Vatican City, Jul 6, 2016 / 05:01 am
Pope Francis has marked the feast of the young martyr St. Maria Goretti by calling the faithful to follow her example and be forgiving to those who wrong them.
The memory of Maria Goretti's example should "encourage you to commit yourselves, like the Saint you venerate, to being witnesses of forgiveness," the Pope wrote in a letter for the July 6 feast of the Italian who is known for having forgiven her attacker.
The June 20 letter was addressed to Bishops Mariano Crociata of Latina-Terracina-Sezze-Priverno and Marcello Semeraro of Albano, the dioceses of the regions where Maria Goretti – who is even now affectionately known as "Marietta" – lived and died.
The young saint, who was killed at age 11 while resisting a rape, is renowned both as a martyr for chastity and as a witness of forgiveness: as Maria lay dying from wounds inflicted by her would-be rapist, Alessandro Serenelli, she prayed for his conversion.