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DAILY QUOTE for July 6, 2015

Devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament and devotion to th...

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July 6

 

Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament
and devotion to the Blessed Mother are not simply the best way,
but in fact the only way to keep purity.
Chastity is not possible without the Eucharist.

St. Philip Neri


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SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Maria Goretti

As the wounded girl tried to reach the door, he stopped h...

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St. Maria Goretti

In 1950 in Saint Peter’s Square in Rome, a crowd of 250,000 people gathered for the canonization of a twelve-year-old girl, Maria Goretti, who died resisting an attempted rape.

Maria was the third of six children of an Italian farmer and his wife, Luigi and Assunta Goretti, good and devout people who, forced to sell their farm, took up tenant farming, sharing a house with a Giovanni Serenelli and his son, Alessandro.

Luigi Goretti died of malaria when Maria was nine, and Assunta, her brothers and sister worked the fields, while Maria kept house and watched her baby sister. Alessandro began to stalk Maria, who although afraid, said nothing as he had threatened to kill her.

One day as Maria sewed at the top of the stairs leading to their house, the baby nearby, nineteen-year-old Alessandro dragged her inside and threatened her with a knife if she did not submit to him. She struggled with all her might, all the while shouting, “No, God does not wish it, it is a sin! You would go to hell for it.” Alessandro tried to choke her but she gasped that she would rather die than submit. Infuriated, he pulled out a sharp dagger and stabbed her eleven times. As the wounded girl tried to reach the door, he stopped her by stabbing her another three times.

At the cries of the frightened baby, Assunta and Giovanni found Maria and rushed her to the hospital. She died twenty-four hours later, clutching a crucifix to her chest, invoking the Blessed Virgin and forgiving her murderer.

Alessandro, at first sentenced to life imprisonment, was given thirty years for being a minor at the time of the crime. It is said that Assunta also interceded for him.

He remained surly and uncommunicative for three years until a local bishop, Giovanni Blandini, visited him, to whom he revealed a vision of Maria handing him lilies. After this vision, he made a full conversion and was released on good behavior after twenty-seven years. He also declared that, indeed, Maria died a virgin. His first action was to seek Assunta and beg her forgiveness, which she readily granted saying: “If Maria forgave you, I can do no less,” and they attended Mass together the next day.

Maria’s mother, her three brothers and a sister attended her beatification in 1947. Three years later, Assunta was also present at her canonization, and so was Alessandro. Pope Pius XII called Maria, “the St. Agnes of the twentieth century.”

Alessandro who joined the Order of Friars Minor as a lay brother, died peacefully in 1970.

WEEKLY STORY

Walk to Conversion

John shared with me the story of his conversion from Prot...

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Walk to Conversion

In September, I brought the statue of Our Lady of Fatima to the home of Mr. John Black and his family in Kings City, California.  John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protestantism: about thirteen years ago he was visiting one of the 21 Spanish missions in California (though these are holy sites, they also serve as tourist attractions.)

“Who is this Junipero Serra anyways?”  he asked, as the tour guide shared the history of the mission. “Well,” the guide responded, “you are standing on his grave!”  Surprised, John looked down and read inscription on the stone. Sure enough, Blessed Father Junipero Serra was buried right there. “I became electrified,” John told me, “I had to learn more about this man and about the missions.”  The more he studied Blessed Serra, the founder of the first nine missions, the more impressed he became, and he decided to travel on-foot to all 21 missions. 

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Mission San Juan Capristrano, CA

With the blessing of his wife, now left at home with their two infant sons, John left for his solo expedition, taking with him a single backpack, the bible and little money.  He told me that every mission he visited he felt the presence of someone receiving him, even if the mission was empty. He felt this ambiance in the missions so serene and uplifting, and began to realize it was the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament that made him feel so at home.

At one point, John collapsed from exhaustion near a mission run by Franciscans, who kindly hosted him for the night. Before he left the next day, one of the friars gave him a first-class relic of Blessed Serra. Since he was Protestant, John did not know what a relic was, but not wanting to appear rude, he accepted it. Not long after he left the Franciscans, John became lost in the wilderness in the middle of the night. Through his exhaustion and fear he heard a voice say, “Let’s help John.” He had the distinct feeling that Blessed Serra was guiding him, and gathered the strength and courage to continue. About six hours later, he stumbled upon the next mission. “It was kind of a miracle,” he said, “I was really lost!”

During his journey, John slowly came to a realization. “I know what you want from me, God,” he thought to himself one day, “you what me to became a Catholic. That is what this is all about!” However, he still had many questions about aspects of Catholicism that have been rejected by his Protestant faith – mainly about the Blessed Mother. Yet, from that point on he received answers to all of his questions, especially his reservations about devotion to Mary: he believed that it was once again Blessed Serra answering him.

With the help of Blessed Serra, one problem after another was resolved in the solitude of his travels. By the time John reached the final mission, he wholly decided to become a Catholic. “I realized that by having devotion to Mary, you love Our Lord even more,” he told me.

John returned home, filled with zeal and enthusiasm for his newfound faith. He shared his astonishing experiences with his wife, and she too converted. “I feel at home in the Catholic church,” John said, “and I have never loved Our Lord Jesus Christ more than I do now.”

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by Joseph Ferrara

John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protestantism: about thirteen years ago he was visiting one of the 21 Spanish missions in California