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The beautiful life of Maria Goretti, a Catholic saint, is portrayed in the moving film Maria Goretti. Born into extreme poverty, Maria lived a devout life, close to her family. Then one day, the family’s close neighbor attempted the unthinkable. . .but Maria forgave him. The film stars Martina Pinto as Maria, Luisa Ranieri and Massimo Bonetti as the two parents, Flavio Insinna as the priest, and Claudia Koll will play the role of the Countess Mazzoleni, the film Maria Goretti brings the beautiful saint’s story to life like never before.
On the 16th of October, 1890 a third child was born to the poor Italian farmer Luigi Goretti and his wife Assunta. It was a tiny baby girl, whom they lovingly named Maria. The Goretti family’s situation, digressed quickly after Maria’s birth, and by the time she was six Maria’s family was forced to give up their farm. So, Luigi moved his family to a small town about fifty miles outside of Rome, in search of work. Still impoverished, the Gorettis were forced to share the building with another family. Although their life was extremely difficult, the Goretti’s were a close knit family, and, as portrayed in the film Maria Goretti, Luigi and Assunta worked tirelessly to instill a love and devotion to God in their children. Of their children, Maria was by far the most devout. The small girl loved God, and was the most pious of their children. Three years after their move, tragedy struck the Goretti family. Due to the extreme poverty in which they lived, and swampy conditions of the town, Luigi Goretti contracted malaria and died. He left behind his widowed wife and several children, including nine year old Maria. Struggling to feed her children, Maria’s mother was forced to take work in the fields. Then Maria’s other brothers and sisters were called to work, until only she was left at home to cook, sew, clean, and mind her smaller sister Theresa. Through all the difficulties, however, as viewers will see in the film Maria Goretti, the family remained close, and their faith remained strong. Then the unthinkable happened. Twelve year old Maria was sitting on the front stoop sewing in the sunlight. Suddenly, their older neighbor boy Alessandro grabbed her from the stoop and dragged her into the house. When he attempted to advance on her, Maria cried out that what he was trying to do was a mortal sin and struggled to get away. As Alessandro struggled with the young girl she kept crying out that it was a sin and God did not want it. Then he started to choke her. Gasping for breath Maria managed to choke out that she would rather die than submit. Upon hearing this, Alessandro pulled out a knife and stabbed her eleven times, Maria struggled to reach the door, whereupon Alessandro stabbed her three more times and then fled. The heroine of Maria Goretti lay bleeding on the floor. When her mother and older brother returned home they found their beloved daughter and sister nearly dead in the doorway. Horrified they rushed her to the nearest hospital. Although she survived the night, the young Maria died the next morning. Before her death, however, she committed a selfless, loving, Christlike act-- she forgave Alessandro.
Allesandro was quickly chased and captured upon Maria’s discovery. After questioning he admitted, but stated that Maria was still pure as his attempt (and previous attempts to lure her) had been unsuccessful. He was, as the film Maria Goretti portrays, sentenced to thirty years in prison. For years the Italian remained unrepentant, until one night he had a dream. In his dream Maria approached him, told him she forgave him, and handed him lilies which turned to fire in his hands. When he awoke he repented and worked to change his life. When he was released twenty-seven years later, he immediately sought out Maria’s mother from whom he begged forgiveness, which she granted. Allesandro then became a brother of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, living in a monastery until his death in 1970.
Maria was beautified on April 27, 1947. Three years later on June 24, 1950 she was canonized. Allesandro attended this ceremony.
Saint Maria, called a martyr, is not remembered for her difficult life, or even for her refusal to commit a sin with Alessandro but for her selfless act of forgiveness. Her love, compassion, and concern for the soul of another human being-- her attacker no less-- extended to and even beyond death. From her story, and the film Maria Goretti, viewers will be inspired and challenged to forgive more freely, and in the attitude of Christ Jesus. From Maria’s story, viewers can learn to be courageous, and pure, even in the face of great danger or death. Compassion can also be learned from Maria’s actions in life and in the film Maria Goretti. She thought not of herself, but of Alessandro, desiring he would be forgiven by not only herself, but also God. Her prayers, and forgiveness worked a miracle in Alessandro’s life, turning him from a wicked, broken, angry young man into a humble, loving, forgiven man of God.
Maria Goretti’s story is on of hardship, pain, wrongdoing, and suffering. Yet, her life shines as an example of courage, patience, steadfastness, purity, forgiveness, kindness, selflessness, humility, compassion, and love. Viewers will be inspired by her actions, encouraged by her words, and challenged by her convictions.
Maria Goretti has not been rated by Motion Picture Association of America. Some scenes, topics, and issues may not be suitable for younger viewers. As always, it is recommend that parents preview all content to determine what is suitable for their children.
If you enjoyed learning more about the life of a Catholic saint, consider viewing some of the following films about other saints: Bernadette, Saint John Bosco: Mission To Love, Restless Heart: The Confessions of Augustine, and Saint Anthony: The Miracle Worker of Pauda,