Saints Are Still Being Made: Meet Chiara Corbella Petrillo

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In Order Not to Forget 

I am here now, in your room, your last room. You slept here only one night, and now it is your room. It is here that the doors were opened and He came in person to meet you. It is the room where your loving eyes finally recovered. In brief, I am here in this holy place, and I am reminiscing.

Only a year has passed since that last, unique Mass was celebrated in this room. I am moved by all the love that was received and given here, always together, and I discover again how much in love I am with you and with Him.

Perhaps, however, it is still too easy for me. I have been nurtured too well. I have eaten the “honey from the rock” [Ps. 81:16], to cite a biblical reference. The . . . best [pasta] carbonara, I would say. Again, it is here that He told us in the Gospel of that last Mass, “You are the salt of the earth . . . the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13–14). It was and it is His mandate to “go out and proclaim [that] the kingdom of heaven is close at hand” (cf. Matt. 10:7).

There is a world [out there] that loves you in an extraordinary way. It feels close to you in its sufferings. It prays to you as if you were already a recognized saint. I would like to tone it down a bit, although I have no doubt that you truly are. Your happiness if I were silent. I must testify — I from here, and you from there, united in love that, for us, is different but certainly not weaker.

I thought of Simone and Cristiana to write this book. Who better than they, the intimate friends with whom we shared so many secrets of our souls walking together in the same direction, speaking the same language? They also witnessed this marvelous story. I thought of them, and I am sure that I did the right thing. I would have liked to have written it myself, but in a rare moment of infinite honesty, I said to myself: “But when? I still do not understand which drawers contain the socks and which the underwear!” Better they. They seem perfect. I shared this idea with Father Vito, and he blessed it.

Then I informed them. And they prayed. They are of pure hearts, and they desire what is good. They were always there, from when we knew them at Assisi as engaged couples. We were at their wedding, and they were at ours, a month later. They were there to pray outside the door when Maria was born and then at her funeral. They were there when Davide was born and again at his funeral. They were always there, at the birth of Francesco and finally at our Passover, when everything was completed. Who better than they to write this book?

Simone has a background in journalism and publishing. He has all the necessary qualifications to spread your story effectively. Cristiana is the friend with whom, more than all the others, you shared the Faith. She knows some of the secrets of your heart . . . conversations between women of superior intelligence. How beautiful the ways of Providence.

And so they did it. It was difficult for them. They prayed together every morning before they began to work. They listened to hours and hours of testimony gathered from the closest friends. They assembled and transcribed everything with care, and they finished writing not a romantic book but a book that speaks of you, of us, and especially of God, of how He loves. It is only the first book. I know that there will be many others in many languages.

You have spoken much to me with heavy words that seemed to come from theological tomes. Who knows if, when you said them, you were aware of it? I am quite sure that you were. I diligently pointed them out in order not to forget them.

Yes, of course, in order not to forget.

— Enrico Petrillo

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This article is adapted from the book Chiara Corbella Petrillo by Simone Troisi & Cristiana Paccini, which is now available from Sophia Institute Press.

Art for this post: Cover and featured image used with permission.

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