About Our Stained Glass Windows
Saint Maria Goretti, Martyr of Purity
Maria Goretti was the beautiful daughter of a poor farmer who lived near Nettuno about thirty miles southwest of Rome. After her father’s death, her mother took his place in the fields, and Maria at eleven years of age became the acting mother of the family. She washed clothes and dishes, scrubbed floors, taught her little brothers and sisters their prayers and cooked for the household of ten. No one remembers her ever to have complained. Her kindness was known all over the neighborhood: “What a little angel Maria is”. Maria was the mature fruit of a plain household, where there was prayer, where the children were reared in the fear of God, in obedience to their parents, in the love of truth, modesty and purity, and where from childhood they learned to be content with little and to be of willing help at home and in the fields.
Maria Goretti did not hesitate to travel a long, dusty road in order to receive her Eucharistic Jesus. One day she said, “I don’t know at what time tomorrow I will receive Holy Communion“. That tomorrow was to come, and that Holy Communion. But what a tomorrow, and what a Communion! The very afternoon of the day on which she spoke those words, she shed her blood in order to remain true to the Bridegroom of Virgins. A young man of twenty, corrupted by the reading of violent and lewd literature, had conceived a lustful passion for her. When, after long pursuit, Maria steadfastly refused to give in to him, he became infuriated and wounded her fourteen times with a knife nine and one half inches long. The next day from her hospital bed, she forgave her murderer without hesitation: “I want him to go to heaven also”. In a high fever caused by the wounds, she started up just before she died and uttered her last words: “What are you doing, Alexander? You’ll go to hell”. This was on the Feast of the Precious Blood, July 6, 1902.
His Holiness, Pope Pius XII said: “Those individuals err greatly who consider virginity as the effect of ignorance or the simplicity of small souls. They who smile with pity on virgins, thinking of them as passionless, ardorless or inexperienced, misjudge their true worth. How can he or she, who has ceded without struggle, imagine the courage required to dominate through long years, without an instant weakness, the secret excitations and troubles of sense and heart… We must admire the strength of pure hearts. It is a mysterious power… above the unhealthy marshes and filth of the world, stretches an immense heaven of beauty. It is the heaven which fascinated little Maria; the heaven to which she longed to ascend by the only road that leads there – which is religion, the love of Christ, and heroic observance of His Commandments”.
We ask your aid, Saint Maria Goretti, in keeping us chaste in thought and pure in body. In all temptations help us repeat your warning cry: “No, no, God does not want it”.