Saint Maria Goretti
St. Maria Goretti was born “Maria Teresa Goretti” on 16 October 1890 in Corinaldo, in the Province of Ancona, then in the Kingdom of Italy. She was the third out of six children. By the time she was six, her family had become so poor that they were forced to give up their farm, move, and work for other farmers. Soon, Maria’s father Luigi became very sick, and died when Maria was just nine. While her brother, mother and sisters worked in the fields, Maria would cook, sew, and keep the house clean. It was a hard life, but the family was very close. They shared a deep love for God and the faith. She and her family moved to Le Ferriere, near modern Latina and Nettuno in Lazio, where they lived in a building, “La Cascina Antica”, they shared with another family, the Serenellis.
In 1902 at age twelve, Maria was attacked by 19-year-old farm-hand Alessandro Serenelli. He tried to rape the girl who fought, yelled that it was a sin, and that he would go to hell. He tried to choke her into submission, then stabbed her fourteen times. She survived in hospital for two days, forgave her attacker, asked God’s forgiveness of him, and died holding a crucifix and medal of Our Lady.
Pius XII canonized Maria Goretti a saint on June 24, 1950. Her feast day is celebrated on July 6.