Every so often, the community fax machine brings with it a notice from the Generalate in Rome: a one-page write-up about a sister who has just died. We got one of them yesterday. A very elderly sister, born in 1913 and in a semi-comatose state for the past ten years, had died in our nursing-home community in the Alban Hills outside of Rome (near Castel Gondolfo). "Maestra Placida" was from Maria Goretti's town of Corinaldo. It was her mother who had been the first neighbor to assist the mortally wounded girl.
Poor St. Maria Goretti! After a painful (horrific) martyrdom, she has largely been written off by political correctness. I have heard that we should not hold her up as a model, because (it is said) we are, in effect, telling girls that death is better than rape. But that is not the point at all. Alessandro, her attacker, had attempted on several occasions to seduce the fatherless girl, and she had rejected him flatly because of the immorality of his suggestions. It was just that this final time, he was prepared to force her--and she fought back. In the end, of course, she won the paradoxical victory of martyrdom.