Maria Goretti was only 11 years old when she was murdered by a young man, who sought to rape her. She is the patron saint of rape victims.


Maria Goretti was born in 1890 to a poor farmer family in Italy. Her father lost his possessions and the family moved to work in the fields of other farmers. When she was 6 years old, she lost her father and from a very young age was forced to work hard to help her mother raise the other five children. When she was 11 years old, the son of the neighbors, a young man himself, sought to rape her and when she resisted, he stabbed her over and over again. A day later she died of her wounds in hospital. After many years in prison, the murderer repented and told the details of her death. He told that she had resisted, crying out that this was a grave sin. Before her death, she forgave him.

Pope Pius XII recognized her as a blessed in 1947 and as a saint in 1950. She is known as the saints of young girls, rape victims, the poor and of forgiveness.