Maria Goretti, a patron of young women, was born near Ancona, Italy, in 1890. Her parents were poor farm workers, and her father died while she was still a child.
When Maria was 12, she rebuffed the advances of an 18-year-old neighbour, Alessandro, who threatened to kill her if she did not submit to him. Enraged by Maria’s refusal, he stabbed her. Maria died on 6 July 1902, having forgiven him. Alessandro was sentenced to 30 years in prison. After his release, he sought — and received — forgiveness from Maria’s mother.
Both he and Maria’s family lived to see her canonized in 1950 by Pope Pius XII for her defence of Christian virtue.
Sometimes, being a Christian means going against doing what comes naturally. The whole world does what comes naturally, and that is why it needs salvation.