On June 13, 2012, a 28-year-old Italian woman, Chiara Corbella Petrillo, died in her wedding gown, surrounded by her family and friends. In the ten years since her passing, the story she left has touched the hearts of many around the world.
Newsroom (24/06/2022 3:15 PM Gaudium Press) At 18, Chiara met the man who would become her husband, Enrico Petrillo. As a married couple, they would face many challenges together. They suffered the death of two of their children, both of whom died 30 minutes after birth.
Chiara became pregnant again with their son Francesco. The joyful news was short-lived as she was diagnosed with cancer. Her cancer was an unusual lesion of the tongue, later discovered to be carcinoma.
She rejected any form of treatment that posed a risk to her unborn son. As cancer progressed, it became difficult for Chiara to speak and see.
Chiara’s cause for canonization was announced on June 13, 2017, the fifth anniversary of her death.
Her parents, Roberto and Maria Anselma Corbella shared their daughters’ moving witness of faith during their speech at the Festival of Families, part of the World Meeting of Families, which is being held in Rome from June 22-26.
They shared their struggles within their own family, touching on the lives of both of their daughters, Elisa and Chiara. While Elisa lives in northern Italy with her three children, it was the battle Chiara faced that left them “like Mary at the foot of the cross,” but taught them how to embrace their cross and trust in God’s plan.
Her mother Maria explained that Chiara’s son Francesco, now 11 years old, was only one when she passed, but during that time, she showed them how “in every situation, one can expect the utmost happiness in this life with God as a guide.”
“It was difficult for us to accompany her to the threshold of Heaven and let her go, but from that moment such grace flowed that gave us a glimpse of God’s plan and kept us from falling into despair,” her mother said. “Chiara’s serenity opened for us a window to eternity and continues to shed light on it to this day.”
Describing his daughter, Roberto said, “She did not run away in the face of life’s trials, she faced them with her gaze heavenward. … Her every step was directed toward the goal with God’s help and Mary’s guidance, she was committed to reaching it, with personal prayer keeping her in relationship with the Lord from whom she received the grace that nourished her faith.”
In his speech during the Festival of Families, Pope Francis addressed Chiara’s parents and her legacy saying, “You testified that the heavy cross of Chiara’s sickness and death did not destroy your family or eliminate the serenity and peace of your hearts. We can see this in your faces. You are not downcast, desperate, or angry with life. Quite the opposite! What we see in you is great serenity and great faith.”
“As a wife, alongside her husband, she followed the way of the Gospel of the family, simply and spontaneously,” the Holy Father added. “Chiara’s heart also welcomed the truth of the cross as a gift of self: Hers was a life given to her family, to the Church, and to the whole world.”
“May Chiara be an inspiration on our own journey of holiness, and may the Lord support and make fruitful every cross that families have to bear,” Pope Francis concluded.
You can watch the couple’s testimony about their daughter in the video below.
Compiled by Raju Hasmukh