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  An Inspired Portrait of St. Maria Goretti - by Jeanne Hollington  
  The following letter was sent on April 9, 2002 by Jeanne Hollington, the painter of the inspired image of St. Maria Goretti shown below. In her letter, Jeanne details the story behind her work.

Brother Goretti Zilli, It was nice to speak to you by phone yesterday.

I pray for the success of your efforts
through the [Friends] of St. Maria Goretti
to help the young people of today make
the right choices in their lives. St. Maria’s
remarkable bravery and faithfulness to
God’s Will inspires us all to remember that
our sexuality is a sacred gift from God.

I was asked by my niece, Elizabeth, to be her sponsor at her Confirmation. I felt honored. She is very special to me and my family because she has helped us by sharing a few weeks with us each summer. She helps out with the care of our children—Brian (8) and Kevin (9) who has physical and mental challenges. She has a unique bond with Kevin.

I wanted to attend Elizabeth's Confirmation in person, but found it difficult to travel to Florida (from Minnesota) because my son is having a rough time. I wanted to give Elizabeth a gift that would let her know how dear she is to us and inspire her spiritual development.

Elizabeth had to complete a research paper on a saint as part of her preparation for Confirmation. When she said that she had chosen St. Maria Goretti, I looked the saint up on the internet and found your [Friends] of Maria Goretti webpage [at]. After reading Saint Maria’s story, I knew that I wanted to paint her image. Not finding a photo to copy from, I decided to just imagine what she might have looked like. Her image came together very quickly. Although it is not a historical likeness, I hope my image represents the confidence and holiness of St. Maria Goretti.

An interesting thing occurred while I was painting. I took the unfinished work to my sons’ school on a day that I had volunteered to help out with an art project. My son, Kevin, requires an aide to be with him throughout his day in third grade. When I showed the work to Mrs. Little (Kevin’s a.m. para.), she looked surprised and asked where I had found a likeness of the saint to copy. I told her that I hadn’t found one, but that this was a composite of people I’ve known and how I’d imagine a beautiful 11 year old Italian girl might look.

Later that same day, Mrs. Little’s daughter showed up at the school “out of the blue.” She gave her Mom flowers and asked to see Kevin. I was so happy to give this image to Mrs. Little and her daughter because they believe in the power of prayer. Then I decided to make a gift of this image to the Society of Maria Goretti with the hope that others may draw strength and be inspired to prayer.

Enclosed you will find a print and computer disc of my painting of St. Maria Goretti. I release the image for use by the Society of Maria Goretti and Brother Goretti Zilli in any form to promote the message of St. Maria Goretti.

God bless you in all your good work. Sincerely,

Jeanne Hollington



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