Saint Maria Goretti is the patron saint of youth, young women, purity, and victims of rape. She was born in October 1890 and died in July 1902. On the day of her death, her 18 year old neighbor attempted to rape her. She told him that it was a mortal sin and that he would go to hell for this. When her neighbor persisted, she fought him and screamed, "No! It is a sin! God does not want it!" At her words, the boy began to choke her and she said she would rather die than submit. Upon hearing her words, he pulled out a knife and stabbed her eleven times. When she attempted to reach the door, he stabbed her three more times then fled. On her deathbed the next day, Maria forgave the boy and said she wanted to see him in Heaven with her. She died that day while looking upon an image of the Virgin Mary and holding a cross to her chest. Saint Maria is called a martyr because she fought against the boy’s attempts at sexual sin; however, the most important aspects of her story are how she forgave her attacker - her concern for her enemy extending even beyond death - and the miracle her forgiveness produced in his life.
Saint Maria Goretti, strengthened by God's grace, you did not hesitate, even at the age of twelve, to sacrifice life itself to defend your virginal purity. Look graciously on the unhappy human race that has strayed far from the path of eternal salvation. Teach us all, and especially our youth, the courage and promptness that will help us avoid anything that could offend Jesus. Obtain for me a great horror of sin, so that I may live a holy life on earth and win eternal glory in heaven. Amen.