Maria Goretti

I'm usually a positive person, but sometimes even I wonder about our world.  The thing that troubles me the most is our young people.  Especially young women.
It hurts me to my very core when I hear about young, bright women dating and sleeping with the worst guys you could dredge up out of the sewers of Chicago!  It breaks my heart when these same women go back to the same awful men, never to really learn a life lesson.  I want to shake them or even slap them and tell them, "You are SO much better then this!  Why do you allow a man to treat you this way?  And don't answer, 'because I love him!'"  Guess what?  He doesn't love you and it's not even love, hell, it's not even sex, it's allowing yourself to be abused!
And I want to ask the young men who repeatedly do this to young women, "Who taught you that it's okay to treat a woman this way?  Who taught you that acting like a low-down dog makes you a man?  Who taught you that you can selfishly rule your life with your male organ?  Who?"
Maria Goretti (1890-1902) is the patron saint of teenage girls.  She was canonized in 1950 and her feast day is July 6.  Her story is an amazing tale of sex, violence and ultimately a forgiveness so powerful, you can almost reach out and touch it!
Maria's parents and their six children moved in with Giovanni Serenelli and his teenage son Alessandro.  Soon after, Maria's father died.  When Maria was twelve, she was already very beautiful and Alessandro, then nineteen, started to make advances on her.  She rebuffed him, but he threatened to kill her if she told anyone.  On July 5, 1902, Maria was at the top of the stairs mending Alessandro's shirt when he ran past her, ordered her into a bedroom, grabbed her, and attempted to rape her!  She screamed to him not to touch her because it was a sin, but he became so enraged that he stabbed her fourteen times!  This almost sounds like a MTV reality show, doesn't it?
Maria survived for only 24 hours before succumbing to her injuries, but she forgave Alessandro before she died.
Alesssandro was sentenced to thirty years' hard labor.  One night in 1910 he dreamed that Maria handed him a bouquet of lilies and he began to feel remorseful for the horrific act he had committed.  Bishop Blandini of Noto, Sicily (where Alessandro was imprisoned) visited him and told him that Maria had forgiven him and that God would also forgive him.
A few days later Alessandro wrote the bishop a letter:
I cannnot tell you what comfort has come to my sorrowing soul through
the conversation with your Excellency, for which I send my most heartfelt
gratitude.

It is indeed true that in a moment of mental aberration I was led to
commit a barbarous murder which the law has already punished.  But
I can never accuse myself of doing it with the sole and firm purpose 
of committing so great a wrong.  The fact that I was very young and
knew little about life was the primary cause which brought me to such
a step which I regret bitterly.

I regret doubly the evil I have done, because I realize that I have taken
the life of a poor, innocent girl.  Up to the last moment she wanted to
protect her honor, sacrificing herself rather than give in to my wishes.
This it was that drove me to so terrible and deplorable a deed.
Publicly, I detest the evil that I have done.  And I ask God's forgiveness
and that of the poor, desolate family for the great wrong I committed.
I hope that I too, like so many others in this world, may obtain pardon.

I declare this to your Excellency with the hope that you also will pardon
me this great crime of my inexperienced youth.  May your prayers 
united to mine obtain for me the forgiveness of him who governs all 
things, and the calm and the blessing of the poor departed one.
Somehow I don't think our young male clowns of today would be so eloquent or remorseful. I imagine that their only thoughts would be to brag to their friends how many women they've convinced to sleep with them.  And then laugh at these women behind their backs for believing their lies.
Alessandro was released from prison early and he joined the Franciscan Third Order.  Pope Pius XII canonized Maria Gorett in 1950.  Her mother, Assunta was present, the first time a mother was present when her child was declared a saint.
On Christmas Eve, 1936, Alessandro visited Assunta and asked her to forgive him.  She did.  Together they attended Midnight Mass in the church where Maria lay buried.  Alessandro was also present in St. Peter's Square in 1950, the first murderer to attend the canonization of his victim.
I'm hoping that Alessandro and Maria Goretti's story will give young people something to think about.  Think about the way you treat the opposite sex and how you might be allowing someone to treat you.  Think about how you see yourself and how God sees you, now and in the future.  We all make mistakes, but it's how you recover and learn from them that shapes you.  We all heal from our wounded hearts.  You can move on and be the strong light you were meant to be, so that when the right person does come along everything will fall into place.  There will not be drama and pain, only love and happiness, which you so richly deserve and what God wants for you with all His being!

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