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Interview: The husband of Chiara Corbella on his wife’s sacrifice and possible canonization

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Enrico Petrillo: “More than feeling that the world was against us, we knew that we were with the Lord."

The cause of canonization for the Italian laywoman Chiara Corbella opened June 13, the fifth anniversary of her death.

Here is a recent interview with her husband:

When Enrico Petrillo and Chiara Corbella were expecting their son Francesco, Chiara was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer. Together, they decided to postpone treatment so as not to put the child in danger.

In the end, Chiara died at the age of 28, one year after Francesco was born (completely healthy). Enrico tells us the story.

After a long work week, on Friday night, he invites us to his house, in Rome, to talk about Chiara, her message, and the incredible story of their life together—not without suffering and trials, but at the same time, overflowing with love.

We can see weariness on his face. He’s now a single dad, raising a 4-year-old son alone. As if that were not enough, has just had to deal with illness again.

ENRICO PETRILLO
Daniel Ibañez | Mission Magazine

Over the past few months, he has suffered through myocarditis and pneumonia. He was in quarantine for two weeks because the doctors came to the conclusion that he might have tuberculosis.

Consequently, he says that during these past months he has experienced “other fears.” “Not the fear of my own death,” he explains, “but the terrible fear of leaving my son Francesco alone.” He says he even thought, at one point, that God was going to allow him to die, because he is aware that, sometimes, “God has a plan that isn’t always clear [to us].”

But these are just the first brushstrokes of our conversation. Before going deeper into his experiences with Chiara, he interrupts my initial question and stands up. “We could pray before starting to talk, couldn’t we?”

He is Enrico Petrillo, husband and father. He works as a physiotherapist at a hospital for the terminally ill, and five years ago, he was widowed.

The story of Chiara, his wife, began in the summer of 2002, when they met in Medjugorje. They married six years later, on September 21, 2008.

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