They are the brothers and sisters of “Nuovi Orizzonti” (New Horizons). Founded in Italy, this community is comprised of "survivors”: young men and women who have made the descent into hell, (all too frequent among today’s youth), and have come back to life with Jesus and Mary. But how?
The founder, Chiara Amirante, a wonderful young Italian woman, (now 38), was fascinated by this verse from the Gospel: "Abide in my love (...) that my joy may be in you and that your joy will be full" (John 15: 9-11). She chose to seek this joy, live it fully, and spread it. Later she fell gravely ill and her sufferings became almost unbearable. Though bed-ridden and nearly blind, deep joy stayed within her heart. In the moments of deepest suffering, Chiara realized that the joy of Jesus is in resisting pain and death. She had a burning desire to tell others this well kept secret and to venture into the hells of the poor and broken-hearted, announcing to them the joy of Jesus. So she made a deal with God - if He gave her some of her health back, she would go to people in despair! When, the next day, she went to the hospital for tests and another injection in the eyes, the doctor was astounded: Chiara was completely cured! Her intense life of prayer and devotion beckoned for a strong spiritual father - a Roman Bishop took the position. Chiara obeyed him in everything so that she would not become the victim of illusions. The sign was given, her health was restored and she hurried to announce the Good News, with her Bishop’s approval.
Clients of death were easy to find swarming around Termini Train Station, in the heart of Rome. Chiara spent days and nights there, trying to introduce a gleam of hope into that world of crime, drugs, prostitution and satanic sects. She was appalled by what she saw, heard, and touched there. It was hell on earth. Jesus crucified 15 minutes from the Vatican! She asked God for a house to welcome them so that they might receive love and peace, but to no avail. No door would open, in spite of the promises of a few well meaning politicians. She decided to go to Medjugorje and while there, in prayer, she understood that nothing would happen as long as she did not take a step, that of the folly of the Gospel, “Go, sell all you have, give it to the poor, then you will have a treasure in Heaven! Then come, follow me!” (Mt. 19.21) With her Bishop’s approval, she left her job and decided, on the feast of Mary Auxiliatrix, to leave her lovely home and live with the people suffering on the street. Lo and behold, it is precisely on that day that a house was offered to her. And not only one, but several, that very same day! Chiara accepted them all: the boys would need space; they were hundreds, they would soon be thousands!
The first priority: to train these living-dead to open their hearts to the love of God, for only love would be able to heal them. Chiara and the small team she had prepared were forming them in prayer. Imagine the “ragazzi” arriving in the makeshift chapel, wondering where on earth they had landed! But true love never deceives, and they stayed and followed the program. Most of them did not know God, and many of them even hated the Church. So what! Chiara asked them to try praying. At least try! “We have tried everything, so why not this!” they answered. Many gave their lives to the Lord. The fruits emerged in no time. Resurrections multiplied at a great pace and new houses sprang up. In July 2004, Chiara was appointed by Pope John Paul II as a Consultant for the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People.
And Medjugorje? Back on January 1, 1993, Chiara had gone to Medjugorje during the war, and it was actually there that Our Lady had placed in Chiara’s heart Her own love for Her children “who have not yet known the love of God” and are therefore dying in their soul. Having founded many houses in Italy, Chiara continued to answer the urgent call from Our Lady and, still having her Bishop’s blessing, in 2004 she gathered twelve elders in the community and opened a center in Medjugorje. After many hardships and struggles, the Community purchased land close to the Bijakovici cemetery. Last year, the hard work started and the “Morning Star Center” is now almost completed. They hope to settle in this summer. On June 6th, the bishop in charge of Nuovi Orizzonti came from Rome to encourage the troops and receive the promises from 7 of the youth (poverty, chastity, obedience and JOY!)
How many “lost ones” have been found again since 1993 thanks to New Horizons? The community reports that in 2004 they reached out to 650,000 youth through evangelization in the street and there are 300 consecrated members of the community. But the real number of souls Chiara and New Horizons have touched we will only find out in Heaven. Today in Medjugorje all pilgrims can see and hear their first-hand witnesses (see PS).
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