Thursday, October 22, 2015

St. Maria Goretti

This relic of St. Maria Goretti was a gift to me from a Sister of St. Benedict Center.
I have since given it to one of my sisters but was so blessed to have her in my home for a short time.

The relics of St. Maria Goretti, the eleven year old Italian girl who lost her life to save her purity and the purity of her attacker, and then forgave her murderer before she died, have been on a tour in the United States while the church where they are normally kept is being restored.  The tour has been called "The Pilgrimage of Mercy."  The remarkable story of the conversion of Alessandro Serenelli, St. Maria Goretti's murderer, was highlighted during the tour as well.

I was anxiously anticipating this visit from St. Maria Goretti as the reports coming from her visit in Chicago were amazing. She was escorted by Homeland Security and many of Chicago's finest police officers.  Her story was covered by several secular news outlets and we were told that people would leave her presence with tears in their eyes and a sense of deep love and respect for the saint even if they didn't know anything about her before coming to venerate her relics.

My family was blessed to visit the relics of the youngest saint while she was at St. Mary's Visitation Parish in Elm Grove, Wisconsin.  I had never before witnessed such a long line to enter a church!  It was a beautiful sight!

The line waiting to venerate the relics of St. Maria Goretti at St. Mary's Visitation Parish
in Elm Grove, Wisconsin while we were visiting.  We were told that the lines were long and constant
during the entire time that St. Maria's relics were there.

Each visitor was allowed 15 seconds to venerate St. Maria's relics in the glass case before moving on for silent, private prayer for as long as desired within the church.  While it appears that Maria's body is incorrupt, this is not so.  Maria's skeleton is encased within a wax body.

We were fortunate to find a place in the front row of the church to pray
following our 15-second veneration of the relics.
This photo was taken from that vantage point.

It was deeply moving for my family to pray before the relics of this mighty young girl, perhaps mostly so for my daughter who is very near to the same age as Maria was at the time of her death. Even more moving was the report of a Wisconsin woman who was healed from the degeneration of a ball joint in her arm upon touching the case that contained St. Maria Goretti's relics.

In this upcoming Year of Mercy beginning on December 8th, I pray that I will learn to forgive like the beautiful and remarkable St. Maria Goretti.

If you don't already know her fascinating story, you will want to read about St. Maria Goretti and the Pilgrimage of Mercy and will learn a great deal when you visit this link.

These are the items that I brought to touch to St. Maria Goretti's coffin.
The artwork was purchased at Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
The charms and the small, second-class relic were gifts to my daughter from a
 Handmaid of the Precious Blood.

1 comment:

  1. It was a powerful experience for me as well, Anne. The grace in the church was palpable. I love how this "Pilgrimage of Mercy" comes so close to the "Year of Mercy"- like St. Maria is prepping our hearts for it!

    It did my heart good to see so many people waiting to venerate her! Wow!