St. Maria Goretti's Biography

Migrant Farmers

It was at this time that it became apparent their little farm would no longer support their growing family and the Gorettis would have to leave their beloved homeland of Corinaldo. In 1896, several families, including the Gorettis, Cimarellis and the Serenellis moved from the eastern coast of the Italian peninsula to Colle Gianturco, about fifty miles outside of Rome. The families were relocating in order to farm a large plot of land belonging to the Sicilian Senator Scelzi. The families were informed that there were plenty of job opportunities available, and since their needs were great, the offer was readily accepted.

During his second year, Maria's father, Luigi, and Giovanni Serenelli became partners as share-croppers. This partnership was a cause of sorrow from the very beginning. After four months , all lost their jobs because of the Serenellis, who would not keep to the contract. For this reason the families had to leave Colle Gianturco and go to Ferriere di Conca about ten kilometers from Nettuno. There they were able to work a large piece of property owned by Count Attilio Mazzoleni. The Gorettis lived in the farmhouse with the Serenelli family, next to where the Cimarelli family lodged. The two families divided the house into equal parts and both shared the kitchen. The Gorettis managed the household as the Serenellis had no women in the family. Living in these close quarters was not the most ideal situation for rearing young children.

The new dwelling was located in the infamous Pontine Marshes, a haven for mosquitos, with 2,000 miles of pestilential, undrained land known throughout history for malaria. Luigi spent the sultry days of the first summer digging ditches to drain the eight acres of land on which to sow wheat and barley. He began to experience attacks of fever and bronchial trouble, but continued work throughout the winter, hauling rocks from a nearby quarry for road construction. Luigi was not a man to easily get down.

<< Previous chapter | Next chapter >>
Hosted by