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No Age Requirements for Holiness: St. Maria Goretti

st maria goretti


At the tender age of 12 this pious and hardworking young girl was attacked by a 19 year old man who wished to rape her. She fought him off, telling him this was a sin and he could go to hell. He began to stab her, and would stab her 14 times. She would survive for 2 days in the hospital and died after having forgiven him and asking God to forgive him. Holding a Crucifix and a medal of Our Lady, the holy young girl gave her soul to God.

The man was convicted of this terrible crime and spent years in prison. For many years unrepentant, he later saw a vision of Maria that led to his conversion. He would be there in person when she was canonized in Rome in 1950. The girl’s mother was also there and following Maria’s example, she also forgave her killer.

Maria was not quite 12 when she died to preserve her purity. How we need her prayers for our young people today!

Maria Goretti

It is well known how this young girl had to face a bitter struggle with no way to defend herself. Without warning a vicious stranger burst upon her, bent on raping her and destroying her childlike purity. In that moment of crisis she could have spoken to her Redeemer in the words of that classic, The Imitation of Christ: “Though tested and plagued by a host of misfortunes, I have no fear so long as your grace is with me. It is my strength, stronger than any adversary; it helps me and give me guidance.” With splendid courage she surrendered herself to God and his grace and so gave her life to protect her virginity.The life of a simple girl – I shall concern myself only with highlights – we can see as worthy of heaven. Even today people can look upon it with admiration and respect. Parents can learn from her story how to raise their God-given children in virtue, courage, and holiness; they can learn to train them in the Catholic faith so that, when put to the test, God’s grace will support them and they will come through undefeated, unscathed, and untarnished.From Maria’s story carefree children and young people with their zest for life can learn not to be led astray by attractive pleasures which are not only ephemeral and empty but also sinful. Instead they can fix their sights on achieving Christian moral perfection, however difficult that course may prove. With determination and God’s help all of us can attain that goal by persistent effort and prayer.

Not all of us are expected to die a martyr’s death, but we are all called to the pursuit of Christian virtue.

So let us all, with God’s grace, strive to reach the goal that the example of the virgin martyr, Saint Maria Goretti, sets before us. Through her prayers to the Redeemer may all of us, each in his own way, joyfully try to follow the inspiring example of Maria Goretti who now enjoys eternal happiness in heaven.

from a homily by Venerable Pope Pius XII at the canonization of Saint Maria Goretti

St. Maria Goretti Novena Prayer

Child of God,
You who at an early age
knew life?s harshness and toil,
its sorrows and brief joys;
You who were poor, an orphan,
who loved your neighbour tirelessly,
making yourself a humble and attentive servant;
You who were kind and good, without pride,
who loved Love above all else;
You who shed your blood
so as not to betray the Lord;
You who forgave your assassin
wishing him in Paradise;

Intercede and pray for us to the Father,
so that we may consent to his holy will for us.

You who are God?s friend and see him face to face obtain the grace we are seeking from you?

We thank you Marietta, for the love of God and neighbor that you have sown in our hearts.


Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

Author Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

Our Lady found this unworthy lukewarm person and obtained for her the grace to enter the Third Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. May this person spend all eternity in showing her gratitude.

More posts by Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

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