In the difficult post-war period while struggling to heal from the wounds inflicted on all the nations of Europe by the Second World War, a growing number of young people, families, workers, professionals and politicans joined members of the nascent Movement for summer holidays in the mountains of Trentino, Italy.
Right from the start the Mariapolis was a small chunk of society renewed by the love of the Gospel. South Tyroleans and Italians, French and Germans all participated as the hatred of the war quickly melted away.
From early on, a note of internationality characterized the Movement which was spreading rapidly, first in Italy and then, in 1952, in the other countries of Europe and to the other continents in 1958.
In 1959, more than 10,000 people attended the Mariapolis at Fiera di Primiero in Trentino, Italy. Twenty seven countries from different continents were represented.
At that Mariapolis – and later in 1960 at Freiburg, Germany – while speaking to an international gathering about unity among the peoples of the world, Chiara Lubich proposed the Gospel commandment of love as the relationship that could exist between nations: “Love your neighbour’s country as your