Saturday, July 5, 2008

Alessandro Serenelli's Final Letter

On July 6, the Church is celebrating the feast of St. Maria Goretti, virgin and martyr of purity, a remarkable girl who chose death rather than to give in to the advances of her murderer, Alessandro Serenelli. She is a stark contrast in our time where promiscuity seems to be the norm and chastity is held with so much contempt and ridicule. Much has been written and known about this saint and model of chastity, but we must also remember that Alessandro, though a confessed murderer, led a life of repentance after his conversion through the intercession of St. Maria Goretti. I just want to share his final letter addressed to all of us who are struggling with chastity. We can all relate to this man in one way or another and I hope that this letter would make us realize the value of chastity in living out our Christian faith. Let us learn from his example and be inspired.

"I'm nearly 80 years old. I'm about to depart this life. Looking back at my past, I can see that in my early youth, I chose a bad path which led me to ruin myself.

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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

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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