Saint Maria Goretti

   Martyr for Purity

 

Optional Memorial: July 6

Maria Goretti was born in Italy, near the city of Corinaldo, on October 16, 1890, christened on October 17, 1890 and devoted to the Immaculate Virgin Mary. She was one of six children of Luigi Goretti and Assunta Carlini. Driven by hunger the Goretti family moved to Fierriere di Conca near Nettuno, where they rented a farm in a swampy area infected with mosquitoes. The Gorettis shared the farm with a family named Serenelli who lived upstairs. The family consisted of a widower named John and his son Alexander . Alexander had received a pretty bad irreligious upbringing with no prayers and no sense of morality. Drinking, and a rage of callous swearing was the order of the day. On May 6, 1900 Maria’s father died. He could see a calamity looming and on his deathbed he constantly implored his wife Assentu "Please go back to Coronado and leave this place". But even though the wife would have liked to leave she couldn’t leave because she had contractual obligations on the farm.

Maria was a great support to her mother, she never complained about all the work she had to do and often said, "Jesus will provide for us". Maria was growing up and her longing to receive Jesus through Holy Communion continued to increase. " I long for Jesus" she said. However, she could neither read nor write, so how would she be able to learn the catechism?  However, helped by the priest and a lady in the village she learned very quickly and after a few months was able to pass her exams. At last, on June 6, 1901, the blessed day arrived that she did receive her First Holy Communion and it happened to be on the feast of Corpus Christi.  Maria was radiant and her features portrayed a great innocence, purity and piety. A wall of love for God surrounded her like a wall. She was a very pious child, but she was definitely not naïve. No more than the other farm girl Jeanne d’ Arc.

Maria goes as often as possible to Holy Communion. However, a calamity is about to happen. The Serenellis use the same kitchen to prepare their meals and Alexander constantly pestered Maria with horrid, sinful demands. Maria instinctively abhors sin, evil and weakness. The virtue in which Maria especially shone was purity; she looked like a lily descended from heaven. She prayed: " Take me Jesus, I offer myself to you". Maria had grown into a fine girl; she looked 15 rather than the 12 year old she was. Alexander tyrannised everyone in the household and handed out the work as he saw fit. Assunta, to keep the peace,  put up with beatings from Alexander. However, Alexander is very nice to Maria and spoils her. However, the child is scared of him; she vaguely understands that his behaviour is dishonest, insincere and lacks purity. This big boy to who nobody stands up is hurt in his pride by Maria’s responses and he made it  very clear what he wanted from her. Maria is distressed and shouted, "No, never, that is a sin! God forbids that and we would go to hell".saintm09.jpg (14533 bytes)

The next day, Friday July 5, 1902, Alexander commands everyone to go and thresh beans, but he asked Maria to mend his shirt. The child shivered, is it a trap? She didn’t dare to disobey Alexander and he followed her into the house. In the house Alexander grabbed her roughly by the wrist and shouted: " Don’t stop me or I will kill you". Maria screamed for help and fought like a tigress. Alexander couldn’t control himself any longer and stabbed her with a knife, time and time again. In all he stabbed her 14 times, one missing her heart by mere millimetres. Maria collapsed in a sea of blood and called: " Mother, I’m dying, Mother!" This didn’t even upset the brute who just walked away. Still, a bit later he returned and to make sure Maria was dead he stabbed her again. He then went to his room and goes to sleep in his bed, like nothing happened.

After a while Maria managed to drag herself to the door and weakly called for help. "Help me…..Help me! Alexander …..tried ….is trying to kill me!" Shortly after that she lost consciousness. When they found Maria she was taken to the hospital and they operated on her for two hours. They didn’t give her an anaesthetic, as they were afraid that she might not survive that. She suffered terribly, but not a sound passed her lips. She prayed: "Jesus you have suffered so much for me, please help me in my suffering for you". The doctor said to the summonsed priest: " Father you have found an angel, but I’m afraid we will leave behind a corpse".  Alexander is arrested an hour after the crime and is handcuffed and taken away. The police had to prevent a lynching by a crowd of outraged people. Assunta is not allowed to spend the night by her daughter’s bedside. In the midst of the night the rector visited her. He told Maria that he wanted her to join the Congregation of the Children of Mary. He put the Medallion with a blue ribbon around her neck and blessed her. Maria kissed the picture of the Holy Virgin on the medallion and prayed in the words that Catharine Labouré was given by Our Lady:

"Mary conceived without sin
 pray for us who have recourse to Thee"

On the morning of the next day, Sunday July 6, 1902, Maria received Holy Communion. It seemed as though that they gave communion to an angel, her face glowed with a supernatural light. She said " I forgive my murderer out of my love for Jesus. Alexander will join me in Heaven, as I have forgiven him and I pray that God will too. Soon I will meet Him face to face!". Assunta is at her daughter’s side. Maria looked lovingly at the picture of the Blessed Virgin on the wall of her room. She whispered: " The Madonna is waiting for me". Then followed a tormented death struggle.  On July 6, 1902, at 3.45pm. when Maria Goretti is 11 years and 9 months old  she dies whilst kissing The Cross. After her death an enormous public outpouring of devotion took place. Many kneeled at her graveside; many asked for and received her intercession.

MariaG3.JPG (12219 bytes)On April 27, 1947 Maria Goretti, virgin and martyr was beatified by Pope Pius XII . From all over the world people came to pay tribute to her. The newly Blessed was give the sign of honour: the lily and the palm leaf. Her mother Assunta was present and had an audience with the Pope in the afternoon. Alexander had been sentenced to 30 years in prison with hard labour. Back in his cell when he heard about her beatification he laughs sneeringly: " If she is a Saint, then let her rise from the dead".

But the Lord’s ways are mysterious.  Maria appeared to Alexander in a dream and offered him a lily. Whilst he accepted the flower, she changed into small flickering flames. This was the beginning of his redemption.. When the Bishop visited him he learned that Maria Goretti had forgiven him. As he muttered "She has forgiven me?". he burst  into a flood of tears. The monster had a heart after all. He went to confession and openly confessed to the crime. At Christmas in 1937 he made the most difficult step and travelled to visit Assunta and with tears streaming down his face he begged Maria’s mother forgiveness. She simply said:" If Maria has forgiven you, why should I not forgive you?". On this  Christmas Eve, Assunta was seen kneeling together at the altar rails with the murderer of her darling daughter. He entered the Monastery of the Benedictine Order and was given the task of gardener and was known as Brother Stephano. The wish Maria Goretti made on her deathbed had been fulfilled.

On June 24, 1950 Maria Goretti was canonized by Pope Pius XII, in the presence of her mother and Alexander her murderer. Diplomats, Bishops and members of the Roman nobility were witness to this in St.Peter Basilica in Rome. Before she died, Maria Goretti forgave her perpetrator. The church holds her as a model to all virgins. Maria Goretti is also patron Saint to all youth. Her feast day is on July 6. Maria Goretti, a little girl, the source of all what is good. Her life story has been portrayed in the Italian film;  "Cielo sulla Palude" (The Heaven Above The Swamp). She chose death above sin. Through purity we meet our God.

The Italian Catholic Women Union chose her as their patron Saint as an example to all young girls. The relics of Saint Maria Goretti are interred in the church of Our Lady of Mercy in Nettuno (Italy). Maria Goretti serves the youth of today, in a time of moral decay, unfaithfulness, low mentality, as the ideal of pureness and spiritual integrity. Contemporary Priest Father Pio van Pietrelcina, who meanwhile has also been beatified, again highlighted this contemplative view of life.

The holiness of Maria Goretti is not just that she chose death above sin, but of all that gave her the strength to brave martyrdom; the practice of virtues in the family circle, the spirit of prayer and penance, the fiery piety to Maria and the Holy Eucharist and receiving of the Sacraments. Maria Goretti is a contemporary of three other great Saints, who reinforce her message, namely Pope Pius X, St.Therese of Lisieux and St. Gemma Galgani. The pronouncements and intentions from Maria Goretti were 15 years after her death once again repeated by the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917 in Fatima.
The short prayer is as follows: "Holy Maria Goretti watch over the  youth of the world".

Feast of Saint Maria Goretti

When God is in our hearts we can do great things. It does not matter our age, our strength, or our position. When we surrender completely to God He uses us in ways we would never dream or imagine. Sometimes like a Joan of Arc we are sent into battles we are unprepared for - with weapons we use not by strength or prowness but simple faith. Maria Goretti was twelve years old when she was put to the test - she knew already in the depths of her being that God was her highest and only good. Nothing, she determined was going to remove her from God's sight. But this required the very sacrifice of her life. Her story is a beautiful story - one that inspires and enriches all who read it.

The above true story appears as a private contest between God and the devil with the life of Maria Goretti as the stake.

 

Links to other pages of Maria Goretti:

http://saintmariasmessenger.com/
http://blog.saintmariasmessenger.com/




 

 

 

Maria Goretti pray for us

1

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 a nything 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.

2

Charming Saint, and true child of Mary, Mother of Jesus, you were so young but already so strong in resisting a cruel tempter and preferring to die a martyr. How greatly we need today - when chastity is often discarded - more models and intercessors like you! Multiply faithful Children of Mary for her glory and that of her Son.
Amen.

3

Saint Maria Goretti, strengthened by God's grace, you did not hesitate, even at the age of eleven, to sacrifice life itself to defend your virginal purity. Look graciously on the unhappy human race that has strayed far from the path of eternal salvation. Teach us all, and especially our youth, the courage and promptness that will help us avoid anything that could offend Jesus. Obtain for me a great horror of sin, so that I may live a holy life on earth and win eternal glory in heaven.
Amen.


The Nine Day Novena To St. Mary Goretti

Saint Mary 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, (mention your request) and may we one day enjoy with Thee the imperishable glory of heaven. Amen.


DAY ONE (July 1)

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen
Most lovable little Saint, who valued your purity above any earthly gain, and who sealed this choice with a martyr's death, obtain for me also a strong love of this virtue, so consoling to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The pleasures of the world create many temptations for me. I turn to your powerful intercession in Heaven, so that with this help I may remain ever loyal to God, no matter what the price. In danger inspire me to repeat with you, "No, it is a sin!" Amen.
Recite the Litany of the Blessed Virgin followed by
Sweet Heart of Jesus, be my Love!
Sweet Heart of Mary, be my Salvation!
Recite the Prayer to Saint Mary Goretti above, followed by
Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father,
Saint Mary Goretti, Pray for us!
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

DAY TWO (July 2)

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen
Dear Saint Mary Goretti, model of loving obedience to parents, teach me to imitate your example. Help me to overcome all selfishness and stubborn pride, draw my parents to Thee, then lead me to accept this authority as the Voice of God in my life. Help them to direct me aright and enable me to obey their every wish. Amen.
Recite the Litany of the Blessed Virgin followed by
Sweet Heart of Jesus, be my Love!
Sweet Heart of Mary, be my Salvation!
Recite the Prayer to Saint Mary Goretti above, followed by
Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father,
Saint Mary Goretti, Pray for us!
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

DAY THREE (July 3)

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen
Dear Little Saint Mary! You were ready for the moment of martyrdom because your short life was given over to daily and heroic self-denial. Your great love of the Sacred Hearts made all this possible. Teach me to love Jesus and His Blessed Mother, so that I too will be inspired to daily self-denial. I am inclined to pamper myself, to gratify my senses, and to excuse myself from all penance. This keeps me from being a true follower of Christ. Help me, lovable Little Martyr, to a sincere practice of self- denial, so that I may be your worthy follower and thus gain Heaven for all Eternity. Amen.
Recite the Litany of the Blessed Virgin followed by
Sweet Heart of Jesus, be my Love!
Sweet Heart of Mary, be my Salvation!
Recite the Prayer to Saint Mary Goretti above, followed by
Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father,
Saint Mary Goretti, Pray for us!
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

DAY FOUR (July 4)

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen
Dear Little Saint! Your days were spent in the filth of the marshes, willingly helping your desperately poor parents and family. Obtain for me the grace to accept my present circumstances in life, no matter how difficult or humiliating they may be. "Just one little drop of water" as the only request that fell from your parched lips during those last horrible hours of life. How much I demand, how unhappy I am when I cannot have my share of the world's conveniences and gaudy attractions! Teach me by your heroic example to be content with what I have, to be grateful for the blessings God has already showered upon me. Amen.
Recite the Litany of the Blessed Virgin followed by
Sweet Heart of Jesus, be my Love!
Sweet Heart of Mary, be my Salvation!
Recite the Prayer to Saint Mary Goretti above, followed by
Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father,
Saint Mary Goretti, Pray for us!
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

DAY FIVE (July 5)

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen
Dear Little Saint, I depend a great deal upon the help of my friends in time of trouble or sorrow. I look for their approval in many things I do. I am disconsolate and lonely when they desert me. Through your powerful intercession in Heaven, obtain for me the grace to place all my confidence in God. Only by walking constantly in His presence and depending upon His help, will I have the courage to stand up for His laws, even though it may mean loss of friends, criticism and complete removal of worldly comfort. Help me to look for all of my strength in Him. Amen.
Recite the Litany of the Blessed Virgin followed by
Sweet Heart of Jesus, be my Love!
Sweet Heart of Mary, be my Salvation!
Recite the Prayer to Saint Mary Goretti above, followed by
Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father,
Saint Mary Goretti, Pray for us!
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

DAY SIX (July 6)

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen
Dear Little Saint! Help me to greater love of my Faith. I have many God-given opportunities to study it but, sad to say, I neglect them. I am even critical of the Priests, Brothers and Sisters who offer their lives that I may better know and love my holy religion. Dear Saint Mary Goretti, teach me to be thankful for these grace which you did not have. Make me proud of my Faith and ready to die for it, if God should require that of me Amen.
Recite the Litany of the Blessed Virgin followed by
Sweet Heart of Jesus, be my Love!
Sweet Heart of Mary, be my Salvation!
Recite the Prayer to Saint Mary Goretti above, followed by
Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father,
Saint Mary Goretti, Pray for us!
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

DAY SEVEN (July 7)

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen
Dear Little Saint, never was Jesus more welcome in a human heart than in yours. The Great Day of First Communion could not come quickly enough. In borrowed clothes and head crowned with flowers of the field, you knelt to receive Him into your soul, so rich with Innocence and Love, and this after months of keen anticipation!
O Powerful Intercessor with the Lamb of God, inflame my soul with your "ardent longing to receive Jesus in the Eucharist." Obtain for me the grace to put aside laziness and indifference, so that I may often, even daily, allow myself to be consumed in the "burning Furnace of Charity." Teach me what true Love really is! Amen.
Recite the Litany of the Blessed Virgin followed by
Sweet Heart of Jesus, be my Love!
Sweet Heart of Mary, be my Salvation!
Recite the Prayer to Saint Mary Goretti above, followed by
Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father,
Saint Mary Goretti, Pray for us!
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

DAY EIGHT (July 8)

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen
Dear Little Martyr! To the last you followed your beloved Jesus! He, while hanging upon His Cross of Suffering, uttered through parched lips, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!" And you upon your bed of pain, burning with fever, forgave your murderer with the words, "I too, pardon him... I too, wish him to join me in Paradise!
Grant me the grace, O Heroic Saint, to be charitable to others! Much of my time is spent on vengeful thoughts, seeking how I may pay back to others the harm they have done to me. Teach me to forgive, so that I may not only gain Heaven, but also lead others there who might otherwise be doomed to Hell. If I am to follow Christ, help me to imitate His Charity, even as you have done. Amen.
Recite the Litany of the Blessed Virgin followed by
Sweet Heart of Jesus, be my Love!
Sweet Heart of Mary, be my Salvation!
Recite the Prayer to Saint Mary Goretti above, followed by
Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father,
Saint Mary Goretti, Pray for us!
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

DAY NINE (July 9 Feast)

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen
Dear Saint Mary Goretti! Once again I turn to you, and beg of you in the words of Our Holy Father, Pope Pius XII, that "serenity of spirit and deep joy which is the heritage of those who are pure of heart." Help me to turn to Our Blessed Lady, confident in the hope that she will take my hand as she did yours, and lead me on to Paradise, my heavenly country, there to enjoy with you and Her, the company of God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost for all Eternity. Amen.
Recite the Litany of the Blessed Virgin followed by
Sweet Heart of Jesus, be my Love!
Sweet Heart of Mary, be my Salvation!
Recite the Prayer to Saint Mary Goretti above, followed by
Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father,
Saint Mary Goretti, Pray for us!
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Amen.

 

 

 

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