Today we celebrate the feast day of Saint Rita!
At her canonization ceremony St. Rita was officially given the title of Patroness of Impossible Causes.
Here's her story...
Saint Rita was born Margherita Lotti in 1381 in the city of Roccoporena a small suburb of Cascia, Italy.
Despite her pleading and begging to enter the religious life, Rita's parents married her off when she was only twelve.
Her husband Paolo was wealthy but very abusive and immoral. They had two sons together, the first when she was only twelve.
Rita endured her husband's abuse, insults and infidelity. Over time, much like St. Monica's story, through her example of kindness, humility and grace, Rita was able to convert her husband into becoming a better man.
V IS FOR VENDETTA
At that time in Italy it was common for families to be at war with eachother in family feuds called La Vendetta. Remember Romeo and Juliet?
Her husband Paulo was murdered as a result of the family feud.
Rita's sons vowed revenge.
Worried that her sons would commit the act of mortal sin murder, she prayed to God incessantly for help. A year later both of her sons died of dysentery (in a state of grace) before being able to take out their revenge.
With her husband and sons dead Rita sought again to enter the religious life. She was met with disappointment again.
Some of the sisters inside were members of the rival family who murdered Rita's husband. Fearing discourse inside the convent, she was refused entry as to not cause any potential problems.
Rita persisted in her efforts. She was eventually granted entry.
BEES, STIGMATA, AND ROSES
Many miracles accompanied St. Rita both during her life and after her death.
Legend has it that on the day after her baptism, her family noticed a swarm of white bees fly into her mouth. She was unharmed and they exited her mouth. Instead of being alarmed, her family was dumbfounded. It was taken as a sign that Rita would grow up to be virtuous and holy.
Another story tells of the time she was meditating in front of an image of a crucifix when a small wound appeared on her forehead. It resembled a puncture that a thorn from Jesus's crown would make. For the next fifteen years she bore the wound on her forehead.
At the end of her life Rita was bedridden at the convent. While visiting her, a cousin asked if she desired anything from her old home. Rita responded by asking for a rose from the garden. It was January, and her cousin did not expect to find one due to the season. However, when her cousin went to the house, a single blooming rose was found in the garden.
She died May 22, 1457.
She was canonized on 24 May 1900, by Pope Leo XIII.
RITA THE SAINT
St. Rita is the patron of impossible causes, sterility, abuse victims, loneliness, marriage difficulties, parenthood, widows, the sick, and bodily ills and wounds.
St. Rita is often depicted with her forehead wound holding roses, a thorn, a large Crucifix, a Gospel book, a skull and/or a flagella whip.
She is also one of the Church’s incorruptible saints. Her body is venerated and can be seen at the basilica named for her in Cascia, Italy.
St. Rita of Cascia, ora pro nobis!