The operation lasted for nearly two hours, while Assunta remained outside the operation room. The chaplain came from time to time to encourage her. As soon as the operation was over, she went into Marietta's room and saw that her daughter was watching the door as the though she was expecting her. Marietta, on seeing her mother, at once pronounced her mother's name. Even in this condition Maria still thought of others and asked her mother how her brothers and sisters were, though begging her mother not to let the Serenellis in.
Assunta was not permitted to remain with Marietta because they feared that she would talk and really ought to have absolute silence. Permission to stay, however, was granted to Teresa Cimarelli and Marettina nodded in unhappy resignation saying, "Ah, well!" Assunta spent a night without sleep. She sought shelter in the ambulance which had brought them to the hospital. Because she had overheard some passerby say, "She's dead," Assunta cried out and fainted. After they revived her, and convinced her that they were not referring to her daughter, she calmed down somewhat. Through Teresa Cimarelli's intervention, the nurses let her go in before the appointed time, so that she would be able to see herself that Maria was still alive.
Assunta tried to comfort her daughter as best as she could. She noticed that Maria's eyes were often intent on a painting of Our Lady which was hanging on the wall. Teresa Cimarelli told Assunta afterwards that she heard Maria say several times with absolute clarity of mind, "Our Lady is waiting for me."
Twenty-seven years after Maria's death, when Church officials exhumed her body for examination, the blue ribbon of the Children of Mary was still hanging around her neck. Around the medal the words could still be clearly read, "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." Those who were present at her enrollment testified to how happy she was, and how her eyes were shining with joy when the ribbon, which had so eagerly been longed for, was placed around her neck. How often, her mother had said, she had kissed that medal of the Blessed Virgin!<< Previous chapter | Next chapter >>