The moment I heard about Chiara Corbella and Enrico Petrillo, I was eager to know more about them, especially curious due to a comment – second Gianna Beretta Molla – by His Eminence Cardinal Vallini, the vicar general of His Holiness for the diocese of Rome. Why should someone compare ‘Chiara Corbella’ with St. Gianna? What difference Petrillose brought to this world? There was not much internet said about these silent saints. Like a gentle breeze Chiara passed thru our lives, left behind memories of her fragrance of joy, Enrico and Francesco.
It is always joyful to watch wondrous ways of Holy Spirit. Recently I had a chat with one of our young JY and accidentally said that I am in preparation to write about Chiara. He replied, “My daughters name is Chiara.” Chiara is a common name, so I never specifically asked the intention behind that naming. However, few days back I met his family with their baby girl. I asked: “Is this Chiara?” He said: “No, she is Gianna, Chiara is elder daughter”. Without much explanation, it is revealed to me that both names perfectly displays that family’s missionary intentions. They are inclined towards the pro-life values which The Movement holds tight to her core. For me, that incident was a confirmation from Holy Spirit to write about Chiara and Enrico.
Chiara’s and Enrico’s inspiring, joyful life lead me to think about large families who stood and took their daily cross, for the cause of pro-life ministry, within Jesus Youth Movement. Do we remember them? Do our youngsters understand that there is a cause to stand for life. Do they understand human in any form is precious? As Enrico reflects – “We are born into eternity, and we shall never die.”
I am sure we have similar lives within our JY communities. However, they are hidden somewhere deep as treasures, waiting for seekers footfalls.
I pray that Chiara’s and Enrico’s life be a light in the path of young couples who are married or who are engaged. Especially to understand from their life that – Choosing marriage, like consecrating oneself to religious life, also requires a vocation. It is more than simply a natural inclination; it is necessary to respond to a special call from God. But to what does God call us? What does He ask us to do? Marriage can make saints. To understand that a gift from God is a gift from God at any given situation, in any given form. Amen!
Chiara Corbella met Enrico Petrillo during a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in the year of 2002. She was 18 and He was 23. She was talented in drawing and in music. So was Enrico, he wrote and composed songs. They decided to get to know each other. The relationship did not go smoothly. There were painful breakups, they quarreled very often. Much of the incidents were either resolved by the interventions of their spiritual director or by their own pilgrimages and prayers.
In 2003, during the Franciscan march and during adoration of the Cross on Good Friday it became clearer for them, that there is no time to loose to get married. Soon they became parents of little Maria Grazia Letizia. Initial checkups during pregnancy period revealed that Maria has serious malformation-anencephaly, and doctors advised them for an abortion. It is waste of time carrying this baby for whole nine months. However Chiara and Enrico, decided to accept Maria, they went thru all sufferings of the pregnancy, still knowing that Maria will not live. They believed, even with malformation life of Maria Grazia Letizia is an authentic gift from God!
Maria Grazia Letizia was born alive, lived for 40 minutes. During this period she got blessing of her grand parents and friends, she was baptized and was born again in Heaven. Their second baby David Giovanni had a different malformation, now the public is complaining that parents are sinners, that is why they are having these type of babies. Still they took their crosses, accompanied David in his life time (he lived for 30 minutes after birth) and during his way to Heaven.
Their third child, Francesco was healthy baby. Again, his parents accompanied him the same way they accompanied his sister Maria and brother David. However, Chiara was recognized with terminal cancer. Doctors advised to start cancer therapy immediately, but pregnant Chiara did not wanted to do anything, that harms Francesco who is still growing healthy in Chiara. She refused any treatment on her until Francesco is born.
After Francesco’s birth doctors started cancer treatments, however it was too late to save Chiara. Year of 2012 Chiara died, saving life of her baby Francesco. What challenges us always is Chiara and Enrico’s joyful life even during their sufferings and their total submission to providence of God. They found, in any given situation there is no reason to be sad!
Chiara and Enrico’s life shows us for what a Christian family should stand for. They proved with their life, shorter or longer life is always precious and it is OK to die for another life!
For further reading on Chiara and Enrico refer the book:
Chiara’s testimony with English subtitle :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbHpCJ8AfUY
Chiara’s testimony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZX-gFbtC2dU
Enrico’s testimony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5r1xVmYo_ME
Chiara Corbella Website