By saint's mother
WITH -the strain of her daughter Maria's canonisation ceremonies over, "Mamma" Assunta Goretti had some motherly—and even playful— advice to give when Er. Joseph Sullivan went to interview her for the N.C.W.C. News Service on how to train a saint, In a plain black dress, with a peasant's scarf hanging loosely about her shoulders, she was sitting talking to visiting womenfolk when Fr. Sullivan called at the Vatican's guest house, the Hospice of St. Martha.
"I introduced myself," he writes, "and explained that I would like a word of advice for all the Catholic mothers of thc world.
She misunderstood. Her reply, accompanied by a twinkle in her eye and a vigorous gesture, was that all careless mothers, and not their children, should be spanked. " She enjoyed the mistake as much as the rest of us when she understood what I had really asked. Answering my original request, she said:
"-tell them that from the beginning I put little Maria on the direct path and kept her there. " 'It was simply a matter of teaching her to love God and the Blessed Mother, what was right and what was wrong, and keeping her away from bad companions:
''Was there nothing special about what you did?' I asked. 'No particular secret or method which you followed?'
"'Nothing at all,' she replied, 'It was just the straight and direct way of loving God and doing good.' "Then with a little laugh Signora Cioretti returned to her first remark. 'But it is still true that all careless mothers in the world should he spanked,' she said."
When Fr. Sullivan asked: " What is it like to be the mother of a saint?" Mamma Assunta said:
"It is utterly unbelievable. I know Maria was a thoroughly good child and that after death she went to Heaven. But who would ever dream a thing like this'?"