Religious and Martyr (1853-1936)
+ Rita was born in Aspe, Alcante, Spain.
+ A member of the Sisters of Charity of the Sacred Heart, she was known in religious life as “Sister Rita of Our Lady of Sorrows.” Chosen as superior of her congregation in 1900, she held that position for 28 years.
+ In her role as superior, Sister Rita established schools for girls, particularly in poor areas, and was known for her special solicitude for the sick.
+ Sister Rita eventually retired to her community’s convent in Madrid, offering assistance in the sisters’ college.
+ During the persecutions of the Spanish Civil War, many of the sisters and their helpers fled, but Sister Rita remained behind. Although she was nearly blind, the 83-year old religious cared for orphans and those who were hospitalized.
+ Seized by anti-Catholic vigilantes, she was taken from the chapel where she was praying and shot on July 20, 1936, in Canillejas, Spain. She was beatified with other martyrs of the Spanish Civil War in 1998.
For prayer and reflection
“They did not cling to their lives even in the face of death; therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them.”—Revelation 12:11-12
O God, by whose gift strength is made perfect in weakness, grant to all who honor the glory of blessed Rita that she, who drew from you the strength to triumph, may likewise always obtain from you the grace of victory for us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.