THE CATHOLIC FEAST
NAME: SAINT RITA OF CASCIA
DATE: 22 MAY
DIED: 22 May 1457
BEATIFIED: 1 October 1627 by Pope Urban VIII
CANONIZED: 24 May 1900 by Pope Leo XIII
PATRONAGE: Lost and impossible causes, sickness, wounds, marital problems, abuse, mothers.
Saint Rita was a mother, widow, stigmatist, consecrated religious who was born in 1386 in a little Italian village. Her parents, who were elderly, had begged God to send them a child. They loved Rita and brought her up well.
Saint Rita wanted to enter the convent at the age of twelve, but her parents decided that she should marry instead.
So Rita became a child bride, married before the age of 12. The marriage lasted for eighteen years, during which she is remembered for her Christian values as a model wife and mother who made efforts to convert her husband from his abusive behaviour: he had such a violent temper that everyone in the neighborhood was afraid of him. Yet for eighteen years his wife Rita patiently endured his insults, physical abuse, and infidelities for many years.
According to popular tales, through humility, kindness, and patience, Rita was able to convert her husband into a better person, more specifically renouncing a family feud known at the time as La Vendetta.
Saint Rita's prayers, gentleness and goodness finally won the heart of her husband who apologized to Rita for the way he had treated her for all those years and he was very sorry.
Rita eventually bore two sons, Giangiacomo (Giovanni) Antonio, and Paulo Maria, and brought them up in the Christian faith. As time went by and the family feud between the Chiqui and Mancini families became more intense, Paolo Mancini became congenial, but his allies betrayed him and he was violently stabbed to death by Guido Chiqui, a member of the feuding family and so Rita’s happiness over her husband’s conversion did not last long unfortunately.
Rita's sons wished to avenge their father's murder, but Rita, fearing that her sons would lose their souls, tried to persuade them from retaliating, but to no avail.
Accordingly, she petitioned God to take her sons lives rather than submit them to possible mortal sin and murder. Within several months, both boys became seriously ill. Rita nursed them lovingly. During their illness, she persuaded them to forgive, and to ask God’s forgiveness for themselves. They did, and both died peacefully.
It is believed that God answered her prayers by taking her children rather than risk them committing a mortal sin punishable by hell.
After the deaths of her husband and sons, Rita desired to enter the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene in Cascia but was turned away. Although the convent acknowledged Rita's good character and piety, the nuns were afraid of being associated with her due to the scandal of her husband's violent death. However, she persisted in her cause and was given a condition before the convent could accept her: the task of reconciling her family with her husband's murderers. She implored her three patron saints; John the Baptist, Augustine of Hippo and Nicholas of Tolentino.
Saint Rita didn’t give up until at last the nuns received her in the convent. Whiles Rita was in the convent, she stood out for her PRAYER, MORTIFICATION AND CHARITY. SHE HAD GREAT DEVOTION TO THE CRUCIFIED JESUS.
She asked Jesus to let her share some of His pain.
When Rita was approximately sixty years of age, she was meditating before an image of Christ crucified. Suddenly, a small wound appeared on her forehead, as though a thorn from the crown that encircled Christ’s head had loosened itself and penetrated her own flesh.
It was considered to be a PARTIAL STIGMATA and she bore this external sign of union with Christ until her death in 1457.
At the time of her death, the sisters of the convent bathed and dressed her body for burial. They noticed that her forehead wound remained the same, with drops of blood still reflecting light. When her body was later exhumed, it was noted that her forehead wound remained the same, with the glistening light reflected from the drops of blood. Her body showed no signs of deterioration.
Over several years, her body was exhumed two more times. Each time, her body appeared the same. She was declared an incorruptible after the third exhumation. Relics were taken at that time as is the custom in the Catholic Church in preparation for sainthood.
Holy Patroness of those in need, Saint Rita, so humble, pure and patient, whose pleadings with thy Divine Spouse are irresistible, obtain for me from thy Crucified Christ my request…
[MENTION YOUR REQUEST]
Be kind to me, for the Greater Glory of God, and I promise to honor thee and to sing thy praises forever.
OH glorious Saint Rita, who didst miraculously participate in the sorrowful Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for me the grace to suffer with resignation the troubles of this life, and protect me in all my needs. Amen.
SAINT RITA OF CASCIA,
PRAY FOR US. AMEN!