The Papal Artifacts’ Collection is primarily dedicated to artifacts connected to the papacy. Individual popes, their biographies and multiple items belonging to them, including first and second class relics, make up the majority of this Collection. But that isn’t all it is.
Father Kunst has a deep devotion to the saints as can be readily seen in viewing the Saints & Blesseds section of this site. We invite you to visit Papal History/Saints & Blesseds to view the many canonized and beatified men and women who make up this section of the Collection.
Another category is also included with this Collection: Notable Individuals. These are people significantly associated with the Catholic Church who have not been canonized but contributed in outstanding ways to the church.
Assunta Goretti is one of them.
The mother of St. Maria Goretti signed the holy card with a cross rather than with her name because she was illiterate.
A second signature/cross of hers is on a separate sheet of paper.
A third sheet of paper confirms the signatures of the saint’s mother.
Pope Pius XII canonized St. Maria Goretti in 1950 and her mother was present at the canonization.
Assunta Goretti was the mother of St. Maria Goretti. July 6th is the feast day of St. Maria Goretti, one of the youngest saints of the Church and the patroness of youth. Born in 1890 to poor farm workers, Maria was stabbed fourteen times by a nineteen-year-old neighbor, Alessandro Serenelli, who was attempting to rape her. While she fought him, she said she would rather die than allow the assault. She did die from her wounds. Maria was eleven years old. While she is considered a martyr because she fought Alessandro’s attempts to assault her, the most important aspect of her story is her forgiveness of her attacker.
When Pope Pius XII canonized her during the Holy Year 1950, not only were her mother and several siblings present, but also a repentant Alessandro who upon his release from prison begged Maria’s mother to forgive him, which she did.
From a homily at the canonization of Saint Maria Goretti
by Pope Pius XII
It is well known how this young girl had to face a bitter struggle with no way to
defend herself. Without warning a vicious stranger burst upon her, bent on raping her
and destroying her childlike purity. In that moment of crisis she could have spoken to
her Redeemer in the words of that classic, The Imitation of Christ: “Though tested and
plagued by a host of misfortunes, I have no fear so long as your grace is with me. It is my strength,
stronger than any adversary; it helps me and gives me guidance.” With splendid courage she
surrendered herself to God and his grace and so gave her life to protect her virginity.
The life of this simple girl—I shall concern myself only with highlights—we can see
as worthy of heaven. Even today people can look upon it with admiration and respect.
Parents can learn from her story how to raise their God-given children in virtue,
courage, and holiness; they can learn to train them in the Catholic faith so that, when
put to the test, God’s grace will support them and they will come through undefeated,
unscathed, and untarnished.
From Maria’s story carefree children and young people with their zest for life can
learn not to be led astray by attractive pleasures which are not only ephemeral and
empty but also sinful. Instead they can fix their sights on achieving Christian moral
perfection, however difficult and hazardous that course may prove. With
determination and God’s help all of us can attain that goal by persistent effort and
Not all of us are expected to die a martyr’s death, but we are all called to the pursuit
of Christian virtue. This demands strength of character though it may not match that
of this innocent girl. Still, a constant, persistent, and relentless effort is asked of us
right up to the moment of our death. This may be conceived as a slow, steady
martyrdom which Christ urged upon us when he said: The kingdom of heaven is set upon
and laid waste by violent forces.
So let us all, with God’s grace, strive to reach the goal that the example of the virgin
martyr, Saint Maria Goretti, sets before us. Through her prayers to the Redeemer may
all of us, each in his own way, joyfully try to follow the inspiring example of Maria
Goretti who now enjoys eternal happiness in heaven.