CHIARA CORBELLA PETRILLO: A WITNESS

TO JOY

S. Troisi - C. Paccini

Chiara Petrillo was seated in a wheel chair looking lovingly toward Jesus in the tabernacle. Her husband, Enrico, found the courage to ask her a question that he had been holding back. Thinking of Jesus’s phrase, “my yoke is sweet and my burden is light,” he asked: “Is this yoke, this cross, really sweet, as Jesus said?” A smile came across Chiara’s face. She turned to her husband and said: “Yes, Enrico, it is very sweet.”

At 28 years old, Chiara passed away, her body ravaged by cancer. The emotional, physical, and spiritual trials of this young Italian mother are not uncommon. It was her joyful and loving response to each that led one cardinal to call her “a saint for our times.”

Each saint has a special charisma, a particular facet of God that is reflected through her. Chiara’s was to be a witness to joy in the face of great adversity, the kind which makes love overflow despite the sorrow from loss and death.

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