Maria Goretti was a 12 year old peasant girl, with chestnut hair and delicate features. She worked as a servant, mending clothes and cared for her little sister because her parents were poor.
One day a 20 year old boy came to her house and asked her to have sex with him. She refused, and he grabbed her, pulled her into the bedroom, and closed the door. She fought him with all her strength, telling him that it would be a sin.
Enraged, he stabbed her 14 times in her heart, lungs, and intestines, and then fled. When her family discovered Maria lying on the floor in a pool of blood, they rushed her to hospital but it was too late.
She died soon afterwards, but just before she died, asked if she forgave her murderer, she replied, “Yes, for the love of Jesus I forgive him…and I want him to be with me in Paradise.” She died on July 6.1902.
A few years later, she got her wish when the unrepentant boy who killed her, now in prison, had a dream.
In that dream, Maria appeared to him in a garden dressed in white, and was gathering lilies. She smiled, and came near him, and encouraged him to accept an armful of the lilies.
As he accepted them, each lily transformed into a still white flame. Maria then disappeared. The boy converted and became a Christian. When he was released from prison after serving 27 years, his first act was to travel to Maria’s mother to beg her forgiveness and lived a holy life for the rest of his life. In 1950, Maria was canonized in a ceremony attended by a quarter million people, including her mother. She is remembered every 6th of July all over the world. Let us forgive and pray for our enemies.