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St. Maria Goretti

Feast Days: 
July 6
Time Period: 
1890-1902
Place: 
Italy
Patronage: 
Modern Youth
Rape Victims
Abused Children
Summary: 

Maria Goretti, a daughter of sharecroppers, matured
quickly in grace and holiness. She was modest,
cheerful and obedient. It is said that Maria seemed
to be advancing “in wisdom, and age and grace
before God and men.” A neighbor, Alessandro
Serenelli, propositioned Maria on several occasions
and harassed her. On July 5, 1902 he took matters
into his own hands when Maria rebuffed his sexual
advances shouting, “No! It is a sin! God does not
want it!” Alessandro lunged at Maria, and stabbed
her 14 times. She died on July 6 after forgiving
Alessandro. Maria died a martyr before her twelfth
birthday. She is one of the youngest canonized
saints. In 1950 her Mother and Alessandro attended
her canonization. Maria led a very ordinary life. But
in spite of her simplicity, her great faith and love for
God made her truly extraordinary.

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