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  • Reanne Powell

Chiara Corbella Petrillo - A Witness to Joy



What a beautiful story. This one will be lingering in my mind and my heart for a long time to come.


Chiara started out as a very normal young woman from Italy. She was married in 2008 to her husband, Enrico, and they got pregnant soon after. They soon found out their daughter had a rare condition where she would not survive outside the womb. I was blown away by the peace and trust they had, and the conviction that her life was a gift, regardless of how long their daughter would be with them.


Not long after, their second pregnancy revealed a completely different complication, and their son would also not be able to survive after birth. They held him for half an hour, before he was "born into eternity". The peace and joy they had blessed everyone around them. They testified to the fact that their son was given to them for a reason, and they were meant to be his parents.


If this was the end of the story, it would still be beautiful, and I was moved to tears by their faith through that season of their life. However, Chiara's story continues with the discovery of cancer when she was pregnant with their third child. Instead of receiving the treatment that would likely harm the child, she chose to wait till after he was born. The cancer spread rapidly, and she soon found out that she was a terminal patient.


Chiara's story is inspiring not because of what she went through, but the way that she allowed her suffering to shape her into a woman of incredible faith. She trusted in God's plan for her life, and lived each day completely present to those around her. I was so inspired by the unconditional love she had for her husband and children and her total dependance on the grace of God.


Reading this book reminded me why Catholics believe it's important to learn about the lives of the saints. Countless holy men and women have gone before us on the journey to Jesus Christ, and they have so much to teach us. It's encouraging to see how holiness is lived out in the ordinary and extraordinary moments of life.


She died in 2012, at 28 years old. Her close friends were asked to write this short book about her life. It's simple and easy to read, and gives testimony to her incredible faith and joy. I feel privileged to have read her story.


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Overall: 5/5

Age 14+

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Buy it at your local Catholic bookstore, or click the link to find it online

Canada: Paperback - Kindle




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