Alberto Michelotti was born to Silvio and Albertina Vinciprova on August 14, 1958. His father died in 1981. Alberto was baptized on August 21, 1958 in the chapel at Galliera Hospital where he had been born. From his early childhood Alberto was drawn to the figure of his maternal grandfather who was a Gold Medal hero, and he learned to cultivate the values of loyalty tenacious self-giving. His Christian initiation was followed by his First Holy Communion at the parish church of Saint Gotthard on May 28, 1967 and Confirmation on June 4, 1977 in the parish church of Saint Bartholomew of Staglieno.
Alberto began to show his solid character in middle school when he managed to overcome many difficulties that were due to his new environment. He was very successful in his high school and university studies, especially in the area of science, which he poured himself into and won many awards and recognitions. His success at school never caused him to indulge his pride. He showed sincere humility and attributed his success to God whom he always put first in life.
On the other hand, he was always genuinely grateful for his friends, whom he never failed to help in concrete ways and influence in positive ways. From early childhood he showed a deep religious sense that became perseverance in common prayer and in giving Christian witness. During his adolescence he became involved in the parish, attended the Catholic Action group for teenagers and taught catechism.
In September 1977 Alberto met the Focolare Movement through his parish priest, Father Mario Terrile. He became involved with the Youth Section known as the New Generation. His spiritual personality became stronger, reaching greater and greater heights. He had two “spiritual loves’ in his life: Eucharistic Jesus whom he received every day, and the Blessed Virgin Mary whom he prayed to and taught others to pray with the Holy Rosary. Because of his human gifts that were enriched by Grace, he became a leader among the other young people, who were amazed to find such maturity and spiritual balance in one of their own peers. Alberto knew how to transmit joy and enthusiasm for the faith with his strong personality and concrete actions. Even though he felt great love and respect for his relatives, a respect that was reflected in the way he tried to never be a financial burden. Alberto always placed God first in his life along with the spreading of God’s Kingdom. He was a motivator and encouragement in the faith for his own family, to the point that his example would later be called by them “the legacy of Alberto.” Strong in his faith he was never afraid to go against the current, living and teaching values that for many were considered obsolete; things such as purity, which he held to be a means for attaining true freedom. Taken by a desire for commitment and total dedication, he passed beyond the limits of a purely human love, drawing others along in the choices of radical consecration.
At first Alberto played a driving role in Carlo’s acceptance of spiritual commitments that were ever more constant and high, and later with a more lively and personal awareness. They shared one common desire: to put God at the centre of their life. Together they took part in prayer and works of charity in favour of the poorest, and they drew in many other young people. Alberto fell to his death during a mountain climb on August 18, 1980. Right away, a genuine fame of holiness began to spread which carries on until today and has led to the opening of his Cause of Canonization.
Emilio Artiglieri (Postulator)
was born on December 29, 1960 to Alfonso and Clara Ferrando. Shortly after the birth of Carlo the Grisolia family suffered the loss of a daughter, Fiorella, who died of leukaemia at the age of one. In the midst of his pain, Alfonso was consoled by the environment of faith that he discovered in the Focolare. Clara, an elementary school teacher, would soon follow after her husband and become more deeply aware of her faith with the help of some members of the Movement. Carlo grew up in this atmosphere of mature faith and deep sense of brotherhood. He was baptized in Bologna, Italy, on January 8, 1961 and received First Holy Communion on June 5, 1969 in the parish church of Bosco Marengo where his father was transferred because of his work as a member of the Prison Administration. Carlo received the Sacrament of Confirmation in Bosco Marengo on June 12, 1971. The family moved permanently to Genoa’s Canova section of the Val Bisagno in 1973. Carlo received the new name “Vir” (strong) from Chiara Lubich .It connotes Christian fortitude which was his own strong point. Carlo’s life can be seen as a constant journey towards spiritual perfection. He had a sensitive and poetic nature. He showed some talent in music and composing songs through which he expressed his spiritual life, his desire to reach beyond human horizons, his longing to respond heroically to the faith he had received. It could be said that with the help of God’s grace he worked on himself with patient self-discipline, on his character, trying to overcome imperfections, shyness, closing in on himself and anything else that could be considered infantile or later adolescent. Carlo certainly didn’t remain a dreamer and, much less, closed in on himself in spite of his sensitiveness; rather, he was stimulated, supported and completed by God’s grace. He demonstrated in his short life on earth a powerful commitment to the church community and love: for example, his careful preparation of a Way of the Cross for several parishes that were situated in a difficult neighbourhood, and his active participation and animation of a group of volunteers dedicated to helping the needy. But the concrete charity was never disconnected or at the loss of the spiritual side of life. It was simply the outward expression of that deep interior spiritual life. His victory over his sensitiveness can be seen in a letter he wrote to a friend: “never worry about feeling or not feeling God. Let yourself go for it just the same. It’s a jump into darkness, but you have to do it because it’s the only way you’ll find the light. Don’t wait, don’t lose time. Who knows how many people, how many brothers and sisters are waiting to discover God through you.” Although it is true that in a first moment of his journey of holiness Carlo was supported by Alberto Michelotti whose Cause of Canonization is also underway – their common ideal in life was Chiara Lubich’s invitation to “become saints together.” It must be remembered that Carlo became a model of holiness for many young people long before his final illness and earned the admiration of many people who were ideologically quite far from him but admitted that his extraordinary devotion came “from Above.” His human and Christian maturity revealed itself in different circumstances, like the time he heroically intervened with a friend to put out a fire. He stepped back from the notoriety and gratitude saying that “the important thing was taking the action, not appearing in the newspapers.” With regard to Carlo’s spiritual life, there are mystical themes that emerge from his writings, of someone who is already well-along on the path of perfection: the dark night, for example. It was above all during the forty days before his illness that ended in his death, that the spiritual greatness of this young man shone through. The strong physical sufferings he endured and his awareness of the seriousness of his illness manifested his great spiritual stature and made him a quite powerful source of edification for all who drew near to him. Alberto Michelotti died on August 18,1980. The next day Carlo was rushed to the Galliera Hospital because of the appearance of a malignant tumour. His condition worsened, and he was transferred to Villa Scassi di Genoa Hospital. The doctors’ efforts were ineffective as Carlo continued to suffer violent haemorrhages and lung failure. He offered his sufferings for the Church, the Focolare Movement and Chiara Lubich. He told his mother that the moment had arrived to “take the plunge in God.” He kept on telling the nurses: “I know where I go,” expressing his hope of finding his friend, Alberto in the Eternal Life. During the days of his illness Carlo conformed himself to the model of Jesus Forsaken to the point of experiencing a mystical marriage between his soul and Jesus, which he expressed with a small metal Rosary ring that he kept on one of the fingers of his right hand to pray the Rosary. Now he wished to have the ring slipped onto the ring finger of his left hand as a wedding band. Carlo was often heard to exclaim: “I have only one Spouse on earth!” a famous first line from a meditation on Jesus Crucified and Forsaken that had been written by Chiara Lubich. His fame of holiness had already begun to spread. Nurses and others were asking Carlo for religious articles, prayers and spiritual favours. The nearer the moment of his departure, the greater his longing to be united with Jesus forever: “It’s beautiful,” he was saying, “to go to meet Jesus.” “I want to be all God’s.” Everyone who drew near to the young patient experienced the presence of God, a strongly sacred atmosphere: Carlo seemed to them as someone with the seriousness and maturity of a wise elder, a patriarch. Surrounded with loving care from his family and friends Carlo finally breathed his last after a night of terrible trials during which he continued to recite the Hail Mary. His funeral was a real celebration of the faith. In the years that followed, his fame never lessened, nor the admiration for this young man who together with Alberto Michelotti had been held up by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertoni as a model for today’s Christians.
Emilio Artiglieri (Postulator)