When she was about 12
years old, my daughter, Debra (now 23), was acting in religious
videos. At this time I was approached by film director and friend
Jim Cronin about the possibility of Deb playing the role of St.
Maria Goretti in a film Brother Goretti Zilli of Maryknoll and Joe
and Jeff Indusi were producing about the young saint's life. I
wanted to think and pray about it before allowing her to become
I knew of the very
short life and violent death of St. Maria Goretti. I knew her to be
a role model of purity and martyrdom; someone I had learned about
when I was a young girl attending St. Margaret's School in Middle
Village, New York.
It was a great honor
for us to be asked to participate in the project about her life, but
I was concerned about how the filmmakers would handle the scenes of
violence. Would it be done tastefully? Would my daughter be troubled
by the role in any way? So many questions and concerns were quickly
put to rest. I met Brother Goretti and Joe and Jeff and together
they explained their ideas for the video project. They impressed me
with their straightforwardness and desire to do honor to the saint,
as well as protect my daughter from any harmful effects. After
prayer and many reassurances, I agreed and Debra began work on the
video production of Love's Bravest Choice.
Since I too had done
some video work, I read for the part of Assunta, Maria's mother. I
did not get the part because another actress looked more like
Debra's mother than I did. I must admit she was a much better
Debra enjoyed the
making of the video with scenes being filmed locally. It was a
blessing for the two of us in so many ways. It was a wonderful
opportunity for me to talk with her about St. Maria Goretti and the
wonderful confidence in and love of Jesus she possessed from such an
early age. A Maryknoll father, Fr. John, gave Debra a relic of St.
Maria Goretti when he heard she was appearing in the film. It is a
family treasure and it brings back wonderful memories of this
blessed experience for all of us.
Debra is a graduate
of Loyola College in Baltimore, MD, with a B.S. degree in Art
History and Studio Arts. She is currently working in the Baltimore
area in this field. My husband, Robert, is a security manager in
Norwalk, CT. Our oldest daughter, Lee, a Marist grad, is living and
working in the Boston area. Michael, our son, graduated from SUNY
Maritime College in New York and he is currently overseas. Our
youngest daughter, Megan, will be attending Loyola College in
Maryland in the fall. Currently I am working in Croton-on-Hudson and
I am a co-director of our parish's Respect Life Society and the
Hudson Valley Coalition for Life.