Hello, Jessica here! A week ago my husband and I attended the play "Mercy Unrelenting" at a local theater. The play is based on the events leading up to the murder of the Italian teenager, Maria Goretti. I knew the basics of her story going into the play and knew that this was going to be an intense show. This show was fantastic! I went through the full range of emotions from convicted and hopeless to joyful and hopeful at the end.
This play bounces between three time periods; 1902, when Alessandro Serenelli and Maria met and the events leading up to and including her death, Alessandro's time in prison, and many years later in the monastery where he completed his days. The beginning of the play sets up some of Alessandro's history and attempts to explain how he reached the point where he decided to murder Maria. He had a rough childhood and made some bad decisions through his teenage years which led to a lifestyle in which he didn't see other human beings as worthy of respect. This troubled me as I have really struggled lately with being the mother I want to be. I struggle a lot with anger and impatience and worry that I will somehow "screw up" up my kids. This also made me think about the book "Rediscover Catholicism" which I have been reading recently. One of the things the author, Matthew Kelly, talks about is the importance of habits in establishing the person. Habits create the person, which is why they are so hard to change.
As the play went on, Maria died, and then she appeared to Alessandro in prison. This was the turning point for Alessandro and he began to live a constructive life. He completed his sentence and, upon release, he went to live in a Capuchin monastery. He returned to Maria's mother and asked for her forgiveness. She forgave him and they maintained contact. His conversion was so dramatic, it made me realize that I, too, can change what I am doing in my life.
The final scene of the play was Maria raising Alessandro from his deathbed and escorting him to heaven. It was such a beautiful and hopeful scene! In a world where few believe that people can change so dramatically, it was wonderful to reflect on how someone who had committed such a horrible crime could have such a complete conversion and eventually go to heaven.
This story gave me so much hope and encouraged me to work hard and do all that I can to make the changes I feel are necessary to be the best mom I can be. I hope that you too will take some time to think about any areas of your life that may need some changes and do what it takes to become the best person you can be. Also, if you are in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area this weekend, go check out the play, you won't regret it!