It was evident that Assunta took her duty as a mother seriously. She realized that a mother's vocation is not only to provide for the material needs of her children but, more importantly, provide for their spiritual growth. Assunta did not want her little ones to grow up as "little animals," as she put it, but taught them to love God by knowing Him through the catechism and serving Him by fulfilling their Christian obligations. If only parents today would follow this routine of essential family catechizing! What powerful spiritual weapons would be given to the young wherewith they would be able to brave the temptations of the world!
This early childhood training was taking a firm root in the soul of Maria. Her life of prayer and obedience blossomed into a special devotion to the Mother of God, aided surely by the fact that Assunta had consecrated Mariettina to Our Lady when she was only one day old. Her mother reflected that it seemed that the Rosary had actually become a necessity to the little one. Mariettina was known to always hold the Rosary in her hand, twisting it around her wrist as if it were a very valuable adornment. She loved to roam over the fields and pick flowers with which to adorn the pictures of the Blessed Virgin. She was genuinely a child of Mary.
Though she seemed gentle and girlish for her age, she was actually developing a very forceful character. Perhaps the secret to her later strong, spiritual conviction was that she and her brother received the sacrament of Confirmation at the young age of six. Her mother's childhood friend, Teresa Cimarelli, was Maria's sponsor. In order to prepare them more fittingly for the reception of the Holy Spirit, her mother requested that they also be permitted to make their first Confession. The favor was granted, and after receiving the sacraments Marietta's spiritual life began to crystallize, and her soul's many beautiful facets began to be more and more manifest.<< Previous chapter | Next chapter >>