Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Saint Rita of Cascia

St. Rita of Cascia
Rita was an Italian woman who lived between 1381 & 1457. She wanted to be a nun, but her parents arranged a marriage for her instead. She married young (some sources say 12 years old) & was trapped in an abusive relationship for 18 years. She & her husband had two sons together. Rita prayed for her husband's conversion all those years, but it wasn't until he was on his death bed that he finally surrendered to God. He had been stabbed by an enemy, which left Rita widowed & pleading with her sons not to exact revenge. It is said they relented & turned their hearts to God. Oddly, they both died a year later, leaving Rita free to enter an Augustinian convent.  Here, she's portrayed contemplating the Passion of Christ & exhibiting a form of stigmata on her forehead. The wound was said to be made by a thorn from Jesus' crown. It never healed.

Rita died at the ripe old age of 76 & was beatified (the first stage of becoming a saint) 170 years later. For whatever reason, another 273 years passed before she was officially  canonized in 1900. She is the patron of hopeless causes, abused wives & women in mourning because her perseverance & intercession eventually bore the fruit of salvation. Her feast day is celebrated on May 22nd.

St. Rita was in the running to be my patron saint because of how she hung in there despite everything that happened to her. She didn't abandon her faith- she cultivated it. She didn't abandon her husband- she prayed fervently for him. After all she had been through, the Lord's passion was her passion. She desired to somehow share in His suffering. As if she hadn't suffered enough. St. Rita was one tough lady & I bet she's one heckuva intercessor in heaven today. This is one gal I want on my side when all seems lost...

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