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Let this saint guide you to greater hope this May

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Annabelle Moseley - published on 04/30/24

May is the month of expectation ... St. Rita teaches us to hope for miracles.

“May is the month of expectation … the month of hope,” said the great writer Emily Bronte. Indeed, the month of May is famous for its florid beauty, a month of hopefulness and fresh, new beginnings. And so, it is a good time to seek the intercession of St. Rita of Cascia, one of May’s most inspiring saints who can guide us to greater hope in God.

This “patroness of impossible causes,” as she is known, could be called the female counterpart to St. Jude, who is known to be a patron saint of hopeless cases. St. Rita teaches us to hope for miracles.

Her feast day is May 22, and her symbol is the rose.

St. Rita was born in 1381. During her life she was first a wife and mother and then a widow and Augustinian nun. And so, she is a saint who can empathize with many walks of life.

She was a mother of two sons, whom she loved deeply. Her husband was a difficult man and she suffered patiently throughout her marriage. With her prayers, her husband eventually converted and became a kind man. Tragically, he was murdered, and her two sons wanted to seek revenge. St. Rita prayed for them, begging God to preserve them from mortal sin. Both young men died of natural causes in a state of grace, before any evil deed could be done.

St. Rita then joined the Augustinian convent in Cascia, Italy. She begged Our Lord to let her relieve the suffering of His Sorrowful Passion, if even just a little. By way of an answer to this prayer, Rita miraculously received one thorn from Christ’s Crown of Thorns in her own forehead. This wound gave her tremendous pain until her death in 1457 at the age of 76. Through it all, she remained full of joy, great love, and hope.

Holy peace

Here are four quotes by St. Rita of Cascia to help us cultivate greater hope this May.

1) “Love God above all things. His goodness being infinite and His beauty without comparison, you should keep always before your minds the great love He has for you as Father, Spouse, and Master … May you always remain in holy peace and love with your beloved Spouse Jesus Christ.”

These words of St. Rita link our love of God to an appreciation of His Beauty. To live out the wisdom of this quote and to grow in the love of God this May, let us seek out and cultivate more contact with what is truly beautiful. Let us join what is beautiful to the way we show Our Love to God. For example, why not plant beautiful flowers before a statue of Our Lord in the garden, or contribute a fragrant bouquet for the altar of your parish church. Why not set a resolution that for this famously beautiful month of May, we will spend more time outdoors savoring the beauty of creation which points to the beauty of the Creator?

Another way to celebrate the beauty of God and grow in love for Him is to spend extra time this month reading Scripture, the Living Word of God. The psalms are a great place to start, since their poetic language evokes beauty.

2) “Let me, my Jesus, share in Thy suffering.”

How can we emulate this desire to relieve the sufferings of Jesus? We must offer up our own sufferings! We know from Scripture that this is of great importance. “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the Church.” (Colossians 1:24) Praying the Morning Offering each day helps us to do this. We can also pray this short prayer, to offer our sufferings to God.

Finally, it is good to make reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through time set aside for prayer. You can get guided prayers sent to your inbox that are offered in reparation and consolation to Our Suffering Lord here.

3) “There is nothing impossible to God.”

St. Rita knew in advance that she would die soon because she was granted a miracle of roses and figs. First, she was impelled by God to request a rose and two figs from the garden she had left behind when she joined the convent. She made this request in the midst of a freezing cold January, stating, as the Archangel told Mary, “There is nothing impossible to God!”

Her cousin found one perfect red rose blooming there on a sapless branch and two sweet figs on a frozen fig tree. This beautiful story is what associates St. Rita with the symbol of the rose and the garden. When St. Rita experienced these miracles, she took it as a call from her Beloved, just like the call of the Bridegroom in the Song of Solomon: “Arise, make haste, My love … My beautiful one, and come. For winter is now past, the flowers have appeared, and the fig tree hath put forth her green figs.” St. Rita knew her earthly winter was coming to an end and she would very soon be with her Beloved.  

4) “I am not afraid to die. I know what it is to die. It is to close the eyes to the world and open them to God.” 

When we really contemplate this quote by St. Rita, we realize that she is not only modeling a lack of fear in the face of death. She is also teaching us that she already died to the world … long before she encountered physical death. How are we dying to the world? How can we “close our eyes to the world” while opening them to God?

To live out this wisdom of St. Rita, we can consider what entertainment we can eliminate or screen time we can reduce. We can shop less, gossip less, and care for the admiration of others less. We can pray the Suscipe prayer: Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.

How beautiful it is that this saint, who bore the pain of one of Christ’s thorns, died with the sign of a rose in full bloom. It is a reminder to us all that the thorns we encounter may lead us to beautiful blossoms, if we but persevere in walking the narrow road Christ shows us.

Here’s a great prayer to St. Rita to pray for our intercessions.

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