St Maria Goretti

                                                                                    St. MARIA GORETTI

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                                                                  St. MARIA GORETTI: FEAST DAY 6 JULY

St. Maria Goretti is one of the youngest saints of the Church and was killed aged just 11 in 1902. She was born in Ancona, Italy in 1890, the third of seven children. Poverty forced the family to move twice between 1896 and 1899 and they eventually settled in Nettuno in Lazio, where they shared a building with Giovanni Serenelli and his son, Alessandro.

On 5 July 1902 Maria was sitting outside the house sewing one of Alessandro’s shirts. Knowing that she would be alone, he made sexual advances towards her, threatening her with knife. It became clear to Maria that he was going to rape her, yet she resisted him and would not submit, saying that what he wanted to do was a mortal sin and that he would go to Hell if went through with the deed. Alessandro became incensed and stabbed Maria 11 times. When she tried to run he stabbed her three more times. She died in the hospital on 6 July. Before her death Maria forgave Alessandro for what he had done to her.

Alessandro was captured soon after the attack and served 30 years in prison for Maria’s murder. Upon his release he went to visit Maria’s mother, Assunta, who was still alive, to plead her forgiveness for her daughter’s murder. She forgave him, saying that if her daughter could forgive Alessandro on her deathbed so then could she. He attended Maria’s canonisation in 1950 and died peacefully in 1970 aged 87.

Pope Pius XII beatified Maria Goretti in 1947 and three years later canonised her as Saint. Assunta Goretti attended her daughter’s canonisation, the first mother to ever attend  a canonisation ceremony for her child. St. Maria Goretti is the patron saint of chastity. 

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