In the afternoon we drove to Mondavio and then Corinaldo. Corinaldo is the birth place of Maria Goretti. The only thing I remember about this saint is that she died rather than give up her virginity. (I remember a lot of jokes about her being the only Italian girl to say, “No.”) Well today got a different story, one that has me thinking that the Church in Le Marche has done some very unusual things – declaring that angels brought a house over from Palestine; declaring that a young girl from a migrant-workers’ family is a saint, because she put up a fight rather than give up her virginity to the landowner’s son. The son frustrated by of her refusal, stabbed her to death. But, before she died, she forgave her would-be-rapist.

The story continues – the son then goes up to Goretti’s mother – Mamma Assunta – and asks for her forgiveness. The mother tells him that since her daughter forgave him, he was forgiven. He then goes to live with a group of Franciscan monks, but never takes vows. Goretti is buried in the church of Santa Maria Goretti in Corinaldo in the crypt, her mother is buried on the left side of the nave and her would-be-rapist on the right side of the nave.

Now, my version of the story – The landowner’s son is the would-be-rapist that part of the story is consistent, but I suspect that his well-connected father went to the local Franciscan prior and made a deal. – “Declare Maria Goretti a saint, but let it be known that she forgave my son before dying. House my son in one of your monasteries and I will give a large donation. The Church gets a new saint from the peasant class, think of how many donations that will bring in; after all the villain is the landowner’s son, another plus in the class warfare propaganda the Church likes to traffic in, but don’t forget that she forgave him proving her worth to be a saint. Plus let’s not forget my sizable contribution.”

Nowhere in the story is law enforcement mentioned. And how is it that a migrant-worker’s family, who was as poor as dirt, can get through the bureaucracy that is the Roman Catholic Church to get their daughter proclaimed a saint. Nah, there were other more powerful forces at work. And for me those are the rich landowner, the Franciscans, and the local law enforcement. All had to agree on the plan and all had to get something from it – a win-win situation – in order for it to work.

The Italians had a new saint. Le Marche had a second site to attract tourists with religious leanings who hopefully will put money into the offering boxes.