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The erosion of my life was not caused by the Focolare, but this treatment certainly played a part in the confusion I was trapped in. When I found that my "attachment" to my husband was broken by the realization that my ability to function was compromised by the horrors in the marriage, I chose to leave my marriage to be able to live for my children, I explained this as well as I could to the people have been "estranged" from the movement since my divorce in 1995. In spite of efforts to keep in touch, I also found that, I was no longer of interest when I couldn't take the initiative to attend meetings, make calls, etc. I finally realized that it was fair to be "exiled", although no one ever said it officially, since I was after all "living in sin." A good friend of mine, who I actually introduced to the movement in 1983, has kept in touch, sporadically, at best. Even with her, I believed I had become "unclean" and 'untouchable." But, then I haven't made an effort either. The years during and following my divorce and separation from the Catholic church were so painful and lonely, that I suffered clinical depression. Those who helped me with my children, my finances, and putting my life together, were NOT the Focolare family, and NOT the Catholic church , but those whom I least expected. "Belonging" to the movement when I was no longer capable of active participation, proved to be meaningless. I consoled myself with the thought that surely they would pray for me, and accepted my fate as my own fault for not continueing to "embrace Jesus Forsaken" through a painful, broken, damaging marriage.

So, my story is long,I have followed the movement at a distance, and once in awhile, when invited, participated in the few local activities. I have had 13 years to reflect upon it and to learn about myself, others, and God. I believe that Chiara is authentic and the writings of the early movement are solid. Someone here wrote that there is nothing “new” in Focolare, so why the New this and the New that. Well, it is about becoming “new” in Christ actually, and yeah…that is just basic Christianity. My trips to Rome, the many many gatherings, including Mariapolis’s and visits to see Pope John Paul, building of Luminosa, taking my children to international gatherings, spending what money I had to fight my husband for to participate in things. And so much more has brought me much insight into faith and was definitely an instrument in my faith and spiritual development. So, I could only blame me. What has haunted me, what I don’t understand to this day , is how it is Christian and/or Holy to abandon a “family member” when they are most in need. I realize that in my personal life, I became the face of Jesus Forsaken. Yet, I was not embraced, “always, immediately, and with joy.” In fact, I believe I was easily forgotten. I am not angry…..I am just hurting and don’t know how to heal from this.

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