Sunday, May 22, 2011

St. Rita, Patroness of Impossible Cases...Feast May 22nd

I would be ashamed of myself if I didn't acknowledge the Feast of St. Rita of Cascia, one of my most favorite and beloved women of our faith. Both Catholic Online & Catholic Encyclopedia ( had short biographies of St. Rita...but neither did her extraordinary life justice. But Wikipedia did! was at the Cathedral of the Divine Mercy in Massachusetts browsing the book store when I found the DVD of her life starring beautiful Vittoria Belvedere. St. Rita DVD at What a fabulous story! It had all the excitement, action and romance of any epic movie.

St. Rita was born at Roccaporena near Spoleto, Umbria, Italy. She married at age 12 to Paolo Ferdinando. Her parents (Antonio Mancini and Amata Ferri) arranged her marriage, despite the fact that she repeatedly begged them to allow her to enter a convent. Ferdinando was a rich, quick-tempered, immoral man, who had many enemies in the region. St. Rita endured his insults, abuse and infidelities for years. Through humility, kindness and patience, Rita "converted her cruel husband from his wicked ways, making their home a peaceful sanctuary of holy bliss". (St. Rita of Cascia) They bore two sons, Giangiacomo(Giovanni)Antonio and Paulo Maria, who grew up God-loving children. Although Paolo Ferdinando became congenial, his allies betrayed him and he was violently stabbed to death.
As her sons advanced in years (one now 16), their character began to change. **(Biographers write that the sons were twins). The sons wished to exact revenge on their father's murderers. This unauthorized right of revenge in Italy at the time was called La Vendetta. Fearing that her sons would lose their souls, Rita tried to persuade them from retaliating, but to no avail. Instead, she prayed to God. Her sons died of natural causes (dysentery) a year later, well prepared to die and go before God.
After the deaths of her husband and sons, St. Rita desired to enter the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene at Cascia but was turned away. Although the convent acknowledged Rita's good character and piety, it was 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 difficult task of reconciling her family with her husband's murderers. She was able to resolve the conflicts between the families and, at the age of 36, was allowed to enter the monastery.[1]
Her actual entrance into the monastery has been described as a miracle. During the night, when the doors to the monastery were locked and the sisters were asleep, St. Rita was miraculously transported into the convent by her patron saints Saint John the Baptist, Saint Augustine, and Saint Nicholas of Tolentino[citation needed]. When she was found inside the convent in the morning and the sisters learned of how she entered, they could not turn her away. She remained at the monastery, living the Augustinian Rule, until her death.
One day, while living at the convent Rita said, "Please let me suffer like you, Divine Saviour". Suddenly, a thorn from a figure of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ fell from the crown of thorns and left a deep wound in Rita's forehead. This wound never healed and caused her great suffering for the rest of her life.[citation needed] As a result, depictions of St. Rita show a forehead wound to represent this event.

The Story of the Rose & The Fig:

When St. Rita was bedridden in the convent, a cousin visited her and asked her if she desired anything from her old home. St. Rita responded by asking for a rose and a fig from the garden. It was January and her cousin did not expect to find anything due to the snowy weather. However, when her relative went to the house, a single blooming rose was found in the garden as well as a fully ripened and edible fig, and her cousin brought the rose and fig back to St. Rita at the convent.[citation needed] The rose bush is still alive and often in bloom today.[citation needed]
The rose is thought to represent God's love for Rita and Rita's ability to intercede on behalf of lost causes or impossible cases. Rita is often depicted holding roses or with roses nearby. On her feast day, May 22, churches and shrines of St. Rita provide roses to the congregation that are blessed by priests during Mass.

Look for the prayer to St. Rita on my blog. It's on the left sidebar. Please scroll down to find it.
St. Rita of Cascia pray for us!
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  1. This is wonderful! I saw the movie on EWTN the other night (my second or third time watching it) and was feeling inspired to do some research on St. Rita. Her story is amazing and thank you so much for providing all of this information that I now don't have to look up!

  2. Thank you St Rita for your help through a tough time I had. Forever with thanks

    Nine Day Novena to Saint Rita
    For Impossible or Hopeless Cases

    O Holy Patroness of those in need, St. Rita, whose pleadings before thy Divine Lord are almost irresistible, who for thy lavishness in granting favors hast been called the Advocate of the Hopeless and even of the Impossible; St. Rita, so humble, so pure, so mortified, so patient and of such compassionate love for thy Crucified Jesus that thou couldst obtain from Him whatsoever thou askest, on account of which all confidently have recourse to thee, expecting, if not alwavs relief, at least comfort; be propitious to our petition, showing thy power with God on behalf of thy suppliant; be lavish to us, as thou hast been in so many wonderful cases, for the greater glory of God, for the spreading of thine own devotion, and for the consolation of those who trust in thee. We promise, if our petition is granted, to glorify, thee by making known thy favor, to bless and sing thy praises forever. Relying then upon thy merits and power before the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we pray: (here mention your request).

    Obtain for us our request
    By the singular merits of thy childhood,
    By thy perfect union with the Divine Will,
    By thy heroic sufferings during thy married life,
    By the consolation thou didst experience at the conversion of thy husband,
    By the sacrifice of thy children rather than see them grievously offend God,
    By thy miraculous entrance into the convent,
    By thy severe penances and thrice daily bloody scourgings,
    By the suffering caused by the wound thou didst receive from the thorn of thy Crucified Savior,
    By the divine love which consumed thy heart,
    By that remarkable devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, on which alone thou didst exist for 4 years,
    By the happiness with which thou didst part from thy trials to join thy Divine Spouse,
    By the perfect example thou gavest to people of every state of life.

    Pray for us, 0 holy St. Rita,
    that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

    Let us pray: O God, Who in Thine infinite tenderness hast vouchsafed to regard the prayer of Thy servant, Blessed Rita, and dost grant to her supplication that which is impossible to human foresight, skill and efforts, in reward of her compassionate love and firm reliance on Thy promise, have pity on our adversity and succor us in our calamities, that the unbeliever may know Thou art the recompense of the humble, the defense of the helpless, and the strength of those who trust in Thee, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

  3. Thank you St.Rita for interceding for me .Thank you very much.Im a living testimony of your intercession .THank you Holy St.Rita.

  4. Kathy...I'm so happy that you are grateful for the Intercession of this wonderful saint. I find great comfort in her as well as Our Lady and other amazing saints. I am going thru a health crisis right now and will ask for St.Rita to plead before the Throne for me. Please keep me in your prayers. God bless.

  5. I am also grateful to St Rita in helping me with my problems esp as my son had been out of work for a long time and now has a permanent job. I now pray to St Rita to give me strength to cope with problems that come my way.

  6. Hi Rosemary: so glad you find comfort in dear St.Rita. What an amazing woman, what an amazing saint. Happy to hear your son's good news. St Rita was with me during a recent health crisis. Come back and visit with me again. God Bless.