Focolare Movement

Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement

The Focolare Movement is an international organization that promotes the ideals of unity and universal brotherhood. Founded in 1943[1] in Trento, northern Italy by Chiara Lubich as a religious movement, the Focolare Movement, though primarily Roman Catholic, now has strong links to the major Christian denominations and other religions, or in some cases, with the non-religious.

The Focolare Movement operates in 182 nations and has over two million adherents.[2][3] The word "Focolare" translates into Italian as "hearth" or "family fireside".[4] While Focolare is the common sobriquet given to this organisation, its official name as approved by the Roman Catholic Church is "Opera di Maria" or "Work of Mary".


In 1943 in Trent, Italy, Chiara Lubich founded the movement. Chiara and her companions started off working with people in the poorest neighborhoods of the city and bomb shelters. This first group soon became a movement, dedicated to living out the precepts of Christians, Buddhists and Hindus. It spread, initially in Europe, then worldwide.


The current president of the Focolare movement is Maria Voce,[5] who was elected in 2008.[6] Today the movement, which is now international, considers the following issues as part of its mandate: to cooperate in the consolidation of unity in the Christian world, with individuals and groups, movements and associations; to contribute to full communion with Christians of different churches; to move towards universal brotherhood with followers of various religions and people of other persuasions, including atheists. The whole movement is divided into 25 branches.

Gradually, several projects have sprung up within the movement: the school 'Abba', the 'Economy of Communion' (which is linked more than 800 companies), evangelism within small cities, social work, and publishing magazines. The Focolare Movement is recognized by the Pope and is present in over 182 countries.


Every year the Movement holds local retreats termed Mariapolises, where members and newcomers come together to discuss the Movement and its spirituality. The first Mariapolis was held in 1949 in Fiera di Primiero, in the heart of Italy's Dolomite mountains. Each year, over 200,000 persons attend a Mariapolis. At a Mariapolis, there typically is an ecumenic prayer room, or a panel discussion with leaders from multiple faiths. These short retreats are related to the Permanent Mariapolises, 33 settlements that serve as Focolare centers.

Building in Loppiano in 1989
Communal electrical shop at Loppiano specializing in refurbishments of power meters. Taken in 1989

The main center is located in the town of Loppiano near Florence, Italy.

Beatification of Chiara Luce Badano

Chiara Badano, a member of the Focolare movement, was beatified on September 25, 2010.[7]

Members proposed for Sainthood



Servants of God

Open causes

Members of the Focolare Movement that may be accepted by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to beatify include:

New City Press

New City Press, established in 1964, is an official publishing house for the Focolare movement. Among their publications is the Spirituality of Unity series, featuring the works of founder Chiara Lubich, and Understanding the Scriptures, Bible commentaries by scholars such as Daniel Harrington, Dianne Bergant, Robert Karris, and Ronald Witherup.[9]

See also


  1. Roy, Olivier. "Breakthroughs in Faith". World Policy Journal (Winter 2011/2012). Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  2. Fang, Tony; Liang, Alice (February 14, 2001), "ROC PRESIDENT AWARDS FOUNDER OF FOCOLARE MOVEMENT", Central News Agency - Taiwan, retrieved February 19, 2010
  3. "UNESCO peace prize for founder of Focolare movement", Deutsche Presse-Agentur, August 12, 1996, retrieved February 19, 2010
  4. "focolare - Dizionario italiano-inglese WordReference".
  5. "Church's most powerful woman focuses on unity". Crux. February 13, 2015.
  6. "Maria Voce". Focolare Movement.
  7. "Italian teen one step closer to sainthood". Catholic News Agency.
  8. "La figlia suora che "dirigeva" De Gasperi". Avvenire (in Italian).
  9. "About New City Press". New City Press. Retrieved September 26, 2011.
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