Antonia Messina was born into a poor family in a small town in Sardinia, Italy, in 1919. She was the second of 10 children and she had to leave school after only four years to help her bed-ridden mother tend to the house and the other children.
Despite her heavy responsibilities at home, Antonia became a very active member of Catholic Action at the age of 10. When she was 16, she was attacked while out gathering wood. She was beaten and murdered by a would-be rapist, fighting him off to her last breath. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1987 as a martyr of purity. She is a patron of rape vicitims.