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Franciscan Spirit Blog

Sisterhood of Saints: Maria Goretti

Jul 6, 2021
Sisterhood of Saints: Maria Goretti
Like St. Maria, we must strive to forgive all, just as God does. 

She was an obedient child by all accounts, taking care of her siblings and the housework so that her widowed mother could work in the fields, hoping against hope to bring in the crop that would keep her little brood together. 

That meant no time for school for Maria, but a kind woman taught her enough about Catholicism that the child was able to make her First Communion.

Maria hadn’t turned twelve yet when a pornography-addicted young man who shared the Goretti house attempted to rape her. When she resisted, he stabbed her fourteen times. This brave defense of her purity would be reason enough to love and venerate Maria. But what happened next is jaw-dropping: On her deathbed, Maria offered total obedience and faith to the Lord. She identified her murderer, forgave him, and said she would see him in heaven.

As time went on, the young man had a conversion experience in prison, an experience that included Maria coming to him with white lilies, the flower of purity, one for each of her stab wounds. He was released after twenty-seven years, and asked Maria’s mother for forgiveness. He had taken more than her beloved daughter; the resulting financial disaster had broken up the family. The mother quickly said she had to forgive him; after all, Maria had. Maria’s murderer spent his remaining years as a Capuchin monastery’s gardener and caretaker, and may have been present at Maria’s canonization in 1950.

Anyone can have a conversion experience—convicted murderers, corrupt politicians, gossiping neighbors, backstabbing coworkers. We’re not called to be foolish and irresponsible about putting ourselves in dangerous situations. But like Maria, we must strive to forgive all, just as God does. Our actions and words, big or small, could help or hinder someone with a mustard seed’s worth of faith. Which will it be?



“Our Lord prefers to wait Himself for the sinner for years rather than keep us waiting for an instant.”
St. Maria Goretti


Have a prayerful conversation with God about where you can sow some seeds of conversion. It may be in your own life!

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Sisterhood of Saints


Tue, 07/06/2021 - 11:50 AM
I am a sinner too)
Tue, 07/06/2021 - 11:55 AM
No one has to forgive someone who is not repentant, but yet St. Maria Goretti forgave her assailant anyways. It took him a while to repentant, but repent apparently he did. Ok, so the turd is probably still in purgatory, where he belongs. As long as people don't start saying he too is a saint since that would be going too far! In some societies, he would have been given the death penalty shortly after the murder and that would have been that. At least the creep didn't murder again for whatever reason. Isn't that what serial killers do? They just murder and murder until someone kills them? Nevertheless, Maria's murderer is a perfect example that "Where there is life, there is hope," but I believe he is the exception rather than the rule. Some people just hate God and will never repent. And their victims? Well, they have to get on with life to the best of their ability and make the best of what remains if they had not been murdered in the process. Hopefully there is still a lot of good in their life to celebrate and count their blessings since I guess things could be worse. At the very least, as long as one is still alive they can still worship and praise God if nothing else.
Tue, 07/06/2021 - 06:24 PM
She is one of my hero’s I wished I had the courage when I was sexually abused I wished I could of kept my purity
Wed, 07/07/2021 - 12:28 PM
Patricia, you don't mean you wish you could have kept your purity, you probably mean you wish you didn't lose your virginity, since purity can be regained. But there is a difference between having a clean heart versus having a pure heart. I believe having a pure heart is a gift from God so the best most of us can expect is to simply have a clean heart. Innocence is another thing that once it is gone, it is gone. In my parish, we had an auxiliary priest by the name of Fr. Mark who passed away from cancer a few years ago but it was noticeable that he had a pure heart. He even knew St. Mother Teresa. But did having a pure heart make Fr. Mark a saint? Not really, since I've met saints before and they are a little more once again. I guess there are degrees of holiness, right?

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