Monday, October 25, 2021

Saint Maria Goretti – Feast Day – July 6

Saint Maria Goretti is also known as Maria Teresa Goretti. She was born on October 16 1890 in Corinaldo, Province of Ancona, Marche, Italy and died as a martyr on July 6 1902 at the young age of 11 in Nettuno, Province of Rome, Lazio, Italy. Her feast day is celebrated on July 6 every year in the Catholic Church.

Matthew the Apostle Biography

Saint Maria Goretti

Date of Birth October 16 1890
Place of Birth Corinaldo, Province of Ancona, Marche, Italy
Profession Young Poor girl doing household chores at home
Place of Work At home in Nettuno, Province of Rome, Lazio, Kingdom of Italy
Date of Death July 6 1902
Place of Death Nettuno, Province of Rome, Lazio, Kingdom of Italy
Feast Day July 6
Beatification By Pope Pius XII on April 27 1947 in Rome
Canonization By Pope Pius XII on June 24 1950 in Rome
Patron Saint of
  • Modern Youth
  • Teenage girls
  • Rape victims
  • Purity
  • Poverty
  • Girls
  • Forgiveness
  • Chastity
  • Crime victims,
  • Children of Mary

Saint Maria Goretti Life History

St Maria Goretti was the third born out of seven children of peasant farmers Luigi Goretti and Assunta Carlini. Her siblings were Alessandro (Sandrino), Antonio (who died in infancy), Angelo, Maria, Ersilia, Mariano (Marino), and Teresa.

When Maria Goretti was around five years, they gave up their land due to piling debts and poverty and moved away to work for other farmers. They moved to several places in search of a fortune. First in 1896 they went to Colle Gianturco, near Paliano and Frosinone and then in 1899 they went to Le Ferriere and Nettuno in Lazio. In Nettuno, they lived in a building called “La Cascina Antica,” where they shared with the family of Giovanni Serenelli and his son, Alessandro.

When she was nine years old, Maria Goretti’s father died of malaria. Thereafter, her mother and other siblings would work in the fields, while she stayed at home cooking, sewing, keeping the house clean, and watching Teresa, her young sister.

Murder by Alessandro Serenelli

One fateful day on July 5 1902, Maria Goretti was watching her sister Teresa and sewing a shirt while sitting on the outside steps of her home. The housemate’s son, Alessandro, knowing very well she would be alone, came back home early from the farm, pulled her to her bedroom, and made sexual advances towards her. It was not the first attempt, he had made two others and got rejected.

Maria would hear none of it, she vehemently protested and rejected Alessandro’s advances and told him that what he wanted to do was a mortal sin and warned him that he would go to Hell. When he insisted on raping her, she kept screaming, “No! It is a sin! God does not want it!”

Alessandro began to choke her, but she told him she would rather die than give in to his demands. Therefore, Alessandro got angry, brandished a 10-inch awl, and stabbed her eleven times. Maria Goretti tried to escape but upon reaching the door he stabbed her three more times and ran away.

During this incident, Teresa was asleep. She was awakened by the noise of her wailing sister Maria. She started crying loudly until her mother Assunta and Giovanni came to check out what the issue was. They found Maria Goretti bleeding on the floor and rushed her to the hospital in Nettuno.

She endured the pain during the surgery because it was without anesthesia. During the surgery, the physician told her, “Maria, think of me in Paradise.” She replied. “I will gladly think of you.” She also forgave Alessandro saying that she wished that he would also go to Heaven with her and thereafter died of the injuries.

One afternoon, Alessandro, the Serenellis’ son, made sexual advances to her. When she refused to submit to him, he stabbed her fourteen times.

Alessandro Serenelli was arrested immediately after stabbing Maria and running away. In court, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, but the sentence was reduced to 30 years because;

  • He was a minor at that time
  • He was not as mature as he was expected to be for a 20-year-old
  • He grew up in a poor family with an alcoholic father and several of his kins suffering from madness.

Alessandro remained unrepentant and said the reason he stabbed her was Maria Goretti’s refusal to give in and her desperate crying. One time, Monsignor Giovanni Blandini, the local bishop, visited him in prison. He told him about a dream in which Maria Goretti appeared to him in a white dress, she gathered lilies in a garden and with a smile gave him the flowers. After he took each lily, it turned into a white flame.

After Alessandro Serenelli was released he visited Assunta, Maria’s mother, and begged for forgiveness. She outrightly forgave him and received the Holy Communion together side by side when they attended Mass together the following day.

Alessandro joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin and became a lay brother. He lived in the monastery and worked as a gardener and receptionist until he died at age 87 in 1970. In 1950, he attended her canonization, and thereafter, it is reported that he would pray to her every day referring to her as “my little saint.”

Beatification

Maria Goretti was beatified on April 27 1947 by Pope Pius XII in Rome Italy. Her mother Assunta attended the ceremony. Pope Pius XII said to her, “Blessed mother, happy mother, mother of a Blessed!”

Canonization

With her mother Assunta, her siblings, and Alessandro in attendance, Maria Goretti was canonized as a saint on June 24 1950 by Pope Pius XII in Rome three years after her beatification. She became one of the youngest saints to be canonized. Pope Pius XII referred to her as “Saint Agnes of the 20th century.”

There was a very large number of Christians present, around 500,000 people, and therefore, the canonization ceremony was held outside Saint Peter’s Basilica, in the St. Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro).

Relics

The remains of St Maria Goretti are interred in the crypt of the Passionist Basilica of Nostra Signora delle Grazie e Santa Maria Goretti in Nettuno, Rome.

St Maria Goretti’s Feast day

Maria’s feast day is celebrated on July 6 every year in the Catholic Church

Representation

Saint Maria Goretti is often represented in an art form with

  • Girl with wavy hair dressed in white clothes
  • Girl with wavy hair dressed in farm clothes
  • Girl holding lilies

St Maria Goretti is the Patron Saint of

Maria is the patron saint of

  • Modern Youth
  • Teenage girls
  • Rape victims
  • Purity
  • Poverty
  • Girls
  • Forgiveness
  • Chastity
  • Crime victims,
  • Children of Mary

Today’s Catholic Quote:

No! sex It is a sin! God does not want it!

Saint Maria Goretti
Saint Maria Goretti

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