Frank Johnson reviews a book by an Italian woman whose determination to follow a special call from God takes her on an amazing human and divine adventure.
[New City Magazine – Aug-Sep 2009]
As the translator of this book from the original Italian, it might seem inappropriate for me to review it. However, so overwhelmed was I by this powerful story that I simply couldn’t resist the temptation to write about it. Chiara Amirante decided to consecrate her life to God at the age of eleven during a Gen3* congress in Rome. Inspired by the words of Chiara Lubich, she made up her mind that she wanted to follow God in whatever path he would call her. Clearly God took her at her word, as over the next three decades he revealed his plan for her and for the work he wanted her to carry out on his behalf.
In her short life, she is now in her early forties, Chiara Amirante has experienced the heights of joy and the depths of suffering. She is saved from death in a road accident; her best friend is killed in another accident; she goes through a terrible spiritual ‘dark night’; gets an eye disease which nearly leads to blindness; is gravely ill for five years and then recovers in an instant. And through all of this runs the deep conviction that God wants her to do something for those on the margins of society, the drug addicts and the prostitutes, those whom society passes by as they lie of the streets of our towns and cities. It is a tale too of the amazing timeliness of God’s providence, of believing totally in his love and in his generosity towards those who sincerely set out to do his will.
And in the end we see a new foundation emerging in the Church, a work of mercy which doesn’t simply try to treat the symptoms of homelessness and desperation amongst the young, but offers them a deep spiritual life and a chance to start again with useful practical skills. In the book there are testimonies of those who have survived the hell of the streets and who have themselves decided to consecrate their lives to God in the same way as Chiara Amirante. It is an uplifting and inspiring story, whose twists and turns make it a gripping read as well as source of deep spiritual reflection. I can do nothing other than recommend it wholeheartedly.
* The Gen 3 are young people committed to the Focolare Movement aged between 9 and 16.