St. Rita of Cascia
Born at Rocca Porena in the Diocese of Spoleto, 1386; died at the Augustinian convent of Cascia, 1456. Feast, 22 May. Represented as holding roses, or roses and figs, and sometimes with a wound in her forehead.
According to the "Life" (Acta SS., May, V, 224) written at the time of her beatification by the Augustinian, Jacob Carelicci, from two older biographies, she was the daughter of parents advanced in years and distinguished for charity which merited them the surname of "Peacemakers of Jesus Christ". Rita's great desire was to become a nun, but, in obedience to the will of her parents, she, at the age of twelve, married a man extremely cruel and ill-tempered. For eighteen years she was a model wife and mother. When her husband was murdered 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. She applied for admission to the Augustinian convent at Cascia, but, being a widow, was refused. By continued entreaties, and, as is related, by Divine intervention, she gained admission, received the habit of the order and in due time her profession. As a religious she was an example for all, excelled in mortifications, and was widely known for the efficacy of her prayers.
Urban VIII, in 1637, permitted her Mass and Office. On account of the many miracles reported to have been wrought at her intercession she received in Spain the title of La Santa de los impossibiles. She was solemnly canonized 24 May, 1900.
THE PRAYER TO ST. RITA
Are you faced with a difficult problem? Does it seem insurmountable? The prayer to St. Rita of Cascia (1381-1457) shown below might help. After all, St. Rita, pictured at right, is known as the “Saint of the Impossible.”
Early in life, she had a strong desire to be a nun, but got married instead, following her parents’ wishes. By all accounts, her husband was Mr. Wrong, an abusive man with whom she bore two sons of similar temperament.
Apparently she had the patience of a saint because she prayed for them all and tried to be a dutiful wife and mother! After 18 years of marriage, her husband was murdered and her sons died of natural causes the following year.
After that, St. Rita finally got her wish and was admitted to the convent of Augustinian nuns at Cascia. Tradition has it that the nuns there initially refused to let St. Rita join because she was a widow. One night Saint John the Baptist, St. Augustine and St. Nicholas of Tolentino opened gates that had been bolted shut and left her in the chapel of the convent.
When the nuns found St. Rita there the next morning they understood God’s designs for her and accepted her unanimously. Talk about prayer opening doors!
Many other miracles were attributed to St. Rita, both during her life and after her death. As an example, her devotion to Jesus in His Passion was such that a thorn from the crucifix in her room pierced her forehead one day while she was praying! The prayer to St. Rita also touches on that miracle:
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 it here). Be kind to me, for the greater glory of God, and I promise to honor thee and to sing thy praises forever.
Oh glorious St. 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
Weeping with love, St. Rita had asked to share in Our Lord’s suffering
and her request was granted in this literally striking way! She bore the painful wound with typical dignity and grace, imitating our crucified Lord.
The prayer to St. Rita, like her miracles, helps remind us indeed that
“all things are possible with God,” as Jesus said in Mark’s gospel (10:27). Roses are her symbol. Her feast day is May 22nd.