Some Awesome People

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

St. Rita of Cascia


Feast Day: May 22

Like Elizabeth Ann Seton, Rita of Cascia was a wife, mother, widow and member of a religious community. Her holiness was reflected in each phase of her life.

Born at Roccaporena in central Italy, Rita wanted to become a nun but was pressured at a young age into marrying a harsh and cruel man. During their marriage, she bore and raised two sons. She put up with Paolo’s abuses for eighteen years before he was ambushed and stabbed to death. She tried in vain to dissuade her twin sons from attempting to take revenge; she appealed to Heaven to prevent such a crime on their part, and they were taken away by death, reconciled to God.

After the death of her husband and sons, Rita tried to join the Augustinian nuns in Cascia. Unsuccessful at first because she was a widow, Rita eventually succeeded.

Rita lived 40 years in the convent, spending her time in prayer and charity and working for peace in the region. Her austerity, prayerfulness and charity became legendary. Her care for the sick nuns was especially loving. She also counseled lay people who came to her monastery. Devoted to the passion of Christ, she asked in prayer to suffer as Christ did, and she received a chronic head wound that appeared to have been caused by a crown of thorns and which bled for 15 years.

Confined to her bed for the last four years of her life, Rita’s only request was a rose from her family’s estate.  Since it was January, and there was no hope of finding a flower, there, sprouted on an otherwise bare bush, was a single rose blossom. 

Beatified in 1626, Rita was not canonized until 1900. She has acquired the reputation, together with St. Jude, as a saint of impossible cases. Many people visit her tomb each year.

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