Chiara Corbella Petrillo

A Witness to Joy

Chiara Corbella Petrillo book cover
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About this item

Chiara Petrillo was seated in a wheel chair looking lovingly toward Jesus in the tabernacle. Her husband, Enrico, found the courage to ask her a question that he had been holding back. Thinking of Jesus’s phrase, “my yoke is sweet and my burden is light,” he asked: “Is this yoke, this cross, really sweet, as Jesus said?”

A smile came across Chiara’s face. She turned to her husband and said in a weak voice: “Yes, Enrico, it is very sweet.”

At 28 years old, Chiara passed away, her body ravaged by cancer. The emotional, physical, and spiritual trials of this young Italian mother are not uncommon. It was her joyful and loving response to each that led one cardinal to call her “a saint for our times.”

Chiara entrusted her first baby to the blessed Virgin, but felt as though this child was not hers to keep. Soon, it was revealed her daughter had life-threatening abnormalities. Despite universal pressure to abort, Chiara gave birth to a beautiful girl who died within the hour. A year later, the death of her second child came even more quickly.

Yet God was preparing their hearts for more—more sorrow and more grace.

While pregnant a third time, Chiara developed a malignant tumor. She refused to jeopardize the life of her unborn son by undergoing treatments during the pregnancy. Chiara waited until after Francesco was safely born, and then began the most intense treatments of radiation and chemotherapy, but it was soon clear that the cancer was terminal.

Almost immediately after giving birth to Francesco, Chiara’s tumor became terminal and caused her to lose the use of her right eye. Her body was tested, and so was her soul as she suffered through terrible dark nights.

She said “yes” to everything God sent her way, becoming a true child of God. And as her days on earth came to an end, Enrico looked down on his wife and said, “If she is going to be with Someone who loves her more than I, why should I be upset?”

Each saint has a special charisma, a particular facet of God that is reflected through her. Chiara’s was to be a witness to joy in the face of great adversity, the kind which makes love overflow despite the sorrow from loss and death.

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Editorial Reviews

Agostino Cardinal Vallini photo

"I don’t know what God has prepared for us by giving us the testimony of this woman, but is surely something we can’t lose; therefore, let us treasure this gift that reminds us to give the right value to every daily gesture, whether it be big or small."

Agostino Cardinal Vallini
Archpriest of the Arcibasilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

Product Details

  • Pages: 184
  • Format(s): Paperback, eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-622823-055
  • Product Code: 3055
  • Availability: In Stock

Customer Reviews

543213 reviews
Chiara Corbella Petrillo: A Witness to Joy
The story of Chiara and her husband is electrifying. Theirs is a holiness not distant from the world or overly pious. Rather, their journey is of a hard-won and lived-in sanctity that has the power to inspire anyone, at any stage. After reading it, I feel like her husband Enrico should've been on the cover too...because it is not only Chiara's story, but the story of a married couple faced with huge difficulties (including a rocky relationship before marriage). Do you want to know if faith is real? I can't think of a better encounter for anyone who is skeptical of faith...coping with grief...struggling in a relationship...seeking a spouse...desiring holiness in marriage...facing a terminal diagnosis...has lost a child...than with Chiara and Enrico. Read this book. And then give this book to everyone you know.
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Truly Inspiring
This book was one of the most inspiring and beautifully written books I have ever read. One may think this will be sad due to the subject matter but Chiara and Enrico's faith and joy come through so loudly and clearly that it leaves you feeling peace and joy. The title is so very appropriate as she was truly a witness to joy. I felt called to read this book, now I know why. As someone battling cancer there are many things I will take away from this book to help me on my own journey. Thank you for bringing this book to us!
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Chiara Corbella Petrillo, A Witness To Joy
Good day! From the Philippines, congratulations for coming up with this inspiring and worth sharing book! I haven't read this yet but based on the initial story shared by Zenit, I come to start loving this book being a wife and a mother. Please share how are we going to get a copy. All the best! God bless!
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