St. Maria Goretti was known to be the Patroness of Youth. She was born of a peasant family near Nettuno, Italy, in 1890. Her father was said to have died because of malaria when she was nine, and Maria helped out with the younger children and the housework, while her mother worked on the farm.
In 1902, a certain Alexander, a young neighbor of 18, noticed that she was all alone in their house and broke in. He threatened to rape her no matter what fight she showed. But Maria refused saying: "No it's a sin. God does not want it!." When Alexander continued his sinful advances and began pulling her dress off her body, Mary cried out that she would be killed rather than to submits. Enraged by such determination, the Alexander stabbed her in the back and ran away.
An ambulance fetched Maria to the hospital, but did not succeed in saving her life. She died 24 hours later, at the age of 12, whispering astonishing words of forgiveness for her murderer.
While serving 30 years of unrepentant imprisonment, Alexander had a vision in which Mary Goretti offered flowers to him. Thereafter, he was converted and begged forgiveness from Mary's mother. Mary Goretti was canonized in 1950 by Pius XII, with her intercession, but the conversion of Alexander was probably her greatest one.
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