Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): July 6
Today the Church remembers St. Maria Goretti, who died a martyr at the young age of 12 in 1902. For those of you reading that haven't heard of her, her life is worth reading.
St. Maria Goretti was born on October 16, 1890, in Corinaldo, Italy to Luigi Goretti and Assunta Carlini. She was baptized the next morning. She was raised as a pious farm girl, one of six children, who grew in holiness. In 1896 the family moved to Ferriere di Conca and shortly afterwards, St. Maria's father died of malaria. The Goretti family was forced to move onto the Serenelli farm to survive.
On July 5, 1902, St. Maria Goretti, at the age of 12, was attack by Alessandro Serenelli, a farm hand, who wanted to rape her. He had repeatedly suggested impure things to her previously, but this time hatred filled him. St. Maria Goretti refused sexual relations first and foremost because it was a sin outside of marriage. She desperately fought to stop Alessandro, a 20 year old, from abusing her. She kept screaming, "No! It is a sin! God does not want it!"
Alessandro Serenelli began to choke St. Maria Goretti and then stabbed her 14 times. The young girl survived in a hospital for two weeks, where she forgave her attacker and asked God to forgive him. She died holding a crucifix and a medal of Our Lady.
Years later, while in prison, Alessandro had a vision of Maria. He saw a young girl, dressed in white, gathered lilies in a garden. She then smiled, came near him, and encouraged him to accept an armful of the lilies. As Alessandro took them, each lily transformed into a still white flame; St. Maria then disappeared. This vision led to Alessandro's conversion. He later testified at her cause for beatification. At the end of his life, Alessandro wrote, "I ask pardon of the world of the outrage done to the martyr Maria Goretti and to purity. I exhort everyone to keep away from immoral shows, from dangers, from occasions that can lead to sin."
She was beatified on April 27, 1947, and canonized on June 24, 1950, by Pope Pius XII. Her mother was present at her canonization - the only time a mother has ever been present for her child's canonization. She was the youngest officially recognized saint of the Catholic Church. She is a model of purity - a model all of us should try to imitate. St. Maria refused to break the Commandments and for that she was rewarded with eternal life. Remember Our Lord's words, that we are to adhere to every Commandment of the Church, even the least important (Mt. 5:18-19). St. Maria is a model of all of us, especially the youth, to follow
Official Prayer to St. Maria Goretti
Oh Saint Maria Goretti who, strengthened by God's grace, did not hesitate even at the age of twelve to shed your blood and sacrifice life itself to defend your virginal purity, look graciously on the unhappy human race which has strayed far from the path of eternal salvation. Teach us all, and especially youth,with what courage and promptitude we should flee for the love of Jesus anything that could offend Him or stain our souls with sin. Obtain for us from our Lord victory in temptation, comfort in the sorrows of life, and the grace which we earnestly beg of thee (here insert intention), and may we one day enjoy with thee the imperishable glory of Heaven. Amen.
Photos of her Canonization:
Thursday, July 6, 2006
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