Maria Goretti, born in 1890, was the daughter of Italian peasants. Her father died when she was five and she and her mother moved in with another family. Alessandro, the son of this family, would harass Maria sexually. When she was 12 Alessandro, aged 20, attacked her with the intent of raping her. She resisted and was repeatedly stabbed. She was rushed to hospital but died after praying for Alessandro’s repentance.
Maria’s attacker was imprisoned for 30 years. When he was released he begged pardon from Maria’s mother. She replied that since Maria had already forgiven her she could hardly do otherwise. He went on to live a life of prayer, penance and service as the gardener and porter of a Franciscan monastery. He was present with Maria’s mother Assunta when she was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1950. He died piously in 1970.
Saint Maria Goretti is commemorated on July 6. She is patron of youth, teen girls and victims of sexual assault.