Tuesday, 6 July 2010

St. Maria Gorretti, Virgin Martyr

I have long believed that St. Maria Gorretti is one of the most important saints of modern times (born in 1890 and stabbed to death in 1902 at the age of twelve). This should not be an optional memorial. These days, the idea that a young girl should defend her virginity as Maria did, by referring to the Will of God, is unthinkable to many in our diseased western society.

We know that many teenage girls and young women these days go out on Friday and Saturday nights with the express purpose of having sex. I would guess that hardly any young couples getting married today are still virgins, and as for the virtue of chastity - it's something of a joke now even amongst Catholic young people. At the same time, we have the sexualisation of the young through fashion and certain aspects of the media and the almost paranoid fear of child abuse. Children are to be protected at all costs - except when it comes to the behaviour of their own parents and older siblings or with regard to the clothes they are made to wear.

How we need the prayers of virgin martyrs today.


  1. Thank you for your post. I had heard St. Maria Gorretti's name mentioned in the past but I did not know anything about her life until prompted by your post to read further. My youngest girl is 12 years old and so St. Maria Gorretti death took on a special meaning for me.

  2. Don't give up hope Father, you might find this article from April this year, uplifting. The girl interviewed, has come back to the Church and also appeared on "This Morning" on Thursday, last week promoting celibacy.


    A positive confirmation of 'where sin abounds, how much more does grace abound'

  3. What I want to know is: why doesn't the Church recognize male virgin martyrs as such ? After all, men have to struggle for purity at least as much as women, if not more.

    I've also sometimes run into women who have misread St. Maria's life as being condemning of rape victims who submit under threat of violence, and have been justly repelled by that.

    Actually, St. Maria's spirit of forgiveness and concern for the souls of others is, IMHO, even more impressive than her chastity. After saying "God does not want it !" she also said to Alessandro, "You'll go to Hell !". (Were I in fear for my life, I'm afraid my attacker's soul would not be high up on my list of things to worry about !) As she was slowly dying from 14 stab wounds, she stated that she forgave Alessandro and hoped to see him in Heaven. Now that is true Christian charity !

  4. Narwen, you make some very good points here. I am thinking now of the Uganda martyrs, some of whom were definitely "virgin martyrs". You are also right about the forgiveness of St. Maria. Many thanks