Maria Goretti is the youngest saint to be canonized by the Catholic church and the saint of purity, mercy and youth. Most especially for victims of rape.
Maria Goretti’s remains, which include her skeleton and a wax mask over her skull, travel in a lighted glass casket.
Some of the first few stops for the relic of St. Maria Goretti were in New Jersey and now the Chicago area where faithful Catholics lined up outside of their local Catholic churches to have the chance to pray to the saint and press their prayer cards and rosaries to her casket.
For many, the visit of Maria Goretti’s remains was a spiritual experience.
Maria Goretti was only 11 years old on July 5th, 1902 when she was attacked by an older neighbor, Alessandro Serenelli.
Serenelli had bullied Maria Goretti for a long time, but on this fateful day, his aggression became sexual.
Maria Goretti tried to fight off Serenelli, insisting that their sexual contact would be a moral sin and that she would rather die than submit to his desires.
Alessandro was enraged and stabbed the young Maria Goretti 14 times. Maria survived until the next day, but the legend tells that Maria forgave Alessandro on her death bed.
Serenelli also claimed to have had visions of Maria Goretti forgiving him while he was in prison for her murder.
Maria Goretti was beatified by Pope Pius XII in 1947. She was canonized as a saint in 1950.
Now, Maria Goretti’s feast day is celebrated on July 6th, the date of her death.
This is the first time that Maria Goretti’s remains have been to America and only the second time for them to ever leave Italy.
Have you had the privilege of visiting the remains of Saint Maria Goretti? Tell us about it in the comments below!