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Who was Serenelli?

Alessandro Serenelli was an Italian man who, on July 5th, 1902, at the age of 20 attacked 11-year-old Maria Goretti in revenge for her refusal to comply with his sexual advances. She said of Alessandro before dying the next day, “not only do I forgive him; I want him to spend paradise with me.”

Alessandro was neither repentant nor remorseful. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Six years into his term he had a dream in which he saw Maria in a garden picking flowers. She handed him 14 white lilies, one for each stab wound he had given her, representing her forgiveness. Each one burst into flames as he received it. From then on, he was transformed.

After his release, he was received into a monastery. He lived the rest of his life peacefully as a lay brother, answering the door and working as a gardener. He died on May 6th, 1970, at the age of 88.

We believe there are many more Alessandros in the world in need of that same kind of belonging in the Church, and so we are striving to be that community for them.

“Maria’s forgiveness saved me.”


Prayer for the Glorification of Alessandro Serenelli

2 June 1882 - 6 May 1970

Most loving and merciful God, Who patiently offers mercy to every sinner, so that none may be lost; I thank You for the life of Alessandro Serenelli, the repentant murderer of St. Maria Goretti.

I praise You for the way he was converted by the heroic forgiveness that St. Maria extended towards him, which he accepted, and through which he discovered You.

Humbly I ask that Your Church raise to  the glory of her altars Alessandro Serenelli, who lived the holy life of a penitent, and through his intercession You would grant the following petitions if they be in accord with Your Most Holy Will: (here mention your petitions).

Through Christ Our Lord.


Our Father / Hail Mary / Glory be to the Father

Nihil Obstat: +Walter J. Edyvean, S.T.D. Titular Bishop of Aeliae

Imprimatur: +Sean P. Cardinal O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap. Archbishop of Boston

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