Relic of popular Italian Catholic saint coming to Tulsa

Nov 07, 2015 1138

By Bill Sherman

The bones of Saint Maria Goretti, a popular Roman Catholic saint who lived a century ago in Italy, will be in Tulsa next week, part of a visit to 25 dioceses in 16 states. It is the first time the relic has been in the United States, and only the second time it has been out of Italy. Maria Goretti is the youngest saint in the Catholic Church. She died at age 11. Her shrine in Nettuno, Italy, south of Rome, draws a million visitors a year.

"I can remember as a young boy in grade school in Chicago when she was canonized by Pope Pius XII," said Bishop Edward J. Slattery of the Diocese of Tulsa. Slattery said Goretti was born into a poor family in Italy, and lost her father when she was 6, requiring her to look after five siblings while her mother worked in the fields. She also cooked and cleaned for two neighbor families. A 20-year-old son in one of those families — Allesandro Serenelli — tried to rape her. As she fought him off, he stabbed her numerous times. She died the next day from the wounds.

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