Last week we witnessed the beatification of an 89-year-old Cardinal from the Victorian Age. Today, the Church sees the beatification of an 18-year-old who died a century later. Holiness certainly doesn't depend on one's lifespan or state in life! And in another one of those coincidences that is God working in disguise, today's liturgy tells us, "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth"...
Ecclesiastes describes the diminishments of extreme old age in a poetic manner; Chiara Badano, young as she was, experienced them all in the course of her battle with cancer, and grace was so alive in her that she sanctified each progressive loss. She began to live with her heart and mind in Heaven. Chiara's life and death are especially meaningful now, I think, because she "translates" in terms of a typical teen the spirituality we usually associate with the cloistered life of a St. Therese--and she had a lot less time than even the very young Therese!
Chiara (nicknamed "Chiara Luce" or "Bright Light") will be the first "Blessed" of the Focolare Movement. Focolare rose up from the ashes of World War II, another sign of the action of the Holy Spirit in "real time" and not just back in the apostolic era.
Here is Chiara's story as reported by the Focolare Movement, of which she was a member,
and here it is in the Zenit news.