Tuesday 7 September 2021

St. Maria Goretti A Journey into Forgiveness and Redemption - Bret Thoman, OFS

St. Maria Goretti: 
A Journey into Forgiveness and Redemption
Bret Thoman, OFS
ISBN 9798541775228

Over the last few years I have read a number of books about Maria Goretti and Alessandro Serenelli. For in truth you cannot tell the one story without telling the other. But this volume was different from the others that I have read. Firsat this one is far more extensive. It is the longest and most comprehensive volume on Saint Maria Goretti that I have come across in English to date. Second it is in part a virtual pilgrimage with her. As Bret goes to all the key locations and experiences them and shares those experiences with us. Part of the description of the volume states:

“The author not only recounts the dramatic story that touched the heart of Catholics in Italy and throughout the world, the author brings the reader to the places where St. Maria Goretti and her killer, Alessandro Serenelli, lived.

Interspersed throughout the narrative, author Bret Thoman revisits their birth homes in Corinaldo (Maria) and Paterno (Alessandro), to Paliano where they met, and to Nettuno where the “deed” took place. He brings the reader to the places one can visit on pilgrimage today.”

The story of this saint, her attacker and his conversion come to life in a new and vivid way through this volume. You will find yourself immersed in the time, locals, and events. The chapters in this volume are:

Introduction to the Life and Times of St. Maria Goretti

1: Luigi and Assunta Goretti
2: The Birth of Maria Goretti
3. In the Footsteps: Corinaldo 
4. To the Roman Countryside
5: In the Footsteps: Paliano and Colle Gianturco
6: Alessandro Serenelli
7: In the Footsteps: Paterno
8: To the Swamps
9: The Pontine Marshes
10: Le Ferriere and Conca
11: Faith and Farms
12: The First Tragedy
13: Calm before the Storm
14: In the Footsteps: Le Ferriere and Borgo Montello
15: July 5, 1902
16: The Death and Martyrdom of Maria Goretti
17: To Prison
18: In the Footsteps: La Cascina and Nettuno
19: Forgiveness, Redemption, and Reconciliation
20: The glorification of St. Maria Goretti
21: In the Footsteps: the Capuchins and Redemption 

This is a deeply moving read. The story is not an easy one to read. But one worth reading. If you already have a devotion to Maria Goretti you will love this volume. If you are familiar or even unfamiliar with her story this would be a great one to start with.

This book is well written. Incredibly researched. Both through the history, Italian sources, and visiting locations and people who knew some of the people in this story. And excellent book that I highly recommend.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books about Saint Maria Goretti:

Books by Bret Thoman:
St. Clare of Assisi: Light From the Cloister
The Pandemic of Padre Pio: Disciple of Our Lady of Sorrows
Padre Pio and I: Memoirs of a Spiritual Son
A Knight and a Lady: A Journey into the Spirituality of Saints Francis and Clare
Following Francis and Clare: Twelve Walking Excursions in Assisi, Mount Subasio, Spoleto Valley, Rieti, and Laverna
The St. Francis Camino: A Spiritual Walking Pilgrimage from Assisi to Rome
Bergoglio's List: How a Young Francis Defied a Dictatorship and Saved Dozens of Lives
The St. Francis Camino: A Spiritual Walking Pilgrimage from Greccio to Assisi
Becoming Italian: A Personal Journey
Saint Francis of Assisi: Passion, Poverty & the Man Who Transformed the Catholic Church

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