Our Patron Saint

Saint Rita of Cascia

Antonio and Amata Lotti lived in the small village of Roccaporena, near Cascia, in the province of Umbria, Italy. They served as the official peacemakers or reconcilers among their fellow citizens. Because of the devotion to Christianity and good ability to resolve issues, they were known as the Peacemakers of Jesus.

For many years they prayed that they might have child. In 1381, their prayers were answered when Amata gave birth to Rita. They looked upon their only child a very special gift from God since they were already getting on in their years.

The Lottis, being devout Christian people, offered their daughter the witness of strong faith in God and a practical example of Gospel living. Rita shared her parents’ strong faith and religious devotion. She wished to dedicate her life to God as a nun. But, at the time, the civil and ecclesiastical climates were not healthy. Rita’s parents, fearful for her wellbeing, believed that she would be far safer under the protection of a good husband than she would be behind the unguarded walls of a convent. They arranged for her marriage to Paolo Mancini. Despite being initially disappointed, Rita understood this choice to be the expression of God’s will for her and consented to the marriage.

Paolo turned out to be a corrupt, mean, and unfaithful husband. For eighteen years Rita stood by his side despite the abuse. The marriage was blessed with two sons, perhaps twins. Through her prayers, gentleness, and goodness, Rita finally won Paolo’s heart. He apologized to Rita, repented with God and began to attend Church regularly.

Rita’s happiness over her husband’s conversion did not last long. He still had enemies, who one evening took vengeance against Paolo and killed him on his way home from work. Despite being shocked and heart-broken, she forgave the murderers, and tried to make her two sons forgive them too. Instead the boy were determined to avenge their father’s death. Rita prayed that they would die rather than commit murder. Within several months, both boys became seriously ill. Rita nursed them lovingly. During their illness, she persuaded them to forgive and to ask for God’s forgiveness for themselves. They did and both died peacefully. 

Now alone, Rita gave herself to works of charity and to more intense life of prayer. Eventually the desire to enter the convent once more grew in here, but her request for entrance among the Augustinian Nuns of Cascia was refused, not once but three times. Though Rita was known to the nuns of the Monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene, her good character and religious spirit were outweighed, in the judgment of the community, by the violence that surrounded Paolo’s death. The nuns were afraid of tempting the peace of convent life, possibly because one of their members belonged to the family responsible for Paolo’s murder. But Rita felt deeply that this was the vocation to which she was called and she turned to her three patron saints, (Saint John the Baptist,Saint Augustine, and Saint Nicholas of Tolentino) to intercede for her. After the third refusal of the nuns, Rita recognized that she herself must put their fears to rest. She approached Paolo’s family as well as their rivals, and persuaded them to put an end to their hostility and to live in peace.

The example of her own forgiving sprit was an inspiration to them. The families were reconciled. They signed a document to this effect, and when Rita presented the document to the nuns, they allowed her to join the convent. And so, in 1413, Rita Lotti Mancini became Sister Rita.

She lived the life of an Augustinian Nun, according to the Rule of the saint she had chosen years before as her spiritual father, Saint Augustine of Hippo. His was a gentle Rule which invited the members of the community to strive in every way possible to achieve communion of mind and heart with God and one another. Her days were spent in prayer and contemplation, in service to the sick and the poor, and in activities necessary to support the life of the small community.

In 1441, she heard a sermon on the Crown of Thorns. Soon afterward while praying, she asked Jesus to let her share some of his pain. A thorn from this crown of thorns pierced her forehead and made a sore that never healed. The wound because so unattractive and gave off such an odor that Rita was secluded from the others. The wound healed enough for her to attend a pilgrimage to Rome in 1450, but it reappeared after her return and remained with her until her death. She was happy to suffer to show her love for Jesus.

Despite being confined to her bed the last four years of her life and eating little more than the Eucharist she continued her teaching and direction to the younger sisters. A couple of months before her death, a visitor from her home town asked if Rita would like anything; Rita’s only request was a rose from her family’s home. Even though it was January and thinking there was no hope of finding the flower, the visitor did as asked. Sure enough, sprouted on an otherwise bare bush, was a single, brightly-colored rose blossom which the person promptly returned to Rita.

At the age of 76, Rita’s life came to an end on May 22, 1457. People flocked to the convent to pay their last respects to this much-loved lady. Innumerable miracles took place through her intercession, and devotion to her spread far and wide. Saint Rita’s body was preserved perfectly incorrupt for several centuries, and at times it gave off a sweet fragrance.

Saint Rita was canonized on May 24, 1900 by Pope Leo XIII. She is the patron of those in desperate situations, parenthood, and against infertility. She is also known as the patron saint of desperate causes, particularly matrimonial difficulties.

Prayers & Hymns to Saint Rita

Prayer to Saint Rita

Dear Rita, model Wife and Widow, you yourself suffered in a long illness showing patience out of love for God. Teach us to pray as you did. Many invoke you for help, full of confidence in your intercession. Deign to come now to our aid for the relief and cure of [name of sufferer]. To God, all things are possible; may this healing give glory to the Lord.

Amen.

Prayer to Saint Rita

Holy Patroness of those in need, Saint Rita, you were humble, pure and patient. Your pleadings with your divine Spouse are irresistible, so please obtain for me from our risen Jesus the requestI make of you: [mention your petition]. Be kind to me for the greater glory of God, and I shall honor you and sing your praises forever. Glorious Saint Rita, you miraculously participated in the sorrowful passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Obtain for me now the grace to suffer with resignation the troubles of this life, and protect me in all my needs.

Amen.

Prayer to Saint Rita

Come, virgins chaste; pure brides, draw near: Let Earth exult and Heaven hear The Hymn that grateful accents raise, Our song of joy in Rita's praise. By fast her sinless frame is weak; Her livid flesh the scourges streak. In pity for her Savior's woes, Her days and even nights are closed. The thorn-wound on her brow is shown, The crimson rose in winter blown, and full-ripe figs on frozen tree at Rita's wish the wonders see. The widowed spouse and wedded wife the way to heaven see in her life; the way secure our Rita trod, in life's dim day, through paint o God. Praise to the Father and the Son, praise to the Spirit, Three in One; O grant us grace in heaven to reign through Rita's prayer and life-long pain. Thou hast signed thy servant Rita with the sign of thy Love and Passion.

O God! Who didst deign to confer on St. Rita for imitating Thee in love of her enemies, the favor of bearing her heart and brow the marks of Thy Love and Passion, grant we beseech Thee, that through her intercession and merit, we may, pierced by the thorns of compunction, ever contemplate the sufferings of Thy Passion, who lives and reigns forever and ever.

Amen.

 

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