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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.

St. Maria Goretti's feast day is July 6th.


 

Click here for the Official Prayer to St. Maria Goretti

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for March 3, 2021

Those who educate children well are more to be honored than...

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March 3

 

Those who educate children well
are more to be honored
than they who produce them;
for the latter only gave them life,
the former give them the art of living well.


Aristotle

  
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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Katharine Drexel

Catherine made her social debut in 1879 as a wealthy, popula...

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St. Katharine Drexel

Katharine Drexel was born Catherine Marie Drexel on November 26, 1858, the second daughter of Francis Anthony Drexel, a wealthy banker, and his wife, Hannah, who died very shortly after Catherine’s birth. Francis married again two years later, and he and his new wife, Emma, had another daughter when Catherine was five.

The three Drexel children were well educated and enjoyed many social and material privileges. They were privately educated at home by their tutors and would often tour parts of the United States and Europe with their parents. They were brought up to the practice of the virtues and assisted their parents every week when they opened their home to the care and aid of the poor.

Catherine made her social debut in 1879 as a wealthy, popular young heiress. However, her life took a profound turn when, after nursing Emma Drexel for three years during a terminal illness, she realized that her family’s fortune could not buy freedom from pain or death. She became a very active and staunch advocate for the black and native Americans after witnessing their plight during a family trip to the Western United States in 1884.

At the prompting of Pope Leo XIII, the young heiress became a missionary religious in 1891 and established the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament to work among the American Indians and Afro-Americans. Her decision to enter religion rocked Philadelphia social circles, one newspaper carrying the banner headline: “Miss Drexel Enters a Catholic Convent—Gives Up Seven Million."

Over the course of the next sixty years, Mother Katharine Drexel, as she became known, devoted herself and her fortune to propagating her missionary work. By the time of her death in 1955, at the age of ninety-six, she had established a system of Catholic schools for blacks in thirteen states, twenty-three rural schools, and fifty missions for Indians in sixteen states. Her most famous establishment was Xavier University for Blacks in New Orleans in 1915 – it was the first of its kind in the United States and faced great opposition from radical racists.

Mother Katharine Drexel was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 1, 2000, the second native-born American ever to be declared a saint after St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in 1774.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Handing him a Rosary she asked him to go to Mass for a week....

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Payback

At Anna’s mother’s funeral a man came up to her and after offering his deepest sympathy, took the grieving daughter aside, “I must tell you a story about your good mother and something she did for me…”

He proceeded to recount how, many years before he was involved in an extra-marital affair. One day, when dining with the woman in a restaurant, Anna’s parents had come in and pretended they had not seen them.

But next day he picked up the phone to hear Anna’s mother inviting him over for a piece of pie.

“You know how good your mother’s pie was…But there was also a tone of urgent authority in her voice, so I went.”

After enjoying his piece of pie, Anna’s mother revealed that she had, indeed, seen him and his girl-friend the night before.

“Though I vehemently denied it, your mother would not relent...She proceeded to remind me of the time when I was out of work and she had cooked for my family day in and day out.”

“Now, I want payback,” she demanded.

“I reached for my wallet, but she said,”

“Not that way.”

Handing him a Rosary she asked him to go to Mass for a week. She instructed him to say the Hail Mary and Our Father assigned to each bead while thinking of something good about his wife, his children and their family life.

“If at the end of this week you still think this woman is better for you, just mail me back the Rosary, and I will never say a word about this again.”

At this point, the man telling the story reached into his pocket. Pulling out a worn Rosary, he said,

“This is the Rosary your mother gave me all those years ago. My wife and I have said it together every day since.”

 Based on a story from 101 Inspirational Stories of the Rosary by Sister Patricia Proctor, OSC

Handing him a Rosary she asked him to go to Mass for a week. She instructed him to say the Hail Mary

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