Saint of the Week: St. Maria Goretti
FEAST DAY: July 6
PATRON SAINT of youth, young women, purity, and victims of rape
St. Maria Goretti proves that there is no such thing as “too young” when it comes to living out our faith and becoming the person God calls us to be. Not enough can be said about her incredible example of faith, purity, and mercy in her short but inspiring life. Maria was born to Luigi and Assunta Goretti, and was followed by 5 younger siblings. In 1900, their family moved in with Giovanni Serenelli and his son, Alessandro. Soon after the move, Maria’s father died, leaving her mother as the sole breadwinner of the family. Without hesitation, Maria cheerfully stepped up and supported her mother by taking on the household duties at the young age of 10.
At 12 years old, Maria was already a beautiful young woman. Alessandro, 19, started noticing her beauty and made inappropriate advances towards her, but Maria resisted because she knew they would be committing a sin. One day, out of desperation, Alessandro attempted to rape Maria, but she still resisted and fought back with all her strength. In anger, he stabbed her 14 times. She was brought to the hospital, and endured the pain from her wounds for 24 hours before finally passing away. Her final words were that of forgiveness and mercy — she forgave Alessandro, and prayed for God to have mercy on him. Alessandro was imprisoned soon after. Approximately 8 years after Maria’s death, Alessandro dreamt that Maria handed him a bouquet of lilies as a sign that she has forgiven him. This inspired Alessandro’s reformation and conversion to the faith. In 1950, Maria was canonized by Pope Pius XII — an event that Assunta was present for, making it the first time in history that a mother was present when her child was declared a saint.