Maria Teresa Goretti was born October 16, 1890 in Corinaldo, Italy, the third of sevenchildren in the family of Luigi Goretti and Assunta Carlini. Maria's Birth was a joyful occasion and arrangements were made for her baptism twenty-four hours after birth; she was confirmed in 1896 at the age of six. In search of work her family moved near Paliano (Rome). Here they met the serenelli family, The father Giovanni a widower and his two sons, Gaspare and Alessandro Luigi Goretti died of pneumonia at the age of 41, leaving his wife with six children, Maria Teresa received her First Holy Communion on June 29, 1901 at the age of 10 and was devoted to the mass and the rosary.
The Goretti and Serenelli families continued to live next door to each other. Alessandr began to act harshly toward Maria, attempting to seduce her on several occasions. On July 5, 1902 Alessandro brutally stabbed Maria fourteen times. She lingered for twenty hours after surgery in the hospital of Nettuno. Before receiving the last rites, Maria forgave her assassin and wanted him to gain heaven. Maria died peacefully at 3:00 in the afternoon on July 6, 1902. Alessandro, not being the legal age of 21, was condemned to prison for 30 years. Maria Goretti died at the age of 11 years 9 months and 20 days.
Maria Goretti displayed extraordinary courage and virtue in her short life. Pope Pius XII beautified her on April 27, 1947 and canonized her as a saint on June 24, 1950. Maria's mother lived until October 8, 1954.