Friday, July 6, 2012

St Maria Goretti

St Maria Goretti (1890-1902)

A young girl with little schooling became one of the most popular saints in Italy by the middle of the 20th century. Born in 1890, Maria Goretti was one day by her house and a neighbor attempted to rape her, and even though she resisted him, she was killed by 14 stab wounds. She died 24 hours after being stabbed, also giving her enough time receive Holy Communion. Her killer Alessandro Serenelli was jailed, sentenced to 30 years in prison, and was unrepentant for a while. Eventually he changed his life, even becoming a Franciscan Capuchin lay brother after being released 27 years later. 
Alessandro Serenelli towards the end of his life

One of the first things he did after his release was visit Maria’s mother and apologize to her. Maria was beatified in 1947, and on that occasion, her mother and siblings appeared with Pope Pius XII at the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. Alessandro was even present at Maria Goretti’s canonization on June 24, 1950. Over half a million people had gathered in the Vatican piazza for her canonization. St Maria Goretti is the patron of youth, chastity and purity.

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