Saint Maria Goretti is an Italian Catholic saint who is venerated for her virginity, martyrdom and forgiveness. She is best known for her defense of her purity against the advances of her neighbor Alessandro Serenelli, who fatally stabbed her in 1902, when she was just 11 years old. Maria Goretti was canonized in 1950 and is considered an example of purity and forgiveness.
Youth of Maria Goretti
Maria Goretti was born on October 16, 1890 in Corinaldo, in the Italian region of Marche. She was the third child of a poor peasant family. Her father died when she was young, leaving her mother, Assunta, to care for Maria and her siblings. The family then moved to Ferriere di Conca, where Maria began to help her mother work in the fields.
Conversion and martyrdom
At the age of 9, Maria attended a sermon on purity, which had a profound impact on her. She decided to dedicate her life to God and to staying pure. In 1902, when she was 11, Alessandro Serenelli, her 20-year-old neighbor, tried to rape her. Maria resisted, saying what he was trying to do was a sin. Alessandro then stabbed her several times before fleeing.
Maria was taken to hospital, but her injuries were too severe and she died the next day. Before dying, she forgave Alessandro and prayed for his repentance.
Alessandro was arrested and convicted for Maria's murder. During his trial, it was revealed that Maria forgave Alessandro before he died and prayed for him. This had a profound impact on Alessandro, who repented and began to live a life of penance in prison.
After 27 years in prison, Alessandro was released and went to Assunta, Maria's mother, to ask for forgiveness. Assunta forgave Alessandro and prayed for his soul. Alessandro then lived the rest of his life as a Capuchin friar, dedicating his life to prayer and service to others.
Canonization and veneration
The canonization process for Maria Goretti began shortly after her death in 1902. In 1947 she was beatified by Pope Pius XII, who hailed Maria as an example of Christian purity and courage. In 1950, Pius XII canonized Maria Goretti, proclaiming her holy and venerable for her virtue, her martyrdom and her faith.
The canonization of Maria Goretti had a profound impact on believers around the world. She became a revered figure for young people, especially young girls, who seek to remain chaste and live a life of virtue. She has also become a symbol of forgiveness and reconciliation, due to her ability to forgive her attacker even on the verge of death.
Veneration of Saint Maria Goretti
After her canonization, veneration of Maria Goretti began to spread throughout the world. Churches, schools, charities and families began to pay their respects and pray in his name.
The remains of Maria Goretti lie in a basilica dedicated to her in Nettuno, Italy. This church was built in 1939 to honor Maria Goretti and her example of virtue and martyrdom. Thousands of pilgrims come every year to pray before his remains and ask for his intercession. They come from all parts of the world to admire his virtue and seek his help in their lives.
Believers who pray before the remains of Maria Goretti often ask for her intercession for protection from sexual assault, healing from violence, reconciliation with enemies, and strength to live a life of virtue and faith. Maria Goretti has become a figure revered around the world for her purity, forgiveness and courageous faith, and her memory continues to inspire believers of all cultures and nations.
The relics of Saint Maria Goretti
The relics of Saint Maria Goretti are tangible testimony to the life of the martyred girl and her example of purity, courage and forgiveness. The relics are kept in the basilica dedicated to him in Nettuno, Italy, where they are venerated by thousands of pilgrims every year.
The story of the relics
When Maria Goretti was canonized in 1950, her body was exhumed from her tomb in Nettuno, where she had been buried after her death in 1902. The body was in a remarkable state of preservation, although it had been buried for nearly 50 years old.
Maria's body was placed in a glass and silver shrine and displayed in the basilica built in her honor. Thousands of pilgrims began to come to the basilica to pray before the remains of the martyred girl and ask for her intercession.
The relics of Saint Maria Goretti
The relics of Saint Maria Goretti include her intact body, which is displayed in a glass and silver shrine in the basilica dedicated to her at Nettuno. The relics also include Maria's personal items, such as her clothing and personal effects, which are kept in the basilica.
Pilgrims visiting the basilica can pray before the relics and ask for Maria's intercession. Believers believe that the relics of Maria Goretti have special power due to her holiness and martyrdom. Pilgrims can also buy souvenirs from the basilica, such as medals, books and icons, which are blessed by priests and believed to bring blessings and graces.
The importance of relics
The relics of Saint Maria Goretti have special significance for believers, especially young girls and victims of violence. Believers see in her an example of courage and virtue, which were strengthened by her forgiveness of her attacker even on the verge of death.
Maria Goretti's relics are a testimony to the importance of holiness and faith for believers around the world. They offer a tangible reminder of the story of the martyred maiden, as well as her example of purity and courage, which continue to inspire believers today.