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Patron saint of young women, purity, youth, and rape victims, St. Maria Goretti was born Oct. 16, 1890 at Corinaldo, Ancona, Italy. Her father labored in the fields, finally succumbing to malaria. Her mother fought hard to keep the family going. A young man tried to rape Maria in 1902 stabbing her repeatedly when she refused to submit.

Maria forgave the man as she died from those wounds in hospital. Authorities captured the man who was sentenced to prison for 30 years. He had a vision in prison of Maria in a garden with flowers forgiving him for the crime. After serving 27 years, he was released and went to Maria’s mother for forgiveness, which she gave since her daughter had done so as well.

Pope Pius XII canonized Maria in 1950 citing her purity as a great example for young people to follow. She is shown with her arm full of lilies. Her feast day is July 6.

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