Tuesday, May 22, 2007

St. Rita of Cascia

St. Rita of Cascia
(1381-1457)


Like Elizabeth Ann Seton, Rita of Cascia was a wife, mother, widow and member of a religious community. Her holiness was reflected in each phase of her life.

Born at Roccaporena in central Italy, Rita wanted to become a nun but was pressured at a young age into marrying a harsh and cruel man. During her 18-year marriage, she bore and raised two sons. After her husband was killed in a brawl and her sons had died, Rita tried to join the Augustinian nuns in Cascia. Unsuccessful at first because she was a widow, Rita eventually succeeded.

Over the years, her austerity, prayerfulness and charity became legendary. When she developed wounds on her forehead, people quickly associated them with the wounds from Christ's crown of thorns. She meditated frequently on Christ's passion. Her care for the sick nuns was especially loving. She also counselled lay people who came to her monastery.

Beatified in 1626, Rita was not canonized until 1900. She has acquired the reputation, together with St. Jude, as a saint of impossible cases. Many people visit her tomb each year.

I love people like St Rita, who came up against seemingly impossible odds, and just got on with it. It is so encouraging to think of her when things seem to be just wrong, when it is so easy to imagine an ideal world in which to live out our calling, a world so different from the one in which we seem trapped by some malignity of fate. But that world does not exist. An "If only" approach to holiness never quite gets underway, never produces the fruit that God longs for in us, and that we know, somewhere deep down, is the only thing that will ever finally satisfy us.

Rita became holy because she made choices that reflected her Baptism and her growth as a disciple of Jesus. Her overarching, lifelong choice was to cooperate generously with God's grace, but many small choices were needed to make that happen; and few of those choices seem to have made in ideal circumstances - not even when Rita had become an Augustinian nun...

This account of her life is derived from the entry at Saint of the Day

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:46 am

    Dear St Rita thank you for your intercessions for me and the healing which i have received. <3


    Nine Day Novena to Saint Rita
    For Impossible or Hopeless Cases

    O Holy Patroness of those in need, St. Rita, whose pleadings before thy Divine Lord are almost irresistible, who for thy lavishness in granting favors hast been called the Advocate of the Hopeless and even of the Impossible; St. Rita, so humble, so pure, so mortified, so patient and of such compassionate love for thy Crucified Jesus that thou couldst obtain from Him whatsoever thou askest, on account of which all confidently have recourse to thee, expecting, if not alwavs relief, at least comfort; be propitious to our petition, showing thy power with God on behalf of thy suppliant; be lavish to us, as thou hast been in so many wonderful cases, for the greater glory of God, for the spreading of thine own devotion, and for the consolation of those who trust in thee. We promise, if our petition is granted, to glorify, thee by making known thy favor, to bless and sing thy praises forever. Relying then upon thy merits and power before the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we pray: (here mention your request).

    Obtain for us our request
    By the singular merits of thy childhood,
    By thy perfect union with the Divine Will,
    By thy heroic sufferings during thy married life,
    By the consolation thou didst experience at the conversion of thy husband,
    By the sacrifice of thy children rather than see them grievously offend God,
    By thy miraculous entrance into the convent,
    By thy severe penances and thrice daily bloody scourgings,
    By the suffering caused by the wound thou didst receive from the thorn of thy Crucified Savior,
    By the divine love which consumed thy heart,
    By that remarkable devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, on which alone thou didst exist for 4 years,
    By the happiness with which thou didst part from thy trials to join thy Divine Spouse,
    By the perfect example thou gavest to people of every state of life.

    Pray for us, 0 holy St. Rita,
    that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

    Let us pray: O God, Who in Thine infinite tenderness hast vouchsafed to regard the prayer of Thy servant, Blessed Rita, and dost grant to her supplication that which is impossible to human foresight, skill and efforts, in reward of her compassionate love and firm reliance on Thy promise, have pity on our adversity and succor us in our calamities, that the unbeliever may know Thou art the recompense of the humble, the defense of the helpless, and the strength of those who trust in Thee, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

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