Blessed Antonia Mesina

Blessed Antonia Mesina (1919-1935) was one of ten children born to a poor family on the island of Sardinia in Italy. Being the second oldest child, she had to leave school to help with the family chores after her mother became bedridden, a task which she accepted with obedience, humility, and joy. Antonia’s mother referred to her daughter as "the flower of my life." Antonia was also active in her parish, joining the Young Women of Catholic Action organization at the age of ten and encouraging others to do the same. On May 17, 1935, while in the forest with a friend gathering firewood, Antonia was assaulted by a teenage boy who attempted to rape her. Her friend ran for help while Antonia bravely defended herself against her attacker. The young man, unable to achieve his goal due to her continuous resistance, brutally attacked Antonia with dozens of blows with a rock. By the time help arrived, it was too late. Antonia died at the age of sixteen. The entire town accompanied her body to the site of her burial. She is considered a martyr of sexual purity, and was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II in 1987. Her story has been likened to that of St. Maria Goretti. Blessed Antonia Messina is the patron of rape victims. Her feast day is May 17th.
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