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7. Rita Rita was a housewife and mother to twin boys in a difficult time. In 14th-century Italy, every city was at war with another. The world was a dangerous place, and her husband was in due course ambushed and killed by enemies, leaving her to raise the two boys alone. Disease was also a killer at that time, as Rita learned to her sorrow: about a year after the death of their father, both of her sons died as teenagers. She spent the rest of her life praying for the men who had murdered her husband and for all those who suffer. She herself suffered much but turned her grief into prayer for others. Rita is considered the patron saint of impossible situations and is undoubtedly in heaven right now praying for those who have lost children before their time. Her best parenting tip: Even when the kids have flown the coop, you’ll always be a mother.

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