Saint Maria Goretti was born near Corinaldo in 1890. She was one of six children, and the family moved to Colle Gainturco in 1896, then later to Ferriere di Conco, near the Roman Campagna.
Not long after moving there, her father was striken with malaria and died. Her mother made ends as best she could, with much difficulty. On one day, Maria was sitting at the top of the stairs of their house, when a local boy named Alexander came into the house and seized her, attempting to violate the young girl of 12. After ripping her dress half off the girl, she screamed in resistance, and he proceeded to stab her several times before fleeing.
St. Maria was sure to die, and in the company of her mother, her priest, a Spanish noblewoman, and two nuns stayed by her bed the whole night. The next day, after receiving Viaticum, she passed. Her accepting behavior of her fate, and the forgiveness she showed her murderer struck all in a singular way.
The man was given 30 years penal servitude. He was unrepentent, but Maria camed to him in a vision, offering flowers to him in forgiveness, and he was a changed man. Alexander upon release went immediately to her mother to beg forgiveness. This saint came to the attention of Pius XII as she was blessed in 1947. Later he would canonize Saint Maria Goretti, with her mother present, her sisters and brother, and Alexander who was still alive.