Catholic Activity: St. Maria Goretti -- Model of Chastity
Mary Newland uses the life and martyrdom of this young saint as a teaching example for chastity and sex education. This text spells things out, so adults should read this, and pass on the story appropriate to the age level of the child(ren).
There is the barest little bit known about Maria Goretti's life. Perhaps this is because it was the barest little life. Even with her mother giving the facts, only a little has been said. It could be written down in a paragraph. There were almost twelve years, surely filled with things that would help us raise our own children, yet it seems hardly any of it is known. That is odd, when she was to die a martyr and be known as the chaste patronness of modern youth. But then there are no signs posted ahead of time which say: "This way to the home of a future martyr." No one is given the insight to follow martyrs about with a pad and pencil and jot down the kind of things they say and do before they become martyrs. The challenge in such a life as Maria Goretti's is to discover, knowing how it ended, what it was made of, because martyrdom and sanctity are never an accident. They are earned.
She was born in 1890 and she died in 1902, when she was a little less than twelve years old. If she had lived she would be sixty-six today. But we may not think of her as anything but a little less than twelve. Time and years and birthdays as we celebrate them are only for this world. There is no time in the next. Maria is eternally a little less than twelve.
Her mother was orphaned at five and spent all her growing-up years working as a helper in the various families where she stayed. That she persevered to a chaste nineteen before she met and loved Luigi Goretti says much of her. Luigi was a farmer, young, sturdy, handsome, and Assunta loved him fiercely all her life. The early years of their marriage — the beginning of their family — were spent in Corinaldo, a spot both of them loved and were sad to leave. But they were poor and such a bit of land could not support them, lovely as it was. So they moved, then moved again finally to Ferriere di Conca to live in a cascina antica — an old dairy barn — in the most pestilent area in all Italy at that time, the undrained Pontine marshes.
They were so poor that even as tenant farmers they could not manage their holding without the help of another family, the Giovanni Serenellis. Giovanni Serenelli was a crook ten different ways, and had maneuvered all the agreements with the owner so that everything was in his name. It was not to the liking of either Luigi or Assunta that they had to share the land, much less their home, with the Serenellis.
Giovanni Serenelli was a widower. His wife had died after a series of catastrophic events beginning with the nervous breakdown of a son in the seminary. In her derangement following this shock, she was found one day by another son trying to drown her youngest, Alessandro, in a well. It was her pathetic plea that "It is better for him to die now than to live and suffer." So they took Signora Serenelli away, leaving the five-year-old Alessandro without a mother. He had loved her very much. Long years afterwards he said: "After my mother attempted to take my life, they locked her up. I loved my mother. She was a very good woman. I missed her terribly. That was the beginning of all my troubles."1
Alessandro went to live with his father and the Gorettis after spending several years with a married sister and her family. Nearby was the vice-ridden neighborhood of the waterfront. Unlike Maria, he was neither illiterate nor innocent when he went to farming with his father, and what he left behind in the way of amusement, his father made up for with indecent literature. The boy bore up under the rigor and boredom of their bleak existence with the help of his dirty magazines, while the father had his bottle.
These were the people who shared the Goretti's home. This is amazing. This child Maria had absolutely none of the things our society insists are necessary if one is to turn out even half well. Her environment was poor. Her education was nil. Her diet dwindled to starvation rations the last two years of her life. Her responsibilities were far above what is considered bearable for a ten-year-old, who at that age had to take over the role of mother while her mother took over the role of father. For Luigi, broken with the hard work and infectious air of the marches, died of combined typhoid, malaria, meningitis and pneumonia when Maria was ten. She had no clothes to speak of, no play to speak of, and, long before it was time for it to end, she had no childhood to speak of. Maria Goretti had absolutely nothing — unless, of course, you remember that she had the love of God. God made Maria out of His own divine love, for Himself alone, and came to dwell in her at Baptism, strengthen her at Confirmation and finally — but only four times — to be her food in Holy Communion. Maria Goretti had nothing but God. She learned about Him from a mother who could neither read nor write and from the sermons of the parish priest whose Sunday morning talks were all she ever had of formal teaching until she prepared, at ten, for her First Communion.
Heaven forbid that anyone think, reading this or any other life of St. Maria Goretti, that the key to sanctity is illiteracy. What God is showing us, among other things, with the life of this saint is that He alone can be quite enough. He is showing us that having nothing, we do have all things in Him. We need to know this saint in order to appreciate with a holy fear just how much we let things get in the way of what we are here for.
The whole point of this life on earth is to do God's will. This is starkly evident in the life of Maria Goretti. The Goretti's poverty served this end. More than poverty, it was destitution that insistently taught them that there was nowhere to go, no one to turn to but God. Maria learned this so well that it was she who repeated the familiar encouragements she had heard from her father, when they were needed by her mother: At least they had their health; divine Providence would help them; they would be all right.
Among the things God has given us to use in doing His will are our bodies. Maria learned God's will in respect to her body and the bodies of others. This is the lesson she teaches: our bodies are good and holy and have a high purpose, and they are to be used only for God. There is nowhere any mention of a "vow" in the life of this saint. There is nothing to lead anyone to suspect she would have grown up to become a nun. She was beautiful, as Assunta and her neighbors have said, but either she did not know it or, if she did, thought little about it. Unlike the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, her parents had had no thought of entering religion, but, meeting, had fallen in love instantly. Theirs was a devoted love affair that left an indelible mark on the lives of their children. Human love, the sacrament of marriage, the bearing of babies were things Maria knew about from the example and teaching of her parents. She matured very early, as do all youngsters in southern Europe, and at only eleven her young figure was beginning to show its womanliness. Assunta, as do all good mothers, anticipated and explained things ahead of time and warned her against certain kinds of company, conversations, occasions. Yet all the time the viper in this affair was living in the bosom of the family and Assunta did not know it.
Alessandro seemed to be good enough. He went to Mass. He used no unbecoming language. He was present often enough at the family Rosary in the evenings. Only one thing was strange: he seemed not to know how to enjoy himself. He did not seek the normal recreations of a boy of eighteen. Assunta noticed but did not notice. These things she saw out of the corner of her eye, but he gave her no trouble so he was no cause for concern.
Until the day she went in to clean his room and saw the pictures he had put on the wall. She was shocked, horrified, disgusted. How dare he, in their home, with their children about?
"If you don't like them, don't look at them." And her protests came to nothing. He did not take them down. To the Serenellis Assunta was little more than a slave and Luigi a fool, and Giovanni held the whip.
After Luigi's death, Giovanni outsmarted her at the harvest, leaving her in debt again. He kept the key to the cupboard, leaving her children hungry. He insulted them, cursed, spat, staggered through their life and there was nothing to do but take it. This was the means by which Assunta and Maria died their daily death to self. This was the purification, excruciating but speedy, that God permitted in order that these two souls be prepared for the gift of martyrdom. The mother must willingly surrender the child who would wear the crown. Assunta was teaching her illiterate child, in her illiterate way, how to die — although she did not remotely guess it. She was teaching Maria to do everything for love, for the love of God and His most pure Mother.
As a little girl Maria had heard both from her father and her mother the story of God's love — the story of Creation, the Fall, and the Redemption. As a bit more than a little little girl, she told the same stories to her brothers and sisters. God's love was the only reality. The rest was to be endured like a bad dream for love of Him, and one day there would be heaven. She took over the household, therefore, and for love of Him she scrubbed the clothes, the floors, cooked the poor, tasteless meals. She was a pitiful cook with neither experience nor the knack for cooking. She swallowed down the insults and the curses from old Serenelli, and gave more of her food than was necessary to the younger children. Assunta complained to Conte Mazzoleni about the locked cupboard and got a key for herself, and for her pains the insults and the curses were doubled. There was a veritable garden of small daily deaths from which to gather: the dirt and stench of the Serenelli's clothes; the tobacco juice spat everywhere; the profanity, when the names he used were the names of Jesus and Mary; the insults, when — innocent though Maria was — she well knew the meaning of his accusations.
But she thought of the Passion and it gave her strength, and she fled daily to the Madonna as her Sorrowful Mother, and she hung on to her rosary and prayed.
She mended — miles of mending. She rocked babies, fed them, washed them, played with them, kept them out of her mother's way, settled their quarrels for them, taught them their prayers and all the doctrine she had ever learned. She walked miles upon miles, to the store at Conca, to Nettuno to market the doves and the eggs, and finally that last fateful year to the friend at Conca and the priest at Campomorto from whom she learned the Christian doctrine necessary in order to receive her First Holy Communion. She longed for Jesus in Holy Communion.
On the morning of Corpus Christi, May 29, 1902, she went to receive her First Holy Communion. She did not even have a white dress. A new dress, but not a white one, was her gift from her mother. It was wine color with white dots. One neighbor's gift was a pair of shoes, another her lovely veil, another the carefully wrought wreath of flowers. And Assunta clasped about Maria's throat her own coral necklace and presented her with the precious gold earrings Luigi had given her years before. She had prepared herself and her child for this event with every ounce of her energy and love.
That morning before she left for Mass she stood meekly before each member of her family, and Giovanni and Alessandro as well, to beg their pardon for all her offenses, according to the custom.
Assunta was in every way as anxious for this day as Maria. When the Mass was finally over, she watched her child as she remained silent and recollected in her pew after the others had left. She was satisfied. Her Mariettina would be stronger and safer now that she had received Jesus in Holy Communion. She did not know how strong, nor dream how safe.
Maria knew about human love. She knew about the things a mother explains to her daughter when it is time for that marvelous cycle of preparation to begin its monthly course in the body of a young girl. She had seen her mother and father side by side, loving companions. She had seen that they shared the same room, the same bed. She had seen her mother's body heavy with the dignity of motherhood. She undoubtedly knew something of childbirth, and she was used to the sight of mothers nursing their babies. She had some knowledge of the abuses of these great gifts of the body, enough to stand shocked, her face burning, when she heard one of her own companions at First Communion banter shamelessly about these things with a passing boy. She told her mother, and to Assunta's, "Do not listen to such words, nor repeat them," she replied, "I would rather die."
Suddenly one day she knew, with racing fear, that Alessandro's nearness and his compliments and the coaxing in his voice meant all these things put together in a way that was not God's will. She darted away from him, frightened, horrified, and he hissed after her: "If you tell your mother, I will kill you."
Not Alessandro! But he was like her brother! He was already nineteen and she was only a little girl, not yet twelve!
But Alessandro had steadily and surely fed his appetite for lust. He had trained it with his months of reading, gazing, thinking. The mind and the soul are constantly forming habits and Alessandro had formed in his the habit of impurity. He had narrowed the horizons of his imagination until Maria's charming dignity and chaste beauty did not represent to him something to admire and praise, but something to desire and spoil.
Poor Alessandro. Little did he knew that in the story of the child he would martyr he would stand for all the boys and girls whose minds and souls have been ravished by dirty literature, pornographic pictures, suggestive movies, indecent entertainments, all the rest. Like so many young people, he became preoccupied more and more with passion and lust because no one had turned his mind in a different direction.
Maria had always told her mother everything, but this time she could not. With so much to worry her, so much insecurity, poverty, cheating, weariness, Assunta had already more than she could bear. And this was so shameful! How could she ever find the words to express it? Maria could not add the last and most dreadful of all worries. They were helplessly entangled in the agreement with Conte Mazzoleni and Serenelli. Their hope lay in one more harvest, one more chance to pay off their debt. Then, somehow, at long last they would return to Corinaldo; Luigi had begged this piteously for them as he lay dying. She could not tell her mother yet.
She watched carefully. She planned so she was never alone with Alessandro. She worked harder and, if it were possible, prayed more. And Alessandro changed. From the silent, unprovocative lad of the past few years, he became surly, whining, accusing, adding his complaints to his father's. He swore at her, criticized, commanded, abused, and she accepted it silently, uncomplainingly. Assunta looked on amazed, curious at the shift in their relationship.
Another time he appeared suddenly at her side, too close, his hands out to her, insinuating. And again she ran away, terrified, but not before she had heard: "If you tell your mother, I will kill you." He meant it. She knew.
From then on it was war between them, though not in any way Assunta recognized. She was too exhausted to notice anything. But Maria knew she would die. She was only a little less than twelve and she lived with the knowledge of her death for two, then three, then four weeks. Every morning was the morning she might die. Every afternoon. Every evening. Every parting might be the last time. Every meal, every sleep. Every kiss from Assunta might be the last kiss. Every child tucked in, rocked, blessed, might be the last. Every Mass, every Communion.
Some people go mad waiting like this, but not Maria. She was prepared. Her mind and her soul had formed habits too. Her courage and endurance and sanity were made of the hours and days and weeks of grinding work given to God, the hardship, hunger, damp, sorrow, the prayers, the songs she had sung to the little ones, the patterns she had stitched with her mending, the burned pasta, the smell of the scrub water, the slime of the tobacco stains, the shame of those pictures on the walls of that room. All these things she had given to God through the hands of His Blessed Mother, her darling Madonna in front of whose picture she had burned so many stumps of candles, arranged so many bunches of wild flowers, and cried so many tears.
She had been preparing for this years before when she began to learn the story of God's love and that His will alone is perfect; when she learned to respect her body and the bodies of others, to clothe it modestly, to care for it reverently. She had been preparing for this when she saw her mother and the other mothers she knew growing big with life; when she sometimes heard cries in the night and learned that a child had been born; when she saw the women nurse their babies at their breasts. She grew up knowing that God had made her body and the bodies of others for His holy will.
Priests give their bodies to God to do His holy will. She knew this. They have a sacrament of their own, which elevates their gift of life-giving all the way to heaven. Their sacrament gives them the power to bring Him down to be the food of the souls begotten by the married.
Maria Goretti knew the married had their sacrament, in which to beget with God's help the bodies and souls He has known forever, for whom He waits until each two give their consent. She knew the horror of sin — any sin, not just sins of the flesh. The secret of her holiness was that she loved God with her whole heart and whole soul and her neighbor as herself. Not only was she willing to die rather than sin, but she was willing to die rather than permit her neighbor to sin.
It was bound to happen. Alessandro had moved steadily in the direction of the goal the devil had contrived for him, while Maria had grown in the likeness of Christ.
It was a hot day, the sixth of July, in the year of her First Communion, 1902. It was five weeks after she had received the Body of Christ for the first time. After lunch, she sat mending on the landing of the outside stairs leading to their home with the sleeping baby Teresa beside her. Alessandro was threshing beans in the field with the others. He excused himself and ran to the house. Upstairs he went, past Maria, then downstairs and into the toolshed. Then he ran upstairs again. Would he never be done and get back to the field? She sat with her head down, concentrating on her mending.
"Maria. Come here."
"What do you want?"
"I said come here!"
"Not until you tell me what you want."
He reached out and grabbed her, dragged her into the kitchen, kicked the door closed and shot the bolt. A dagger was in his hand. He was wild. Now she would give in to him or he would really kill her! But she would not.
"No! Alessandro, no! It is a sin! Don''t do it! You will go to hell, Alessandro! God doesn't want it!"
She didn't die just defending her chastity. She died defending her chastity in defense of God's law. Many good girls have died defending themselves from rape but they are not martyrs. Maria Goretti died a martyr.
The neighbors used to call her poverina, poor little one. But Maria was not a poverina. Who is poor who knows that possessing God she possesses all things, and that in doing His will is all perfection? This is what St. Maria Goretti teaches our children. She is not just a saint of chastity. She is a saint whose love and obedience and prayer bore fruit in sublime chastity. She is the child of parents who knew they were supposed to raise saints but had no way of knowing they would. They knew little else but that to do God's will in all things is the secret of sanctity. How well they taught this child!
This is the beginning for us, too, if we would teach our children about chastity. We cannot start with chastity. We start with the love of God, with doing His will in all things.
The first lesson in chastity comes when children are very small, and we find they explore their bodies with their hands. Although this is innocent and there is no grave fault, it must be corrected, gently and lovingly, not ignored. And they can begin to pray for the grace to love purity.
Through the many phases of their growing curiosity it must be explained again and again. They learn that it is not amusing to laugh at their bodies busy about bathroom functions. "God is wise and good to give us bodies that keep us well so easily." They learn to guard their conversations, to correct their playmates. "It isn't very nice to laugh about things like that. God made your body and it is good." They learn that a baby is in its mother's body before it is born. "Isn't it lovely that God planned it this way, so the baby is safe and snug in his mother? Remember, Our Lady carried her Baby that way! How good God is to let all mothers be like Our Lady!"
They learn that mothers feed their babies from their breasts. They learn by seeing it done in the family, or, if it cannot be accomplished there, by seeing it done in other families, or perhaps by seeing it reverently portrayed in works of art. They must learn. "Our Lady fed her Baby that way. She is praised for it in the Gospels."
They learn soon enough that much of the world does not think this is what bosoms are for.
"Why do the boys whistle at the girls?"
"Because, I am sorry to say, some are looking at their bosoms with immodest eyes and thinking immodest thoughts."
"At their bosoms! But that isn't what God made bosoms for! God made bosoms for babies!"
This came from a seven-year-old. It is terribly important that he know it at seven. It is the basis of all his future knowledge of God's will in the matter of bosoms, babies, his body, the bodies of the girls he will know, and sex. The young must learn that we are meant to be, by the right use of our bodies in marriage (if that is to be our vocation), sharers in God's work of creating, of "making babies," as children say. Children must be formed in this conviction from the time they are tiny, in the ways best suited to their years, or they will fall victim to the lamentable state of mind which concerns itself only with the secondary, and not the primary, purpose of sex, its pleasures. That this state of mind is widespread is evident in the repeated question: "How far can one go without committing sin?" That God has designed the pleasures of sex to be enjoyed within the sacrament of marriage only, as part of the loving relationship between husband and wife who give their bodies to the doing of God's will, is simply not understood — or if it is, it is rejected. This must not be if we would raise children who will be strong in chastity. The primary purpose of sex is to bring forth in marriage the souls God loves. In short, sex is "for babies" too.
So — that is why we do not approve of ladies who are photographed in immodest dresses and appear on the covers of magazines. "Boy, that's awful! Letting them take her picture in that and then putting it on a magazine. That's not what God made her bosom for — picture-taking." This is the understanding of the seven-year-old by the time he is nine. This is his preparation for one day choosing, judging, rejecting, certain movies, television shows, magazines, reading and companions.
Why do people do such things, if God does not want them to? Because with every beautiful thing God has made, that has a right and a good purpose, the devil will try to tamper.
"That is why we must be careful to dress modestly, not to wear tight sweaters and blouses, low-cut necklines, suggestive designs in our clothes. Not because there is something wrong with a lovely bosom. Indeed there is not. God designed each young body and each is holy and good. But the devil will try to make others sin with their eyes and their thoughts, so we must do our part in guarding their purity as well as our own."
Sooner or later we must explain menstruation, the sign of the great creative gift God has given every girl's body. This has been so degraded by undignified terms, by slang words, by innuendoes that strip it of all purpose, that much of womankind is convinced it has no reason beyond being a nuisance. We must be careful to give our daughters and our sons the sense of awe and wonder this great manifestation deserves.
"This process will begin some time soon, dear, and when it does you must remember that it means you are growing up, becoming a young woman. God has only one end in mind for the whole race of humankind: He wants us to be with Him forever in heaven. In order to have the souls He has planned, they must be born in bodies. They are born of men and women who marry and become parents of families. The mysterious process that will take place soon in your body will be a sign that you would be able to bear a baby. It is a sign of the great power God has given your body.
"Each month from one of two very small organs called ovaries, one tiny, tiny egg will begin to travel its perilous journey down a little tube to the place where, if you were to become a mother, it would fasten itself and begin to grow into a child. Because you are not married, nor ready to become a mother yet, it will instead be cast out of your body along with the intricate preparation made by the blood vessels in that small chamber called the womb. That is why we call Jesus, in the Hail Mary, the "fruit of thy womb, Jesus." He grew in Mary's womb. You see how holy a body is from this fact. God did not spurn Mary's human body as a resting place for His unborn Son.
"Sometimes there may be a bit of discomfort during menstruation. Sometimes it may be slightly painful. Think of the discomfort or pain as part of the great privilege that goes with being a girl, whom God has given the gift of life-bearing. Guard your body carefully. Be careful of your health as well as your thoughts and conversations. All must be kept in careful custody until God's plan for your body is clear to you. He has had a plan for you since before He made the world, since He has had you in His mind, since forever. If you are to be a mother one day, He already knows who your children will be!"
But what if one is not meant to become a mother? What if one is to become a nun? The gift of life-bearing, so great, so nearly divine, is the young nun's wedding gift to her Beloved, her Bridegroom, the Son of God, not a rejection of it but an offering of it, in exchange for which she asks to be made fruitful in bringing forth Christ in the many souls she will teach, nurse, watch over, pray for. Man is not a pure spirit without a body. He is body and soul and with both he must serve and praise and worship God. Whether in marriage or virginity, whatever his vocation, always he must make God the gift of his body.
One day it will occur to children to ask what part the father has in the making of babies. Perhaps they will ask what must happen to make a baby begin. Perhaps they will ask if it is possible to have a baby without being married. These questions can be answered in a way that shows God's goodness and glory.
We can start with something they already understand. "When a mother is about to bear her child, you remember, God commands a special opening between her legs to grow large enough to let the baby be born. Ordinarily, this is a very small opening. In order that a baby begin, God permits the seed from the father to enter the body of the mother through this opening, so it may fertilize the tiny egg which He will form into a baby.
"It will not be hard for you to understand the wisdom and goodness of God's plan if you think about how it is when people get married. First, God lets them know, in answer to their prayers, that the vocation He has planned for them is marriage. He lets them meet each other and get to know each other well. They think about how it would be to marry and live together for the rest of their lives. He helps them understand this is right for them in a number of ways, among them the feelings of love and affection which grow stronger between them all the time. So they pray about it some more, and think about it carefully, and when they decide finally that they want to live together and raise a family for God, they marry. It is after they are married that God blesses their desire for the most intimate and loving of unions, in an embrace which permits part of the father's body, the penis, to enter the mother's body and put there the seed which God will unite with the little egg to begin their baby, whom He has known in His mind since forever."
We must not be afraid of the words. This is a magnificent gift. It is our privilege to tell our children about it when the time is right. It is unthinkable to let anyone else do it or to leave it for someone else to do.
They will ask: "Could people do this if they weren't married?"
"Yes, they could, but it would be gravely sinful. God planned the bodies of men and women so this desire and these great powers would work together for the bearing of babies. He wants these souls for heaven and He has designed the pleasures of such human love — it is even called making love — around His first purpose, the making of babies. Because the most perfect coming forth into the world for a baby is to come forth into a family, God forbids man the delights of such human lovemaking outside of marriage. This is His will even though the very act of love He designed for it promises to be as delightful without marriage as within. This is why we must pray for the grace to love God's will. If we love it, it will be easier to do it. This is why we must pray for the grace to love purity. If we love purity, it will be easier to resist temptations against it."
All this Maria knew. All this was why she would let Alessandro kill her rather than submit to him. He wanted her to break God's law. He wanted to do something that was not God's will. Her love for chastity was the fruit of her love for God and His holy will.
Heroic love of God comes with prayer and long training in self-denial and surrender to God's will. This is the one step on the way to sanctity that it is easy to miss. Whatever the circumstances of our lives, we see only that our plans are thwarted, disadvantages are our lot, and we suffer a number of afflictions not of our own choosing. Strangely enough, if we would accept and use them we would grow in the precise heroism that is needed by us if we would be saints.
In the end Maria bore heroic suffering. Alessandro stabbed her fourteen times, each in a vital spot. Her heart was pierced, and her lungs. Her intestines were severed. The surgeons in the hospital at Nettuno could not explain why she was not dead. By necessity, they performed surgery without anesthesia. She cried: "I thirst," but even in their pity they could not give her water. She lived thus for twenty-four hours. She received the Last Sacraments, her fourth Holy Communion. She was made a Child of Mary. Would she forgive Alessandro, the chaplain asked? Our Lord forgave His murderers, and promised the Good Thief paradise. Of course she forgave Alessandro . . ."and I want him with me in Paradise." Dying, she warned him again in her delirium: "You will go to hell!" Thinking she was back in the kitchen lying on the floor, she cried: "Carry me to bed because I want to be nearer the Madonna . . ."
Assunta stood and watched and waited — and realized she had raised a saint.
Alessandro was tried and convicted and imprisoned, unrepentant. Then years later he saw Maria in a vision in his cell and finally surrendered to remorse and began his life of reparation.
Sex has always been one of the problems, but never before, it has been said, has the devil so successfully convinced the world that God made it for pleasure alone. This is a lie. Sex is a lovely thing, a lovely pleasure, but it is God's idea and we may use it only at His pleasure. The temptation is as lovely when it is prohibited as the right is when it is allowed, and in this lies the deception. Our young people must understand that the emotions and desires which rise up to tempt them ought not take them by surprise because this is how man is designed.
There is a reason why the temptations seem to promise such delight. God made the delight and He says it must be saved for marriage, for the making of families.
St. Maria Goretti teaches the lesson of purity with utter simplicity: we must understand what God made our bodies for, and we must use them to do His holy will.
ENDNOTES 1 Alfred MacConastair, C.P. Convia Number 3142, The Sign, Jan. 1951.
Activity Source: Saints and Our Children, The by Mary Reed Newland, P.J. Kenedy & Sons, New York; reprinted by TAN Publishers, 1958