Saint Maria Goretti

6th July

In the simplicity of her life as a young girl, Saint Maria Goretti has a life lesson to share not only with our children but also for us adults. 

Resisting temptation is the biggest challenge a Christian can face. This temptation can come in all forms. To explain the sense of this challenge to children, it depends on the age of the children we are going to be speaking to.

We have to understand that the strength to resist doesn’t come by easily. We must help our children to acquire this internal strength bit by bit as they grow older.

We must help them from a young age to develop the sense of resisting desires by teaching them the virtue of waiting, even if they might desire something that is good for them. It is important to discourage in them the habit of “I want something, and I want it now.” 

It would be helpful that when they ask for something, you do not always give them what they want instantly, unless it is necessary. It would be helpful to sometimes respond with “Not now. Not today.” This could be the answer to a simple request for a piece of chocolate, for an ice cream, for a mobile phone or even for more time with their friends. 

The practice of denying one’s desires might eventually come in handy in more serious situations in their teenage years.  It is also important to teach them to apologise to those they have let down, and this counts for us adults as well.

After watching the video about Maria Goretti’s life together as a family, it would be helpful to ask the children: 

  • What did they find interesting in this story? 
  • What do they think about Maria Goretti? What do they admire in her?  

We can encourage the children to give examples under which circumstances do they as teenagers have to resist and say “no” to the pressures of those around them. 

It would be helpful to ask the children what they think of Alessandro. It is very possible that their first impression of him is that he is a bad person. Take their opinion on what made him change his life. 

Help them come to the conclusion that a person feels better when: 

  • That person feels guilty that has let someone else down 
  • That person asks for forgiveness 
  • That person confesses his/her sins to God and He forgives that person and gives him/her strength to continue practicing resistance.

It would be helpful if during family time we encourage the children to say personal prayers related to their experiences during the past week. 

This type of dialogue gives us the opportunity to get to know our children better because we are giving them the opportunity to open up to us. 

At a young age, Goretti mastered the virtue of perseverance. She loved God so much that she preferred to die than to sin. Goretti stayed strong and firm when faced with temptation, and this shows us how much she truly loved Jesus! 

Sit in front of one of your favourite sweets! Stare at it without touching it for ten minutes – use a timer! … If you do not eat the sweets before the timer rings, you will be allowed to eat it all and you would also have learned from Goretti’s life. 

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Saints of the Church. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the holy life, helping you to connect the saints to daily life in a meaningful way.