Monday, July 06, 2009

Old sinners have a lot to teach us.



Alessandro Serenelli.
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After about 6 years into his sentence, the man who killed Maria Goretti experienced a profound conversion in prison after the blessed Marietta appeared to him in a dream, smiling upon his tortured soul. The saint assured him of her forgiveness and Alessandro finally experienced a sense of peace and penitence. Before that moment he had been tormented and filled with contempt for all that is good. His life had been debased by his passions, which he indulged in pornography leading up to the attack upon Maria. After the saint appeared to him, he became a different man. Upon completion of his prison sentence, Serenelli was accepted as a Capuchin tertiary and lived in the monastery, laboring as the friar's gardener and handy man. He was reconciled to the townsfolk, and more importantly to Assunta, Maria's mother, whom he accompanied to the canonization of her daughter.
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Alessandro Serenelli died on May 6th, 1970 in the Capuchin convent of Macerata. He left the following testimony, dated May 5, 1961, as his spiritual legacy:
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"I'm nearly 80 years old. I'm about to depart.
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"Looking back at my past, I can see that in my early youth, I chose a bad path which led me to ruin myself.
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"My behavior was influenced by print, mass-media and bad examples which are followed by the majority of young people without even thinking. And I did the same. I was not worried.
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"There were a lot of generous and devoted people who surrounded me, but I paid no attention to them because a violent force blinded me and pushed me toward a wrong way of life.
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"When I was 20 years-old, I committed a crime of passion. Now, that memory represents something horrible for me. Maria Goretti, now a Saint, was my good Angel, sent to me through Providence to guide and save me. I still have impressed upon my heart her words of rebuke and of pardon. She prayed for me, she interceded for her murderer. Thirty years of prison followed.
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"If I had been of age, I would have spent all my life in prison. I accepted to be condemned because it was my own fault.
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"Little Maria was really my light, my protectress; with her help, I behaved well during the 27 years of prison and tried to live honestly when I was again accepted among the members of society. The Brothers of St. Francis, Capuchins from Marche, welcomed me with angelic charity into their monastery as a brother, not as a servant. I've been living with their community for 24 years, and now I am serenely waiting to witness the vision of God, to hug my loved ones again, and to be next to my Guardian Angel and her dear mother, Assunta.
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"I hope this letter that I wrote can teach others the happy lesson of avoiding evil and of always following the right path, like little children. I feel that religion with its precepts is not something we can live without, but rather it is the real comfort, the real strength in life and the only safe way in every circumstance, even the most painful ones of life." - Alessandro Serenelli
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From John Paul II:
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"Maria Goretti, so illuminating with her spiritual beauty, challenges us to a firm and secure faith in the Word of God, as the only source of truth, to remain firm against the temptations of this world."
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"Young people, look at Maria Goretti, don’t be tempted by the tempting atmosphere of our permissive society, which declares, everything is possible. Look to Maria Goretti, love, live, defend your chastity."
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"Young people, don’t be afraid to carry the torch of your life, light and ideals into modern society."

2 comments:

  1. +JMJ+

    I've always loved his story. Do you suppose he will ever be raised to the altar someday?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Forgiveness , and repentance is everything.

    What a beautiful story. I'm delighted to have read it.

    ReplyDelete


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