Life of Saint Rita
Rita was born in 1381 in Roccaporena, a village of Cascia in the
province of Perugia. Her parents, Antonio Lotti and Amata Ferri,
were very devout and the economic situation was decorous and calm.
The history of Saint Rita was full of extraordinary events, and one of
these took place during her infancy. The little baby girl, left for a moment
alone in her crib in the country, while her parents were working, was
suddently surrounded by a swarm of bees. These bugs covered her but strangely did
not sting her. A peasant, who had just hurt his hand with his sickle, ran off for help.
Upon passing by the small basket where Rita was, he saw the bees buzzing around
the baby, and tried to drive them away but, with great astonishment, as he shook
his arms the wound on his hand was completely healed.
Tradition tells us that Rita had a precocious religious vocation and that
an Angel descended from heaven to visit her when she retreated to pray in a small attic.
Saint Rita accepts to marry
Rita would have wished to become a nun, but her aging parents, when she was still young
(close to thirteen), promised her spouse to Paolo Ferdinando Mancini, a man
well known for his quarrelsome and brutal character. Saint Rita, accustomed to duty, did not
put up resistance and got married to the young official that commanded the garrison of Collegiacone,
presumably when he was 17 or 18 years old, that is to say around 1387-1388. From this matrimony
twin sons were born, Giangiacomo Antonio and Pablo Maria, who had all the love, tenderness and
care of the mother. Rita obtained, with her tender love and patience to transform her
husband’s character and make him more docile. Saint Rita's married life was tragically broken after 18
years by the murder of her husband, close to the Tower of Collegiacone a few kilometers from Roccaporena,
while they returned to Cascia.
Rita was very afflicted by the atrocity of the event; she sought refuge and consolation in prayer,
and with assiduousness invoked in her prayers the forgiveness of God for the assassins of her husband.
At the same time Saint Rita embarked on actions to arrive at the pacification of her children, who felt
it was their duty to avenge the death of their father. Rita, upon realizing that her sons' wills would not
yield to forgiveness, pleaded to the Lord offering the life of her sons so as to not see them stained with
blood. "They would die less than one year after the death of the father."
When Saint Rita was alone, she was less than 30 years old, and felt the rebirth and maturation in her heart
of the desire to follow that vocation which she desired to realize since her youth.
Saint Rita becomes a nun
Rita asked to go into the Saint Maria Magdalena Monastery, but she was
refused three times because she was the widow of a murdered man. The
legend says that Saint Rita succeeded in overcoming all the obstacles and the closed doors thanks
to the intercession of: Saint John the Baptist, Saint Augustin and Saint Nicholas
of Tolentino. They helped her to embark on the flight of the Scoglio (Rock, Difficulty, Obstacle, Pitfall) to the Convent
of Cascia in a way incomprehensible and unknown to her. The nuns, before this prodigious act, took her in
and there Rita remained for 40 years submerged in prayer.
The singular miracle of the thorn
It was the Holy Friday of 1432. Saint Rita came back to the convent
deeply perturbed, as she had heard a pastor relating ardently the
sufferings of the death of Jesus. She stood praying in front of the Crucified One
in contemplation. In an impulse of love Saint Rita asked Jesus if He could share, at least partially,
His sufferings. The prodigy then happened: Saint Rita was pierced by one of the thorns of
the crown of Jesus. It was a painful spasm without end. The Saint carried this
wound for 15 years as a seal of love.
Life of suffering
For Rita the last 15 years were of endless suffering. Her perseverence in
prayer took her to also spend 15 days without "talking to anyone except
to God". Moreover she always wore the cilice causing her suffering, and in
particular she submitted her body to many mortifications: she slept on the
floor until she became ill and remained in that state during the last years of her life.
The prodigy of the rose
Approximately 5 months before Rita’s death, a day of
winter with frigid temperatures and snow covering
everything, a relative asked the Saint when she was about to leave if she wanted something.
Rita answered that she desired a rose from her garden. Upon returning to Roccaporena the relative went
into the garden and she was very astonished to see a
very beautiful rose in full bloom.
She picked it and delivered it back to Rita.
In this manner Saint Rita became the Saint of the "Thorn" and of the "Rose".
Before closing her eyes for the last time Saint Rita had a vision
of Jesus and the Virgin Mary inviting her to Paradise. One
of the sisters saw her soul rising up to heaven accompanied by
the Angels and, at the same time the bells of the church began to
ring all on their own, while a very gentle scent spread throughout the entire Monastery.
From her room a very luminous light shone, as if the sun had entered the
room. It was 22nd May 1457. Saint Rita from Cascia was beatified
180 years after her passing and cannonized 453 years after her passing.
O beloved Saint Rita, Patroness also of impossible cases and advocate
in despairing cases, ask God to free me from my present affliction (make your petition),
and remove the anxiety that so strongly presses against my heart.
For the anguish you experienced in many similar occasions, have pity on your
devout one, who confidently asks for your intercession so close to the Divine
Heart of our Crucified Jesus.
Our beloved Saint Rita, drive my intentions in these humble pleas and fervent
Amending my past life as a sinner and obtaining the forgiveness of all my sins, I
have the sweet hope to enjoy a day with God in paradise together with you for all
the eternity. Amen
Saint Rita, advocate of despairing cases, pray for us.
Saint Rita, advocate of impossible cases, intercede for us.
Pray 3 Our Fathers, Hail Mary's and Glorias
O Blessed Saint Rita, my powerful advocate, I am here
prostrate before thy Divine Spouse, Jesus, thy Lord,
thy God, and thy All. It is here that I, remembering His favors to
thee, that thou may plead for me. May this blessed Rose,
sweet with the memories of thy daily acts of love before the
image of the Crucified Savior, and of the wonders wrought for
thee in thy agonizing moments, do give me the confidence that thou in
Heaven will plead that I, too, can share in the good things
God has in store for thy clients. Amen
Saint Rita, mystical Rose of all virtues, pray for us.
Saint Rita’s vision of Jesus and the Virgin Mary
Climbing Saint Rita roses
"The Precious Pearl from Umbia" quote byPope Leo XIII
May 22 - Feast of Saint Rita of Cascia - "The Precious Pearl from Umbria"
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The Apostolic Blessing by the Holy See in Rome is bestowed (October 28, 2013)
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