Antonia was born in Sardinia, the second-born of ten children.
She was forced to leave elementary school, only after taking four
years of classes, in order to take over the household duties from
her mother, Grazia. She often called Antonia "the flower
of my life."
Her mother developed a heart condition that precluded her from
continuing to perform her domestic chores. Grazia claimed that
Antonia "never once went against me". Antonia was obedient
and hard working. She willingly and diligently performed her duties
and took on responsibilities as if she were already an adult.
For instance, she cooked, baked, cleaned, washed clothes, cared
for the children, carried water into the house, and gathered wood
When she was ten years old, she joined a youth group called "Catholic
Action". She thought it was a beautiful experience and said
that it "helps one to be good". She was well-liked by
her peers and encouraged others to join Catholic Action(even on
the day of her death) because they received spiritual benefits
from good works and received good catechesis. It is no wonder,
she renounced her personal pleasures and sacrificed her wants
for that of her family members needs and others.
While coming home from gathering wood in a forest with a friend,
Antonia was attacked by a teenage boy from behind. The attacker
grabbed her by her shoulders and tried to force her to the ground
while her friend screamed and ran for help. Antonia managed to
escape twice but was knocked down the third time and severely
beaten on the head and face with a rock. Though mortally wounded,
Antonia resisted the would-be rapist. At autopsy, the doctors
determined that Antonia's body had not been sinfully violated.
The beautiful and virtuous, Antonia, died a martyr of holy purity
at age 16 similar to St. Maria Goretti who died at age twelve.
Pope John Paul II beatified Antonia Mesina on Sunday, October
4, 1987. Pope John Paul II also beatified two other twentieth
century laymen and martyrs, Blessed Marcel Callo and Blessed Pierina,
during that same ceremony.