A Saint a day: July 6
St. Maria Goretti
Serenelli’s imprisonment and repentance
Alessandro Serenelli was captured shortly after Maria’s death. Originally, he was going to be sentenced to life, but since he was a minor at that time the sentence was commuted to 30 years in prison. It has also been suggested that it was due to her mother’s plea for mercy that he was not sentenced to death. He remained unrepentant and uncommunicative from the world for three years, until a local bishop, Monsignor Giovanni Blandini, visited him in jail. Serenelli wrote a thank you note to the Bishop asking for his prayers and telling him about a dream, “in which Maria Goretti gave him lilies, which burned immediately in his hands.”
After his release, Alessandro Serenelli visited Maria’s still-living mother, Assunta, and begged her forgiveness. She forgave him, saying that if Maria had forgiven him on her deathbed then she could not do less, and they attended Mass together the next day, receiving Holy Communion side by side. Alessandro reportedly prayed every day to Maria Goretti and referred to her as “my little saint.” He attended her canonization in 1950.
Serenelli later became a lay brother of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, living in a monastery and working as its receptionist and gardener until dying peacefully in 1970.