St. Maria Goretti

Feast Days: July 6
Time Period: 1890-1902
Place: Italy
Patronage: Modern Youth, Rape Victims, Abused Children

Maria Goretti, a daughter of sharecroppers, matured quickly in grace and holiness. She was modest, cheerful and obedient. It is said that Maria seemed to be advancing “in wisdom, and age and grace before God and men.” A neighbor, Alessandro Serenelli, propositioned Maria on several occasions and harassed her. On July 5, 1902 he took matters into his own hands when Maria rebuffed his sexual advances shouting, “No! It is a sin! God does not want it!” Alessandro lunged at Maria, and stabbed her 14 times. She died on July 6 after forgiving Alessandro. Maria died a martyr before her twelfth birthday. She is one of the youngest canonized saints. In 1950 her Mother and Alessandro attended her canonization. Maria led a very ordinary life. But in spite of her simplicity, her great faith and love for God made her truly extraordinary.

If my daughter can forgive him, who am I to withhold forgiveness? Maria's mother