Maria Goretti was born into a very poor family in Italy. Her father died when she was nine and as her mother took the role of working in the field, Maria looked after her three younger siblings. The Family tended the fields of a count together with the Serenelli family who treated them unfairly. Maria was very beautiful and attracted the attention of 20 year-old Alessandro Serenelli who started ordering her around and making advances at her. On 5 July, Alessandro was so angry that Maria had rebuffed him explaining that it would be a sin, that he stabbed her 14 times. He ran away and left Maria to bleed. Maria survived 20 hours and said that she forgave Alessandro as she loved Jesus so much. Alessandro was convicted of the attempted murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison. During his eleventh year as a prisoner, he had a vision. He saw Maria come towards him giving him lilies. When he took them, each lily transformed into a white flame. Then she disappeared. On his release after serving 28 years, he sought forgiveness from Maria’s mother and then found a job as a gardener in a Capuchin monastery where he worked for the rest of his life. He helped bring about her beatification. In 1950 Maria was canonised in the presence of 250 thousand people. Her mother is the first mother to see their child canonised and Maria is the youngest saint ever canonised.
As we reflect on St Maria Goretti’s life,
may we find the strength to forgive people
for the wrongs that they have done
just as St Maria managed to do.
We also pray for all those who are abused in any way,
so that their burden can be alleviated by those around them.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord Amen
St Maria Goretti. Pray for us.
Image of St Maria Goretti: Sharon Mollerus: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:St._Maria_Goretti_(1371804837).jpg