6 July // Feast Day of St Maria Goretti | Maria is the youngest canonised saint in the Church. She was 12 years old when her 20-year old neighbour Alessandro demanded her virginity by threatening her with violence. She prevented him from violating her but was stabbed fourteen times. She was hospitalised for a few days but the lacerations were too severe. Her last words were, "I forgive Alessandro Serenelli... I want him with me in heaven forever." While Alessandro was in prison, Maria visited him in a dream offering flowers. When he woke up he was changed, he relented and begged Maria's mother for forgiveness. After he was released, he entered a monastery as a brother and later went to celebrate Maria's canonisation at St Peter's Square. Near the end of his life he wrote, "When I was 20 years old, I committed a crime of passion. Now, that memory represents something horrible for me. Maria Goretti, now a Saint, was my good Angel, sent to me through Providence to guide and save me. I still have impressed upon my heart her words of rebuke and of pardon." St Maria Goretti, pray for us!