Genesis 22.1-9; Psalm 114; Matthew 9.1-8
She was born in 1890 to a farming family in Coronaldo. When she was 10 years old her father died and the family were forced to leave their farm. They moved to share a farm with another family, the Serenellis. Maria took over the housekeeping duties whilst other family members worked in the fields.
One afternoon Alessandro Serenelli, 20 years old, made sexual advances on Maria, then 11. When she refused him he stabbed her 14 times. Twenty-four hours later she died of her wounds, having expressed forgiveness for Alessandro and having stated that she wanted him to be in Paradise with her. (During Alessandro’s subsequent imprisonment he repented and upon his release he became a lay brother of the Capuchins. He died in 1970 at the age of 87.)
Maria was beatified in 1947 and canonised in 1950. She is the patron saint of rape victims.