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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 September 23, 2019

In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine wil...

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September 23

 

In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine will.
Adore and bless it,
especially in the things which are the hardest for you.

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Offering himself as a victim for the end of the war, Padre P...

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St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Francesco was born in the small Italian village of Pietrelcina on May 25, 1887. His parents, Grazio Forgione and Maria Giuseppa Di Nunzio, were peasant farmers, but they recognized their son was close to God. When he was only five years old, he solemnly consecrated himself to Jesus. It is said he often spoke with Our Lord, Our Lady and his guardian angel, who defended him against attacks by the devil. He joined the Capuchin Franciscans at the age of fifteen, and took the name Pio with his religious vows. After seven years of study he was ordained to the priesthood in 1910.

During the same month he was ordained, Padre Pio was praying in the chapel when Our Lord and His Blessed Mother appeared and gave him the Stigmata. However, the wounds soon faded and then disappeared. “I do want to suffer, even to die of suffering,” Padre Pio told Our Lady, “but all in secret." Soon after, he experienced the first of his spiritual ecstasies.

Pio was in the military for a short time, but was discharged due to poor health. Upon his return to the monastery, he became a spiritual director. He had five rules for spiritual growth: weekly confession, daily Communion, spiritual reading, meditation, and examination of conscience. He often advised, "Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry."

In July of 1918, Padre Pio received the visible Stigmata, the five wounds of Christ (hands, feet and side), after offering himself as a victim for the end of the war. By 1933, the holy priest was recognized by the Church and by 1934 had attracted thousands of pilgrims that attended his masses and frequented his confessional.

On September 23, 1968, Padre Pio said his final Mass, renewed his vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and died in his cell after suffering from grave physical decline. Before his death, Padre Pio orchestrated and oversaw the building of the “House for the Alleviation of Suffering,” a 350-bed medical and religious center.

He was canonized on June 16, 2002 by Pope John Paul II. An estimated 300,000 people attended the canonization ceremony.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs F...

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The Power of a Picture

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. “This is a picture of Her.” The woman gasped. “I know that picture! It inspired a conversion.” She then asked excitedly, “Do you have a minute to hear the story?” 

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As Mr. Ferraz listened, he learned that the woman, Maria Vegra, had a 22-year old son who had recently passed away after three weeks in the hospital due to a fatal injury received in a car accident. While in the hospital, a priest would visit him every day to administer Holy Communion. The priest consistently offered the sacrament to the neighboring patient of Maria’s son, another young man who was also in critical condition. The young man would say, “No. I don’t believe in God.” But the priest continued to offer salvation. “Let me hear your confession and give you Holy Communion and Last Rights,” the priest said, “it will save your soul and get you to heaven.” Time after time, the young man stubbornly refused.

During the weeks of hospitalization and fruitless medical treatments, Maria had taken her son a picture of Our Lady of Fatima a friend had given her from an America Needs Fatima mailing.

She knew Our Lady’s watchful gaze would give her son peace in his last days. The day after she placed Our Lady’s picture at the foot of her son’s bed, she heard the voice of his stubborn neighbor: “please,” he said, “bring the picture closer to me. I want to look at the Lady.” 

Surprised but willing, Maria placed the picture in the middle of the two suffering men. 

After three days of letting the nearby picture of Our Lady touch his heart as he gazed into Her eyes, the suffering patient relented. “Please,” he called out, “bring me the priest. I want to receive the sacraments.”

A few days later, the young man died a Catholic. With a simple picture of Our Lady of Fatima, God touched a heart and saved a soul. 

 By Catherine Ferdinand

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“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. 

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