Thursday, July 06, 2023

St. Maria Goretti and Alessandro Serenelli

I'm not one who has visions or dreams* about Jesus or spiritual events. I just plod along reading one of my 10 Bibles, 20 reference books, or miscellaneous articles in magazines for insight. However, occasionally God puts before me the story of Saint Maria Goretti to remind me of his command to forgive others as we have been forgiven (Lord's prayer). I've come across this story numerous times. Today there she was again on p. 81 of the July issue of Magnificat. Maria was a young Italian girl sexually assaulted and stabbed to death by Alessandro Serenelli. He was arrested, tried and jailed, all the while blaming others and society for his sins. Maria appeared to him years later in a dream in prison, and she forgave him. Although he was still denying he was to blame for his deeds, his life changed. He was released from prison after 27 years (probably in part because of his changed life) and was also forgiven in person by Maria's mother, who was still alive. Unlike the 5th century or 10th century martyr stories, this all happened in the 20th century, so there are accurate reports, even photographs. Alessandro lived out his life as a Capuchin lay brother serving others, and lived long enough to attended Maria's canonization in 1950. There are churches and parishes named for her, and I'm always moved by this story of forgiveness.

 I have such a struggle forgiving Joe Biden that I hope someday I can be as forgiving as Maria and her mother. I'm not there yet.

* I did have one dream, very special, in 1974 when Jesus appeared, but it's been so long I'll need to go back and look for my notes. I've noticed (and you have too) that people my age either forget or embellish important events. I have 20 years of blogs and a lot of notebooks, so somewhere I probably have it recorded.

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