Saturday, 11 July 2009

Veneration of the Holy Relic of Saint Maria Goretti (Virgin & Martyr)

Saint Maria Goretti

Beautiful, pious farm girl, one of six children of Luigi Goretti and Assunta Carlini. In 1896 the family moved to Ferriere di Conca.

Soon after, Maria’s father died of malaria, and the family was forced to move onto the Serenelli farm to survive.In 1902 at age twelve, Maria was attacked by 19-year-old farm-hand Alessandro Serenelli.

He tried to rape the girl who fought, yelled that it was a sin, and that he would go to hell. He tried to choke her into submission, then stabbed her fourteen times. She survived in hospital for two days, forgave her attacker, asked God’s forgiveness of him, and died holding a crucifix and medal of Our Lady.

Counted as a martyr.

While in prison for his crime, Alessandro had a vision of Maria. He saw a garden where a young girl, dressed in white, gathered lilies. She smiled, came near him, and encouraged him to accept an armful of the lilies. As he took them, each lily transformed into a still white flame. Maria then disappeared. This vision of Maria led to Alessandro’s conversion, and he later testified at her cause for beatification.

“We worship Christ as God's Son; we love the martyrs as the Lord's disciples and imitators, and rightly so because of their matchless devotion towards their king and master. May we also be their companions and fellow disciples”. Martyrium Polycarpi, 17: Apostolic Fathers II/3, 396.

On Monday 6th July (her Feast Day) a Holy Relic of St Maria Goretti was put on the side altar, in the Lady Chapel, for public veneration by the faithful in Our Lady Star of the Sea, Burry Port (see picture above). A steady stream of parishioners came to the Church throughout the day.

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