The feast day of St. Rita of Cascia is celebrated on May 22. She is the patron saint of impossible causes, abuse victims and widows.
St. Rita was born in 1386 in Cascia, Italy. She was known to be very spiritual even as a young child. She enjoyed visiting shrines and wished to become a nun. Her parents were opposed to the idea and arranged for her to be married. Her husband turned out to have a bad temper and was very difficult for her to live with. She dealt with his abuse with prayer, patience and kindness. They had twin sons. Their difficult marriage lasted 22 years. One day while returning home from work her husband was ambushed and killed. St. Rita’s sons were now teenagers and began to talk of revenging their father’s death. St. Rita turned to prayer. She prayed that her sons would not be able to go through with the revenge. Her prayer was soon answered. Both her sons died from a deadly illness soon after without taking revenge on their father’s killer.
After the death of her husband and sons, Rita applied to enter the Augustinian Convent. Her first attempt was denied because of the ongoing feud. Rita persisted however. She convinced her husband’s family to put aside their hostility. The two rival families embraced peace. Rita turned to St. John the Baptist, St. Nicholas of Tolentino and St. Augustine, requesting their intercession. Thee convent changed their decision and allowed her entry. She was 36 when she entered the monastery.
St. Rita had a great devotion for the passion of Christ. She meditated often on the crucifix. On Good Friday, 1442, St. Rita meditated on the suffering of Jesus on the crucifix. She offered to relieve Christ’s suffering by sharing even the smallest part of his pain. As she was meditating, a small wound on her forehead appeared. It appeared to be a thorn from the crown that Jesus wore. St. Rita had this stigmata for 15 years.
St. Rita was confined to bed for the last four years of her life. She ate very little. The Eucharist sustained her and she remained joyful during her suffering. Before her death St. Rita requested a rose be brought to her from her parents’ garden even though it was January. Surprisingly, a rose was discovered to be blooming on the rosebush and it was presented to her. St. Rita gave thanks to God for this sign of God’s love.
Because this impossible request of St. Rita for a rose in January was answered she became the patron of impossible causes. It was also known that her prayers were known to obtain remarkable cures.
St. Rita died on May 29, 1456. Many miracles were recorded after her death . She was canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1900.
St. Rita’s incorrupt body is venerated today in the Nation Shrine of Cascia.
Be at peace with your own soul,
then heaven and earth will be at peace with you.
Quote of St. Jerome; Feast day September 30
May is the Month of Our Lady.