Like St. Maria Goretti, Slovakia's newest martyr is a model for young people, said Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes.

With her beatification, Blessed Anna Kolesarova, who was shot at the age of 16 in front of her family for resisting rape by a drunken Soviet soldier, is upheld as an example for all Catholics, especially the young, so that they may "rediscover the beauty of authentic love as well as the virtue of purity," he said.

The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, released excerpts of the cardinal's homily at the beatification Mass in Kosice, Slovakia, Sept. 1.

People who become heroes and saints do not "improvise," he said. Blessed Kolesarova was prepared thanks to her upbringing and solid spiritual life, "nourished by daily prayer and taking part in the sacraments."

Blessed Koleserova was born in 1928 near the present Slovak-Ukrainian border. When the Red Army captured her village in 1944, a drunken soldier entered her house, where she had been hiding. Hoping to appease the soldier, the father asked his daughter to cook something for man. When she resisted the soldier's attempt to rape her and broke free, he shot her twice. Her father and neighbors were eyewitnesses.