St. Maria Goretti is one of the youngest saints of the Roman Catholic Church. She died a martyr to preserve, and seal with her blood, her love of Jesus and her loyalty to God’s commandments.
On June 25th of the Holy Year 1950, St. Maria Goretti was given the supreme honors of the Catholic Church by being raised to sainthood. Pope Pius XII, was the first to invoke this little saint—“St. Maria Goretti, pray for us!” Thus terminated the process of Canonization of ‘the St. Agnes of the 20th century.”
St. Maria Goretti was beatified by Pope Pius XII on April 27, 1947. Among the vast crowd that thronged St. Peter’s Basilica on that memorable April day were Maria’s own mother, brother and two sisters. In his address to the pilgrims, who had come for the Beatification ceremony, largely Catholic Action groups of girls, the Holy Father congratulated the mother for the “incomparable happiness of having seen her daughter elevated to the honors of the altar.” Maria, he added, is the mature fruit of a Christian home with its old, simple method of education, ‘of a home where one prays, where the children are brought up in the fear of God, in obedience to their parents, in the love of truth and self-respect; accustomed to be satisfied with little and to give a helping hand.” Comparing Maria with St. Agnes, the Pope remarked that “the delicate grace of these adolescent girls might make us overlook their courage; yet strength is the virtue of virgins and martyrs.
“St. Agnes in the vortex of pagan society; St. Aloysius Gonzaga at the elegantly licentious courts of the Renaissance; St. Maria Goretti living close to, pursued by, the passion of shameless persons; they were neither ignorant nor impassible, but were strong, strong with that supernatural strength of which every Christian receives the seed in Baptism, but which must be cultivated by a careful education.
“Our Beata was a strong soul. She knew and understood; and that is precisely why she preferred to die. She was not merely an innocent ‘ingenue,’ instinctively frightened by the shadow of sin. She was not sustained solely by a natural feeling of modesty. No, though still young, she already gave signs of the intensity and depth of her love for the Divine Redeemer…” The Holy Father then denounced present day public immorality and called on Catholics to react boldly.
Lives of the Saints, Pgs. 259-261