Pilgrimage of Mercy Tour of Church’s Youngest Saint

The guest post below is by longtime FOTM reader and commenter Steven Broiles.

St. Maria Goretti

I was raised in the Catholic faith and my parents and teachers did their best. (I grew up during the changes of Vatican II). But I drifted and lost my faith, for the most part. About ten days ago I came across this website, http://www.mariagoretti.com, and in it I discovered that the relics of this Saint are touring the eastern half of the United States. (The tour schedule is listed on the site). I read the contents of the site and decided to go and see and honor the relics myself.

Maria Goretti was the third of seven children born to Luigi and Assunta Goretti. They lived in Italy in poverty as farmers. After the father died, Maria had to take responsibility for her siblings. At the age of eleven, one of the helpers of the farm, Alessandro Serenelli, caught Maria alone and made clear to her his intentions to rape her. She resisted, and Alessandro stabbed her nine times with a farm implement and left the house. When Alessandro returned, only to find Maria clinging to life, he stabbed her four more times. Upon returning to the house and finding her daughter gravely wounded, Assunta managed to get help to get Maria to a hospital, where she died during surgery the next day.

Maria’s last words were, “I forgive Alessandro, and I want him to be with me in Heaven forever.” She was beatified in 1947 and canonized in 1950 by Pius XII in the Catholic Church’s first outdoor canonization ceremony, attended by more than half a million people. It was the first canonization in Church history that was attended by the saint’s own mother. Some refer to her as “an American Saint” even though she never set foot on American soil during her life, in part because some of her surviving siblings moved to America and settled in Trumbull, CT and in New Jersey, having their own families there. (Yes: Relatives of this saint are alive and well in the United States).

The relics were in New York City, in Staten Island and Brooklyn, as well as St. Patrick’s Cathedral before going to Trumbull. Due to my own work schedule I was unable to make the local stops. So I drove up to Trumbull. A Novus Ordo Mass was being celebrated in St. Maria’s honor; unfortunately, I was about ten minutes late. Giving the sermon was Fr. Carlos Martins, C.C., and he spoke for a good half hour on the short life and heroic virtue of St. Maria, and he displayed some of the relics, including a farm implement about a foot long, of the type that her killer used to attack her (it was not the implement itself).

I became interested in paying a visit to the relics of this Saint for the following reasons. Two members of my family have been visited by saints. (I will not go into this now). But, more important to me and my own situation, after having grown up in the Church as its Liturgy changed, and as the quality of its priests—or at least their sermons—changed, I lost interest. This was not the only reason I lost my faith: I have to take responsibility for my own life. I was the one who alienated himself, from God and neighbor. As a consequence of this drifting, I substituted intellectual things for faith, such as the philosophy of existentialism and psychology. I became a high school English teacher. I thought, for a while, that I was winning at the game of life.

It was all a sham!

And I was lucky: A number of people who become so alienated and enamored of existentialism wind up committing suicide. I’ve known at least two such people. So I tried to return to Mass and the Sacraments. But that, too, was a sham, and it was not because of the priests or the Church. (Even though I don’t like what has happened to both, for the most part). Again, taking responsibility for my own life, my own thinking and my own choices, I have come to discover that looking at things through an intellectual lens has its time and its place, but it is not the be-all and end-all of life. I have been told that I am intelligent and articulate, but even that didn’t satisfy. One fellow, Joe (who has gone home to be with Our Lord) told me, “You know, Steve, you have academic knowledge. And it’s not a bad thing to have, but it’s academic. It’s not people knowledge.” And then it hit me: People get alienated because they harden their hearts. They harden their hearts because they take offense at what has been done to them, with or without just cause.

So when I discovered the Maria Goretti site and read it, things started to click. I felt as if I was given an invitation, of sorts. I listed my prayer requests on the site. Without conflating anything, I went to this Church, St. Theresa’s in Connecticut, with an open mind. I listened to Fr. Martins, and he gave an excellent talk on the life of St. Maria and the redemption of Alessandro, and how we can apply their examples to our own lives. He spoke in specifics, and gave examples of how prayer to St. Maria still works today. Yes, people still pray to this Saint and Martyr, and she still cures people. Fr. Martin gave two examples he knows of personally.

Intellectual things have their time and their place. But they are no substitute for what really bothers a man. An alienated man gets to the point where he becomes complacent in his misery, and take it from me, it is no comfort: It is a meaningless existential hell. And I have the acedia to prove it.

A plenary indulgence is given to those who attend the Mass for St. Maria and honor the relics, provided certain conditions are met. I forgot all of the conditions, but making a good confession and receiving within seven days of attending the Mass and honoring the relics is one of them. I will check the site out again for that. I believe that some day St. Maria Goretti will be declared a Doctor of the Church.

I have always been interested in the fact that the Catholic Church is the only religion in the history of the world which has given us wonderful examples of incorrupt saints.  (There have been approximately 400 of them to date).  (I missed out on the tour of the relics of St. Theresa of Lisieux, which made their way to St. Patrick’s Cathedral here in New York about ten years ago.  But I did manage to venerate the relic of St. John Vianny (the Cure D’ars) at the parish church that bears his name in Massapequa, New York.  (It was his incorrupt heart).)  But this state of incorruption is not promised to last forever: although the remains of St. Maria have decomposed, we have her skeleton, which is in a wax effigy.  But I do believe in the power of prayer more, now that I have made this pilgrimage, and I present the information here for those who may be interested.  And kudos to the Knights of Columbus who were in attendance.  One Knight told us that he was at the Church of St. Theresa’s all day, and he estimated that about “five or six thousand” people had come and gone throughout the day.  Once again, go to www.mariagoretti.com for the remaining tour dates and locations, to see if they are near you.

-Steven Broiles

See also joandarc’s post on St. Maria Goretti, “The little girl who became a saint“.

Here’s an audio demo tape of Broiles.

Fort Collins, CO considers letting women go topless in public

The Untied [sic] States is more than $18 trillion in debt, a record high of 94.61 million Americans (ages 16 and over) are not in the labor force (which means the labor participation rate is a paltry 62.4%), Obama’s ruinous Middle East policy not only is a main cause of Europe’s “refugee” crisis, it is also bringing us perilously close to a war with Russia in Syria.

But Americans, ever frivolous, are told that the social issue of the day is #FreeTheNipple, a faux feminist cause that has a city in Colorado considering letting women go topless.

old hippie chick

She’s freeing her nipple!

CBS4 Denver reports, Oct. 6, 2015, that Fort Collins City Council is considering potential changes to the current public nudity ordinance that would allow women to be topless in public after the issue was brought to their attention by a group of citizens.

On Oct. 20 the council will consider two potential updates to the ordinance:

  1. Maintain the current policy outlawing women to be topless in public, with an exception for breastfeeding mothers, medical emergencies and changing areas.
  2. Allow women to be topless in public.

Both options continue to prohibit any nudity from the waist down by any person over the age of 10.

Note: Fort Collins presently allow children under the age of 10 to expose their genitalia? Good grief. The city must be a haven for pedophiles.

Citizens are invited to respond to a brief online poll and share their opinions on the proposed changes to the ordinance at fcgov.com/nudityordinance. The poll will be open through Oct. 12.


Wednesday Funny: This dog is not for sale

In response to all the recent e-mails and notes left in our mailbox about our dog:

Please be advised, I am sick and tired of answering questions about him.

Yes, he bit 6 people wearing Obama t-shirts, 4 people wearing “Hillary 2016” t-shirts, 2 drivers of cars with “Obama 2012” bumper stickers, 4 teenagers with pants hanging past the cracks of their ass, 3 flag burners, and a Muslim in a burqa.


smoking dog

No, I do not approve of his smoking, but he says it helps get the bad taste from all the biting out of his mouth.

H/t FOTM’s maziel


Prudie advises a woman who doesn’t want kids, so had an abortion without telling her husband.

She PLANNED A PREGNANCY then aborted the baby. Ain’t your “right to choose” grand?


Emily Yoffe, aka Dear Prudence, is online weekly to chat live with readers. An edited transcript of the chat is below.

Slate: Q. Hubby Doesn’t Know: I’ve been married to a great guy for almost three years now. The only problem is that he really wants kids, and I have no desire to put my body through that. A few months ago he wanted to start trying for kids. I agreed, thinking that I could do it for him, but when I realized I was pregnant, I panicked and got an abortion. My husband is starting to worry that we haven’t had any luck and wants to start doing fertility tests. I’m worried that seeing doctors will cause my secret to come out and my husband will leave me. What do I do?

A: The two people in your marriage need to seriously consider what you’re doing there if you are so utterly at odds about adding another person to your family. You now realize you have no intention of fulfilling your husband’s desire for a child. But instead of telling him, you secretly aborted a fetus you had agreed to conceive. That speaks to a level of deceit that sounds lethal to a marriage. It would be one thing if your letter was about how you tell your husband you have no intention of having children. But you want some way to pretend to engage in fertility treatment without his finding out you two are perfectly capable of having a child. I don’t know if you discussed the having children issue before you got married, but an urgent life goal for him is to become a father. Your urgent life goal is to not become a mother. You need to face this forthrightly, and if it ends your marriage, that will give you each the opportunity to find more compatible partners.


Mom says YMCA’s transgender policy could be dangerous for children

This mom just needs to get over it and “navigate using four core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility”.


My Northwest.com: A policy instituted by the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap counties has one mom worried about her children’s safety.

KTTH’s Todd Herman spoke with Jill, a mother and volunteer at YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties, about the policy enacted in April that gives transgender individuals the ability to choose the locker room he or she feels most comfortable with, no questions asked.

Jill said that her concerns are not an attack on transgender people, but more a criticism of the policy itself, which was never announced to the public or employees. She said the policy allows anybody to walk into either bathroom, which puts children at danger. “Anybody who might want to go in there, (employees) can’t ask them, they can’t tell them no,” she said. “So any man can say, hey, I’m transgender’ and go in that way.”

“The employees didn’t know about this,” she added. “The public doesn’t know about it. YMCA doesn’t plan to inform the membership or potential members.”

Herman also said he spoke with Michelle Larue, Senior Vice President of Marketing with the Pierce and Kitsap YMCA, who told him that the organization has spent a lot of time speaking with ways to better accommodate the transgender community. A public forum on the issue was held Sunday; an attendee told Herman that approximately 50 people showed up.

Herman said some parents are asking that a written notice be placed at the locker room that informs people that they might encounter people of the opposite gender in the bathroom. He said the YMCA’s response has only been that the organization is committed to inclusion and diversity.

Jill believes the new policy also contradicts portions of the YMCA’s child abuse prevention training, most notably that abuse is more likely to happen if somebody who wants to do harm to children is given access and privacy, and that anywhere a child is scantily clothed or naked — e.g. pool or locker room facilities — the chance of sexual abuse increases. She added that it’s not only children who might feel uncomfortable.

“You cannot blend in when you are not anatomically correct in the opposite sex locker room,” she said. “This is not possible … Do you want an anatomically correct man showering with your wife or daughter? Or how about an anatomically correct female showering with your teenage son?”

“In my opinion, seeing a naked man in my locker room is sexual harassment for me,” she said. “That’s the way I feel about it. This isn’t specifically singling out transgenders, it’s singling out the policy that would allow anybody who wants to abuse it to be in there.”

Michelle Douglas, Executive Director at the Rainbow Center, an LGBTQA community center in Tacoma, said she hadn’t seen the YMCA’s policy and wouldn’t speculate on its implications. She said the Rainbow Center is unequivocal about its stance that people should be free to use the restroom or locker room that they identify with. She said Washington State nondiscrimination laws are not new and that some organizations have moved faster to make updates than others. She said the Rainbow Center still hears a lot of “misguided concerns” about this topic.

“People have lost sight of why they go to the restroom or locker room in the first place, which is to go to the restroom or to change and get ready for work,” she said. “I think there is a lot of fear mongering around these pieces and I just don’t feel that it’s accurate.”

Larue told Herman that people who feel uncomfortable with the change can use one of the YMCA’s private rooms. Herman asked whether fairness is truly being spread around to everyone and that there should be better communication.

The YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties, whose mission is To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all”,  issued this statement:

YMCA President and CEO Bob Ecklund

YMCA President and CEO Bob Ecklund

 “The Y’s mission is to serve everyone, regardless of financial circumstance, faith, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity. As our community changes, we often find ourselves in the unfamiliar, but remain committed to creating a culture focused on safety and inclusivity.

Transgender members in transition will use private locker rooms for dressing and showering (at family facilities). Transgender members may use standalone restrooms that align with their gender identification.  Transgender members may use locker rooms and restrooms that align with their gender identification (at adult facilities).

The growing diversity of the U.S. population makes inclusion by and within YMCAs increasingly important. While diversity enriches and improves us, it sometimes includes the unfamiliar, which we will navigate using our four core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. We hope our staff, members, volunteers, and community will navigate this way with us as well.”

Read the full statement here.


Ham Sandwiches And Sausage Rolls May Be Banned From Office Kitchens For Being ‘Offensive’

I’d bring me a pork product every day if I worked in a place that tried to ban my bacon!

I really don't see a problem with this...

I really don’t see a problem with this…

UK Yahoo: Kitchens that are shared between office workers may soon be banned from storing pork products like sausage rolls over fears that they are “offensive”.

New guidelines proposed by interfaith group CoExist House say that employers should consider worker’s religions before allowing ham sandwiches placed in the fridge alongside other products.

The group also suggests that alcohol should not be served at corporate events in case it upsets members of certain faiths.

are you serious

Andy Dinham, professor of faith and public policy at Goldsmiths, University of London, is writing up the guidelines that will be put forward to employers this week. Defending the controversial report, he told The Sunday Times: “It would be good etiquette to avoid heating up foods that might be prohibited for people of other faiths. The microwaves example is a good one.”

“We also say, ‘Don’t put kosher or halal and other… special foods next to another [food] or, God forbid, on the same plate.” He also said that religious people should be entitled to wear religious clothing and symbols as required.

He added: “We have lost the ability to talk about religious belief because of a century of secular assumptions, and most religious belief is either highly visible and we don’t reognise it, or it’s invisible and we miss it entirely.”


Paris high fashion Caption Contest!

This is the 108th world-famous FOTM Caption Contest!

Here’s the pic:

Rick Owens fashion show model wears model

The above pic was taken at designer Rick Owens fashion show on Oct. 1, 2015, which kicked off Paris Fashion Week. (Source) Last year, Owens’ show featured a penis-baring dress for men.

You know the drill:

  • Enter the contest by submitting your caption as a comment on this thread (scroll down until you see the “LEAVE A REPLY” box), not via email or on Facebook.
  • The winner of the Caption Contest will get a gorgeous Award Certificate of Excellence and a year’s free subscription to FOTM! :D
  • FOTM writers will vote for the winner.
  • Any captions proffered by FOTM writers, no matter how brilliant (ha ha), will not be considered. :(

To get the contest going, here’s my caption:

As Monique hung on for dear life, she suddenly remembered she had forgotten to take her Beano that morning….

This contest will be closed in a week, at the end of next Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015.

For the winner of our last Caption Contest, go here.

Seen any pics that you think will make good fodder for our caption contests? Send it to us at:


Thank you!