The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., will bestow an honorary doctorate in education on Chiara Lubich, founder of the worldwide Focolare Movement. The degree will be conferred by CUA’s President, the Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., at a ceremony at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10.
Lubich, 80, was born in Trent, Italy. At age 23, during the throes of World War II, she founded a community whose goal was to live the New Testament’s message of love and unity. The community’s faithful way of life drew new members, now numbering about 100,000, and 4 million supporters, both lay and clerical. The Focolare Movement, whose name in Italian means hearth or family fireside, was approved by Pope John XXIII in 1962 and its subsequent development was approved by Pope John Paul II in 1990.
“In the fifty years that have passed since Chiara Lubich first met with representatives of the Holy See to discuss the movement and its spirituality, virtually every part of the world has experienced the touch of the Focolare,” said Father O’Connell. “In all her travels, through all her charitable work, in all her conversations and lectures, in all her encounters with God’s people – the great and the humble alike – Chiara Lubich has been faithful to the divine inspiration that first moved her heart.”
Lubich’s writings have been translated into various languages and have inspired non-Catholics and non-Christians alike. For her work she received the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion in 1977, the Augsberg Peace Prize in 1988, numerous honorary degrees from universities around the world and other awards.
The Catholic University of America, located in Washington, D.C., is the nation’s only university established by the U.S. Catholic bishops and is the national university of the Catholic Church. Founded in 1887 as a graduate and research institution, CUA began offering undergraduate programs in 1904. About 5,500 graduate and undergraduate students are enrolled.
Revised: February 12, 2001
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