RELIGION

Skeletal Remains Of Patron Saint Of Rape Victims Goes On Display

Maria Goretti died at the hands of her attacker in 1902.

NEW YORK -- American Catholics are flocking to see a wax statue encasing the skeletal remains of an 11-year-old Italian girl who died after being attacked more than 100 years ago. The skeleton, which belongs to Maria Goretti, is on display at the Saint Francis Assisi Church in Orland Park in Illinois.

Pope Pius XII made Goretti a saint in 1947. She died after being attacked in 1902 by her neighbor, Alessandro Serenelli, who made sexual advances toward her and threatened her with a knife. When she refused, he stabbed her 14 times. On her deathbed, the girl said she forgave her attacker.

For Catholics, Goretti is the patron saint of chastity, rape victims, girls, youth, teenage girls, poverty, purity and forgiveness. Her attacker served 30 years in prison, entering a monastery upon his release where he stayed for the rest of his life. The remains are currently on a national tour of the US.

  • Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Or
    Scott Olson via Getty Images
    Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Orland Park, Illinois.
  • Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Or
    Scott Olson via Getty Images
    Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Orland Park, Illinois.
  • Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Or
    Scott Olson via Getty Images
    Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Orland Park, Illinois.
  • Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Or
    Scott Olson via Getty Images
    Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Orland Park, Illinois.
  • After placing mementos on the casket, visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis A
    Scott Olson via Getty Images
    After placing mementos on the casket, visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Orland Park, Illinois.
  • Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Or
    Scott Olson via Getty Images
    Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Orland Park, Illinois.
  • Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Or
    Scott Olson via Getty Images
    Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Orland Park, Illinois.
  • Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Or
    Scott Olson via Getty Images
    Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Orland Park, Illinois.
  • Visitors wait in line to view the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14,
    Scott Olson via Getty Images
    Visitors wait in line to view the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Orland Park, Illinois.
  • Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Or
    Scott Olson via Getty Images
    Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Orland Park, Illinois.
  • Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Or
    Scott Olson via Getty Images
    Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Orland Park, Illinois.
  • Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Or
    Scott Olson via Getty Images
    Visitors pray over the remains of Saint Maria Goretti, are displayed at Saint Francis Assisi Church on October 14, 2015 in Orland Park, Illinois.

This article first appeared on HuffPost UK.

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