entire Focolari Movement is an important and visible sign of this mutual experience that is being consolidated among the 300 movements for the good of the European continent and for which, the Movement renewed its gratitude to Chiara Lubich.