Santa Maria Goretti, virgin and martyr

Born in Corinaldo (Ancona) on October 16, 1890, daughter of the peasants Luigi Goretti and Assunta Carlini, Maria was the second of six children. The Goretti family soon moved to the Agro Pontino. In 1900 her father died, her mother had to start work and left Maria to take care of the house and her brothers. At age of eleven years, Maria made her First Communion and began to contemplate on the idea and purpose of dying before committing sins. Alessandro Serenelli, a young man of 18, fell in love with Maria. On July 5, 1902, he attacked her and attempted to rape her. At her resistance, Alessandro Serenelli killed her by stabbing fragile body. Maria died after an operation the next day, and before expiring, she forgave Serenelli. The killer was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He repented and converted only after having dreamed of Mary telling him he would reach Heaven. When he was released from prison after 27 years, he asked pardon of Mary's mother. Maria Goretti was proclaimed a Saint in 1950 by Pius XII.

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