Thousands visit remains of youngest Catholic saint near Chicago

Oct 15, 2015 653

by Nikitta Foston

Thousands gathered at a church in suburban Chicago on Wednesday to visit a display holding the remains of Maria Goretti, an 11-year-old Italian girl who became the Roman Catholic Church's youngest saint. The skeleton of Goretti, who was stabbed to death during an attempted rape in 1902, was encased in a wax statue lying inside a clear glass coffin. Viewers waited for hours to approach the display, and many were moved to tears. Goretti is seen as a symbol of forgiveness and mercy in a violent world.

The display at the St. Francis of Assisi church in Orland Park, southwest of Chicago, is part of a first-ever visit to the United States, and will take in 16 states. The remains also drew huge crowds at a viewing in Chicago on Monday. Visitor Kathy McNolte, 43, said Goretti was an example of how violence could be met with mercy - a message she said was especially needed in Chicago, which saw 435 homicides in 2014, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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