Augustinian Nun: 1377-1457
+ Rita was born into a peasant family in Roccaporena, Italy. Although she wanted to be a nun, her parents arranged a marriage for her with a man who proved to be violent and repeatedly unfaithful to her.
+ She lived 18 years in this miserable marriage, until her husband was murdered. Her two sons died shortly thereafter. Rita was then free to fulfill her dream of a religious vocation and, in 1413, she entered the Augustinian monastery of Santa Maria Maddalena in Cascia.
+ As a nun, Rita was known for her spirit of obedience and her love of penance. Rita was graced to share in the Passion of Jesus—which was often the theme of her meditation and prayer—when she experienced a wound in her forehead, which seemed to have been made by a crown of thorns.
+ Rita was also known for her care of the sick nuns and the concern she showed for visitors to the monastery.
+ Saint Rita died on May 22, 1457, and was canonized in 1900. Today, Saint Rita is honored as the patron of impossible cases and her incorrupt remains are enshrined in a basilica dedicated in her honor in Cascia.
According to ancient tradition, roses are often blessed on the feast of Saint Rita, recalling a legend that she asked for roses and figs as she was dying. Both were found by the nuns despite the fact that it was not the right season for either.
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”—Philippians 4:8
Bestow on us, we pray, O Lord,
the wisdom and strength of the Cross,
with which you were pleased to endow Saint Rita,
so that, suffering in every tribulation with Christ,
we may participate ever more deeply in his Paschal Mystery.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.