Feast Day: July 6
St. Maria Goretti was born on October 16, 1890, in Corinaldo, Italy to Luigi Goretti and Assunta Carlini. She was baptized the next morning. She was raised as a pious farm girl, one of six children, who grew in holiness. In 1896, the family moved to Ferriere di Conca and shortly afterward, Maria’s father died of malaria. The Goretti family was forced to move onto the Serenelli farm to survive.
On July 5, 1902, Maria, at the age of 12, was attack by Alessandro Serenelli, a farm hand, who wanted to rape her. He had repeatedly suggested impure things to her previously, but this time, hatred filled him. She refused sexual relations first and foremost because it was a sin outside of marriage. She desperately fought to stop Alessandro, a 20-year-old, from abusing her. She kept screaming, “No! It is a sin! God does not want it!”
Alessandro Serenelli began to choke Maria and then stabbed her 14 times. The young girl survived in a hospital for two weeks, where she forgave her attacker and asked God to forgive him. She died holding a crucifix and a medal of Our Lady.
Years later, while in prison, Alessandro had a vision of Maria. He saw a young girl, dressed in white, gathered lilies in a garden. She then smiled, came near him, and encouraged him to accept an armful of the lilies. As Alessandro took them, each lily transformed into a still white flame; Maria then disappeared. This vision led to Alessandro's conversion. He later testified at her cause for beatification. At the end of his life, Alessandro wrote, "I ask pardon of the world of the outrage done to the martyr Maria Goretti and to purity. I exhort everyone to keep away from immoral shows, from dangers, from occasions that can lead to sin."
She was beatified on April 27, 1947, and canonized on June 24, 1950, by Pope Pius XII. Her mother was present at her canonization – the only time a mother has ever been present for her child’s canonization. She was the youngest officially recognized saint of the Catholic Church. She is a model of purity - a model all of us should try to imitate. St. Maria refused to break the Commandments and for that, she was rewarded with eternal life. Remember Our Lord's words, that we are to adhere to every Commandment of the Church, even the least important (Mt. 5:18-19). St. Maria is a model of all of us, especially the youth, to follow
Source: A Catholic Life