Religion: Little Martyr

In Rome last week, for the first time in history, a mother heard her daughter canonized a saint. In a place of special honor near the papal throne, 86-year-old Assunta Goretti sat with her two sons and two daughters and wept. "My daughter, my daughter," she cried. "My little Marietta!"

In 1902, Maria Goretti, daughter of poor sharecroppers on the Pontine marshes south of Rome, was eleven years old. When 19-year-old Alessandro Serenelli tried to rape her, she resisted him, even though he stabbed her to death. As she lay dying, Maria forgave Serenelli and promised to pray for him in heaven....

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