Alessandro with Mamma Assunta in June 1954.
The murderer of St. Maria Goretti, Alessandro Serenelli, repented of his deed thanks to her intercession, drawing lessons from it which are important for us all.
On the 5 July 1902, Alessandro Sereneldi stabbed St. Maria Goretti 14 times with a large dagger. She died the following day and was canonised by Pope Pius XII on the 24 June 1950. After 30 years of prison, the assassin, who was sorry for his deed- and had converted. wished to meet Assunta, the mother of the martyr. He himself tells us of this meeting.
"Do you forgive me Assunta?''
"Maria forgave you, how can I not forgive you?" We then embraced each other. It was an emotional moment. The following day we assisted at holy Mass and together we received Holy Communion-united as we were in charity and in the forgiveness of God."
On 5 May 1961 Alessandro wrote out his spiritual testament and it would be a good thing for all parents and teachers to read it.
"I am nearly 86 years old, soon my life shall come to an end. Looking back an my past, I acknowledge that in my early youth I was on the wrong path: the way, of evil which led me to ruin. I saw in newspapers, shows, and had examples that the vast majority of youngsters, follow that path without giving it much thought; I also did not worry about it.
I had people who believed in God and practised their Faith living close to me, but I did not care, for I was following my evil inclinations. At the age of 20 I committed a terrible crime, thrust on by my passions. Today I am ashamed just to think about it. Maria Goretti, today a saint, was that good angel that divine Providence had placed before me. Her words of reproach and of pardon are still engraved in my heart. She proved for me, she interceded for me, her assassin.
30 years of prison followed. I had not come of age yet otherwise I would have been sentenced to life imprisonment. I accepted the sentence which I merited, and I resigned myself to expiating my crime. Maria was truly my light and my protector; with her help I reformed myself, and I sincerely tried to live an honest life once out of prison. The sons of St. Francis, the Capuchin friars, with seraphic charity allowed me to live with them, not as a servant, but as brother. I have been living with them since 1936.
And now I wait with serenity the moment to be admitted before the vision of God, to re-embrace my loved ones, to be near my protective angel and her dear mother Assunta.
May all those who read this letter receive a happy lesson whilst they are still children fleeing from evil, following good always. May they realize that our holy religion with its precepts is not something that one can take or leave. Rather it is our true comfort, the only sure way in all circumstances, ever the most sorrowful ones in life.
Peace and blessings!"
Alessandro died on 6 June 1970. leaving this last message to the world: "I ask forgiveness of the world for the crime committed against the martyr Maria Goretti and against purity. I exhort all to stay away from immoral shows, from the dangers and, from the occasions that can lead one to sin”.