CHIAVENNA, Italy, NOV. 6, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The cause of beatification has opened for Sister Maria Laura Mainetti, a 60-year-old religious murdered by three girls during a Satanic rite in 2000.
Bishop Alessandro Maggiolini of Como solemnly opened the process in Chiavenna on Oct. 23.
“After the time of sorrow and mourning, now is the moment of joy and light,” said Monsignor Ambrogio Balatti, archpriest of Chiavenna San Lorenzo, as reported by the Italian newspaper Avvenire.
Sister Laura, as she was known, was stabbed 18 times on the night of June 6-7, 2000, after being taken to a dark alley by two 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old.
Monsignor Balatti said: “The three hapless girls could find no better excuse to attract Sister Laura, than to convince her that one of them was expecting a child, that she had been rejected by her family and boyfriend, and that she didn’t know what to do or where to go.
“It makes me angry when they say that Sister Laura was naive. She took every precaution, but so did the girls. They were able to set up an astute and diabolic plan.”
“Saw them lost”
“How could Sister Laura, whose birth cost her mother her life, who died a few days after her birth, refuse to help that young girl who said she was a mother?” the monsignor asked.
Sister Laura had “a special predilection for young people,” whom she “considered the real poor of today: She saw them lost, without points of reference, exposed to the risk of the existential void.”
Under interrogation, the accused said they killed the nun to “dispel the boredom of a life that was always the same in the small city,” said Monsignor Balatti.
Officials soon learned that the trio initially wanted to sacrifice a priest in their Satanic rite — and their first choice for a victim was Monsignor Balatti.
“At that time, interest in Satanism and occultism had become a fad,” said the archpriest. “Even dress, music and some books contributed to the spread of such a tendency.
“Many young people followed more than anything out of a desire to call attention, to defy the rules. It found fertile ground in some because they were angry with God, perhaps because of personal problems, because of family troubles.”
During the cause’s opening ceremony, some of Sister Laura’s thoughts were read out: “My life belongs to you, Jesus,” “Lord, take also the little I have and the misery I am.”
The killers themselves admitted that when she was dying, Sister Laura found the strength to pray for them, saying: “Lord, forgive them.”
Bishop Maggiolini said: “I am certain that all this will reflect positively also on the three girls: Sister Laura’s is a light that will help them grow and mature.”
Sister Laura, who was baptized Teresina, was born in Colico, Italy, on Aug. 20, 1939. At the time of her death she was superior of the Community of Daughters of the Cross, in the Mary Immaculate Institute of Chiavenna.
A foundation and a series of charitable and pro-life services have been established in her memory. Several denominational centers in Italy and Africa have been named after the murdered religious.