SummaryInspired by Seton’s Reading/Thinking Skills workbook, a group of homeschoolers put together a movie about St. Zita.
When a group of homeschoolers gets together to be creative, something wonderful can happen! Something wonderful did happen when our Little Women group, comprised mostly of homeschoolers, decided to produce a film on the life of Saint Zita of Lucca.
Several girls helped write the screenplay, and family members and friends soon got involved. We made location scouting trips, and many people in our homeschool community helped us gather props and costumes. Inspiration for some scenes came from stories about Saint Zita in the Seton Press Reading 4 for Young Catholics Thinking Skills workbook.
With the script finished, casting done, and the filming schedule set, we suddenly found ourselves delayed when COVID-19 hit our area with quarantines and restrictions. That summer, we did as much outdoor work as possible, but COVID continued to delay us through much of the following fall, winter, and spring. Finally, at the end of July 2021, we finished filming before some cast members went off to college!
Our locations were worth waiting for–many people have remarked on how their authenticity contributes to the film. One fabulous place was the Rosen House, an Italian Mediterranean-style house listed on the National Register of Historic Places!
Part of Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah, NY, this unique home has many exciting features, including a bed that belonged to Pope Urban VIII! Another amazing location was Saint Clements Castle in Portland, CT. This property has a unique history. The estate, styled after a 15th-century Norman farmhouse, was built in the late 1890s.
The castle had fallen into disrepair but was given new life by a Roman Catholic priest who founded a non-profit. Father bought the castle to raise money for charities, as a location for weddings and other events.
Amazing Cast & Crew
Seton students had significant roles among a cast and crew of 49 young people. Seton student Maria Suess was one of the Little Women who contributed to the script and followed through with many other jobs, such as helping sew costumes and operating sound and lighting equipment on set.
Another Seton student, Clare Gugliotto, played the central role of Zita. Seton high school student Matthew Suess was the cameraman, and production engineer, and he did much of the film editing. Pearl and Benny Goodman, also Seton students, were memorable characters in the marketplace scenes, and other Seton students played supporting roles as well.
Homeschooling contributed to the success of this project. A Seton homeschool education fosters many qualities that are valuable assets, such as memorization skills, a love of the faith and the saints, and strong writing skills.
Homeschooling also allowed for the flexible schedule we needed and prepared us with lessons in perseverance for a lengthy, complex project!
It all paid off on premiere night in November 2021, when over 150 people came out to see our film. You can enjoy it too! For a fun family movie night, find Zita at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGKdo-LVUp0.
Zita, a peasant girl of Lucca, Italy, becomes the domestic servant of the Fatinelli family. Unwavering faith and trust in God are the sources of her confidence, allowing her to be undaunted in the face of insults and abuse from those who find her different. Hardworking, resolute, and sincerely charitable, Zita eventually wins the respect of those around her, bringing them a better way of living.
Saint Zita’s feast day is April 27th. On this day, we will think of Zita, whom we have come to know, love, and be inspired by through making this film.