"So holy was her everyday life": The saintly life of St. Maria Goretti

Today Holy Mother Church celebrates the feast day of St. Maria Goretti, a martyr who died at 12.

Her story is a simple one. Alessandro, a young man, came to Maria one day and tried to force himself on her. She refused, and told him it was a sin and that such sin is mortal. Angered by this, he pulled out a dagger and stabber her. She died shortly after the attack.

Alessandro was imprisoned, and spent quite some time with no remorse. Until one night, when Maria appeared to him in a dream. It changed his life: he began to pray, and this made him recognize the evils he had committed.

Three things I particularly like about this saint’s story:

  • It is said she struggled in catechism; education in the faith did not come easily for her. But to look at her story is to see a woman whose faith was rock solid.
  • Alessandro, her murdered, was truly converted because of her! I bet she would tell you that this mere fact made her death worthwhile. Alessandro attended the canonization of Maria, who became a saint in 1950. It is reported that he was in tears, on his knees, in joy and sorrow. I think, but do not know for certain, that this is the very man in the photo at the top of this post–a photo from her canonization.
  • Cardinal Salotti said of her: “Even if she had not been a martyr, she would still have been a saint, so holy was her everyday life.”

A prayer:

Oh Saint Maria Goretti who, strengthened by God’s grace, did not hesitate even at the age of twelve to shed your blood and sacrifice life itself to defend your virginal purity, look graciously on the unhappy human race which has strayed far from the path of eternal salvation. Teach us all, and especially youth,with what courage and promptitude we should flee for the love of Jesus anything that could offend Him or stain our souls with sin. Obtain for us from our Lord victory in temptation, comfort in the sorrows of life, and the grace which we earnestly beg of thee (here insert intention), and may we one day enjoy with thee the imperishable glory of Heaven. Amen.

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