The Story of Maria Goretti 

Maria Goretti was a young girl of 11 when a young adult, name Alessandro, showed a special liking of her. Despite her disinterest in the young man and her repeatedly telling him that she was not interested, Alessandro continue to make crude comments to her which would embarrass her and cause her to run away. Alessandro knew her family well and went to see her one day when he knew that she would be alone. This day, July 5 1902, his crude jokes turned violent when he made sexual advances toward Maria. She did her best to protest but Alessandro retaliated by stabbing her. Not once. Not twice. But fourteen times. Alessandro ran away but the screaming attracted people who found Maria bleeding to death. She was brought to the hospital but they were unable to save her. As she was dying she said, “I forgive Alessandro Serenelli…and I want him with me in heaven forever.” She died 24 hours after her attack on July 6, 1902. Many months after she had died, while Alessandro was serving prison time, Maria Goretti appeared to him and forgave him. This forgiveness prompted a major conversion. Alessandro developed true contrition for his attempted rape and murder of Maria. He then lived a life of prayer and penance for 60 years until his own death; that is, 30 years in prison and an additional 30 years after release from prison. Another amazing point of this story is that Maria Goretti’s mother, Assunta, also forgave Alessandro – and on June 24, 1950, Alessandro stood next to Assunta in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican at the canonization of the now Saint Maria Goretti. This heroic story is only possible by God’s grace and by an individual who was very advanced in the virtue of mercy. Many of us (or maybe most of us) are not so skilled in the virtue of mercy. Sometimes it takes years to learn how to forgive – not minutes, like St. Maria Goretti. That is ok. Our Lord Jesus Christ understands. And Jesus invites us to enter this process of forgiveness one tiny step at a time. We have a gracious and gentle and loving God who is supremely patient with us. He is often more patient with us, and we are with ourselves. Clients at the Goretti Center benefit from the intercession of this great Saint. We pray that all of us can grow in our ability to heal and to forgive. St. Maria Goretti, pray for us!




Goretti Center for Healing & Forgiveness
2 Old New Milford Road, Suite 2A
Brookfield, CT 06804 USA


Brookfield, CT, Hebron, CT, and Yonkers, NY