A while back, I was drawn to the story of St. Maria Goretti and read her story. Recently, I was thinking about it and I happened to do a web search on her and came across an image of her that triggered an emotional reaction. I can’t say that I’ve ever cried over a religious image before and it actually felt that Maria was actually offering me the lilies that she was holding.
I know that the man who killed her became a follower of her as a saint as a result of a vision or dream in which she forgave him. I’m drawn to Maria’s attitude here, which is or is very close to the attitude that the Mennonite church expounds, which is to forgive your “enemies” at all times in all places and without reservation.
Could she be actually trying to draw me close to her? I remember reading somewhere on these boards that living people don’t choose patron saints, but rather saints choose living people? It also could be the case that I just had an emotional reaction to her story and that there is no greater meaning behind it (possibly what my (Protestant) pastor would say).
Do saints call people who are currently professed Protestants? I’ve found myself fascinated and drawn to the CC, but can’t call myself “ready to convert” in a meaningful sense. Would a specific saint reach out to a Protestant, or only to Catholics or people convinced in their mind and ready to convert?
How many men follow her? I know that the man who killed her became a follower of her.
***Born in Corinaldo, Ancona, Italy, on October 16 1890; her farmworker father moved his family to Ferrier di Conca, near Anzio. Her father died of malaria and her mother had to struggle to feed her children.
In 1902 an eighteen-year-old neighbor, Alexander, grabbed her from her steps and tried to rape her. When Maria said that she would rather died than submit, Alexander began stabbing her with a knife.
As she lay in the hospital, she forgave Alexander before she died. Her death didn’t end her forgivness, however.
Alexander was captured and sentenced to thirty years. He was unrepentant until he had a dream that he was in a garden. Maria was there and gave him flowers. When he woke, he was a changed man, repenting of his crime and living a reformed life. When he was released after 27 years he went directly to Maria’s mother to beg her forgiveness, which she gave. “If my daughter can forgive him, who am I to withold forgiveness,” she said.
When Maria was declared a saint in 1950, Alexander was there in the St. Peter’s crowd to celebrate her canonization. She was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1950 for her purity as model for youth.
She is called a martyr because she fought against Alexander’s attempts at sexual assault. However, the most important aspect of her story is her forgiveness of her attacker – her concern for her enemy extending even beyond death. Her feast day is July 6. St. Maria Goretti is the patroness of youth ***
It doesn’t make a difference, Protestant or Catholic. St. Maria Goretti reached out to you. Feel blessed.
I believe it is possible that the good Lord is using her to reach out to you. But make no mistake my friend, if she or any other Saint reaches out to you it is only to draw you closer to The Lord, not herself.
Sounds like The Lord has decided to give you a very special gift.
I have no idea how many men follow her, but I ask for her intercession several times a day, and my pastor at my parish also asks for her intercession as well, especially when he is with us high schoolers. He asked all of us to pray for St. Maria Goretti when we were planning the chastity rally for our diocese.
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