Who were the parents of this child? The parish priest, Monsignor Signori, described Luigi and Assunta Goretti as "poor people, but God fearing." Both mother and father were poor laborers and did not have time to go to school; therefore neither of them could read or write. Maria's father, Luigi Goretti, was born December 26, 1859, of peasant stock from the part of Italy called "The Marshes." In this region is the famous shrine of Loretto, where the Holy House of Nazareth is venerated. It was the center of devotion for all the local peasants, and Luigi was no exception. He has not only served his Faith, but his country as well, as he gave three years of military service. Though he became well acquainted with the ways of the world, he chose to return to his "lovely Corinaldo" and take up the simple, prayerful life of a farmer again. At 26 he married Assunta Carlini.
Assunta was poorer than Luigi. She had been orphaned at the age of ten and had managed to survive by trading her manual work on neighbors' farms for room and board. Until she met Luigi she did not think she would marry, for her standards were high and none of the other villagers met them. However, Luigi fit the stiff requirements and she was married at the age of nineteen on Feb. 5, 1885. Years later, when asked if it had been "love a first sight." Assunta replied emphatically, "At first and last!"
Assunta and her husband were poor, but accepting of their lot in life as from the hands of God. Due to this resignation, God blessed their dwelling with peace, with each spouse respectful of the other. Morning and night prayers were said together. The couple truly focused on personally living as the role models for their children who were brought up to imitate the example of their parents. Assunta tells us, "We tried to live as good Christians in the holy fear of God, and these were in the same principles by which we tried to bring up our offspring. . . " The blessing of children began the following year with the arrival of Antonino, the first of their seven. Sadly though, he was also the first claimed for Heaven, dying in his heartbroken mother's arms at the age of eight months. Two years later a second son, Angelo, was born. By this time, the hardworking couple moved from their dwelling which they had shared with other families to a place of their own.<< Previous chapter | Next chapter >>