Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?

Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."

To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."

As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."

July 6: Saint Maria Goretti

Posted by Jacob

Today, July 6, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Maria Goretti (1890-1902), a Martyr for the faith and example of chastity and obedience. Saint Maria lived a brief but holy life, prompting Cardinal Salotti to proclaim: "Even if she had not been a martyr, she would still have been a saint, so holy was her everyday life.” While the events of her life are tragic, her assertion of the faith earned her a martyr’s crown. Maria is the patron saint of youth, purity, and victims of rape.

Maria Teresa Goretti was born in Corinaldo, Italy, the third of six children. Her family was quite poor, and while Maria was just a child, the family lost their home, farm, and land, and were forced to work for other farmers to survive. Maria’s father died of Malaria when she was just nine. Maria assumed responsibility for the household chores, including cooking, sewing, cleaning, and babysitting her infant sister. Her brothers, mother, and older sister worked the fields, earning money to support the family. Life was difficult, but the family found comfort in each other, and their deep love for the Lord. Eventually, the family was able to move into a building, which they shared with another family, the Serenelli family.

On July 5, 1902, Maria was alone in the home, sewing, when the son of the family they shared a home with, Alessandro Serenelli, found her. He forced his way into her room and threatened her with death if she did not do as he said. Alessandro’s intention was to rape the young girl, but she would not submit, instead praying and reminding her attacker that his intentions constituted a mortal sin. When this didn’t stop him, Maria desperately fought her 19-year-old farmhand attacker. She repeatedly screamed, "No! It is a sin! God does not want it!" Alessandro first choked Maria, attempting to subdue her, but when she insisted she would rather die than submit to him, he stabbed her eleven times. The injured Maria tried to reach for the door, but Alessandro stopped her by stabbing her three more times before running away.

Writing in 2002 based on his own interviews with Alessandro Serenelli and Maria's sister Ersilia in 1952, journalist Noel Crusz provided a more detailed account:

On July 5 in 1902, exactly a hundred years ago, at 3 p.m. whilst [Maria's mother] Assunta and the other children were at the threshing floor, Serenelli who persistently sought sexual favors from the 12-year-old girl approached her. She was taking care of her infant sister in the farm house. Allesandro threatened her with a 10 inch dagger, and when Maria refused, as she had always done, he stabbed her 14 times.

The wounds penetrated the throat, with lesions of the pericardium, the heart, the lungs and the diaphragm. Surgeons at Orsenigo were surprised that the girl was still alive. In a dying deposition, in the presence of the Chief of Police, Maria told her mother of Serenelli's sexual harassment, and two previous attempts made to rape her. She was afraid to reveal this earlier since she was threatened with death.

Maria's little sister Teresa awoke from the noise of the brutal attack and started crying, attracting the attention of Alessandro’s father. When he and Maria’s mother came to check on her, they found Maria near death and rushed her to the nearest hospital. There, she underwent surgery (without anesthesia), but her injuries were too severe. Maria remained awake throughout, by her choice, praying and looking forward to her reunion with the Lord.

History tells us that while she lay dying, the pharmacist of the hospital said to her, "Maria, think of me in Paradise."

She looked to the elderly man, smiling, and said: "Well, who knows, which of us is going to be there first?"

"You, Maria," he replied.

"Then I will gladly think of you," said Maria.

The following day, twenty hours after the attack, having expressed forgiveness for her attacker, received Last Rites and Holy Communion, and stating that she wanted Allesandro in Heaven with her, Maria died of her injuries, while looking at a beautiful picture of Our Blessed Mother. Maria’s relics are venerated in the crypt of the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie e Santa Maria Goretti in Nettuno, south of Rome. Numerous miracles have been reported at her intercession.

Alessandro Serenelli was captured shortly after Maria's death. Originally, he was going to be sentenced to life, but since he was a minor at that time, the sentence was commuted to 30 years in prison. He remained unrepentant and uncommunicative from the world for three years, until a local bishop, Monsignor Giovanni Blandini, visited him in jail. Serenelli wrote a thank you note to the Bishop asking for his prayers and telling him about a dream, "in which Maria Goretti gave him lilies, which burned immediately in his hands.” From that moment, he repented, and sought forgiveness for his sins.

After his release, Alessandro Serenelli visited Maria's still-living mother, Assunta, and begged her forgiveness. She forgave him, saying that if Maria had forgiven him on her deathbed then she couldn't do less, and they attended Mass together the next day, receiving Holy Communion side by side. Alessandro reportedly prayed every day to Maria Goretti and referred to her as "my little saint." He attended her canonization in 1950, and eventually became a lay brother of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, residing in the order’s monastery and working as a receptionist and gardener until his death.

The short life of Saint Maria Goretti is remarkable, not for her valiant struggle against her attacker, but her forgiveness. Maria truly embodied the Christian spirit of love, offering her attacker peace and the forgiveness of Christ, not only while she was alive, but after her death by visiting her attacker in jail. We are reminded today to examine those grudges and angers we hold against others for even the smallest slights, and to remember the power of love and forgiveness as modeled for us by the young Saint Maria Goretti.

Excerpt from Canonization Homily of Saint Maria Goretti, delivered by Pope Pius XII:

“It is well known how this young girl had to face a bitter struggle with no way to defend herself. Without warning a vicious stranger (actually Alessandro Serenelli who lived with his father in the same house as the Goretti's.) burst upon her, bent on raping her and destroying her childlike purity. In that moment of crisis she could have spoken to her Redeemer in the words of that classic, The Imitation of Christ: "Though tested and plagued by a host of misfortunes, I have no fear so long as your grace is with me. It is my strength, stronger than any adversary; it helps me and gives me guidance." With splendid courage she surrendered herself to God and his grace and so gave her life to protect her virginity.

"The life of this simple girl—I shall concern myself only with highlights—we can see as worthy of heaven. Even today people can look upon it with admiration and respect. Parents can learn from her story how to raise their God-given children in virtue, courage and holiness; they can learn to train them in the Catholic faith so that, when put to the test, God's grace will support them and they will come through undefeated, unscathed and untarnished.

"From Maria's story carefree children and young people with their zest for life can learn not to be led astray by attractive pleasures which are not only ephemeral and empty but also sinful. Instead they can fix their sights on achieving Christian moral perfection, however difficult and hazardous that course may prove. With determination and God's help all of us can attain that goal by persistent effort and prayer.

"Not all of us are expected to die a martyr's death, but we are all called to the pursuit of Christian virtue. This demands strength of character though it may not match that of this innocent girl. Still, a constant, persistent and relentless effort is asked of us right up to the moment of our death. This may be conceived as a slow steady martyrdom which Christ urged upon us when he said: The kingdom of heaven is set upon and laid waste by violent forces.

"So let us all, with God's grace, strive to reach the goal that the example of the virgin martyr, Saint Maria Goretti, sets before us. Through her prayers to the Redeemer may all of us, each in his own way, joyfully try to follow the inspiring example of Maria Goretti who now enjoys eternal happiness in heaven."

Oh Saint Maria Goretti who, strengthened by God's grace, did not hesitate even at the age of twelve to shed your blood and sacrifice life itself to defend your virginal purity, look graciously on the unhappy human race which has strayed far from the path of eternal salvation. Teach us all, and especially youth, with what courage and promptitude we should flee for the love of Jesus anything that could offend Him or stain our souls with sin. Obtain for us from our Lord victory in temptation, comfort in the sorrows of life, and the grace which we earnestly beg of thee (here insert intention), and may we one day enjoy with thee the imperishable glory of Heaven. Amen.

Year 2: Day 187 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Courage in the face of difficulty; Comfort in the truth of our faith.
Requested Intentions: For a daughter’s successful examination results (A); Occupational success, health and safety of family (S); Reduction in anxiety for husband, financial freedom (S); Healing for a sister-in-law (J); For a family experiencing a difficult child custody case (M); Reunification of a family struggling with separation (M): For a son struggling with mental illness (M); Successful examination results (B); To be freed from the chains of sin (J); Admission to a good university (M); For successful surgery (T); For a mother’s mental health and for kindness and forgiveness, for housing problems, for dental health (T); For the soul of a departed friend (X); Restoration of health (D); Successful employment for couple (N); For employment for children (K); For health of friend, for successful relationships for children, for safe pregnancy for daughter (C); For the health of a mother (J); Virtue for daughter (V); Successful acceptance to college for nephew (M); For the health of a cousin (T); Freedom from legal difficulties for husband (S); Husband’s freedom from illness (L).


  1. Anonymous said...

    Please pray that my daughter is offered the post as staff midwife when she receives her results this week.
    Help another daughter to get top marks in her dissertation for her children's nursing degree.Let her meet her soul partner very soon and be very happy.
    Let another daughter be accepted to do her PGCE for teaching. Answer all my prayers and my families prayers. St. Maria Goretti pray for me and all my family. Look after me, my husband,my children grandchildren and all their families. Thank you.

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