In an age that is becoming more and more secular, God has sent special men and women to show us how to live holy lives during these troubling times.
Meet Chiara Luce Badano. Born in 1971 in Sassello, Italy, she had a deep devotion to Jesus from a young age. At the age of nine, Chiara was inspired by the Focolare group, an Italian Catholic movement that emphasized the message of looking to Christ to endure difficulties on earth. She decided to devote her life to Christ.
Her commitment to Jesus was not without difficulties. Chiara was an ordinary teenage girl who enjoyed typical activities like hiking, tennis, listening to pop music, dancing, and singing—yet because she had a unique, unpopular devotion to our Lord, she was often teased by her classmates. Many of her peers made fun of her faith and called her “Sister” as a nickname.
But Chiara did not give up and kept her spirits high, even when her challenges and struggles increased.
When she was seventeen, she felt a pain in her shoulder while playing tennis. When her pain persisted for several days, she went through a series of tests and discovered she had osteogenic sarcoma, which is a rare type of bone cancer. Instead of giving into despair, Chiara simply stated, “It’s for you, Jesus; if you want it, I want it too.”
Chiara offered up every single one of her sufferings as she endured treatment. She even refused to take morphine as she underwent various surgeries so that she could be aware of her sufferings, declaring: “It reduces my lucidity and there’s only one thing I can do now: to offer my suffering to Jesus because I want to share as much as possible in His sufferings on the cross.”
Chiara’s doctors were inspired by her contagious joy, especially since her cheerfulness proved that death is not the end. When her hair began to fall out from chemotherapy, she took every lock and offered it to God with the simple prayer, “For you, Jesus.” Knowing her days could be coming to an end, Chiara donated her life savings to a friend doing missionary work, because she knew she did not need the money.
Times of suffering can be the hardest time to turn to God, which is why He sent Chiara to us to show how we can offer up our hardships and unite ourselves with Jesus. The 20th century has given us some incredible saints and future saints that inspire us to keep looking to Christ even in the difficult and unique challenges we face today.
In her book Nothing Short of a Miracle: God’s Healing Power in Modern Saints, Patricia Treece outlines the many inspirational men and women of God who came about in the past century. You can discover how God worked through these holy men and women by getting your own copy here.