Rita from Cascia

Cardinal Angelo Sodano

Santi Saturday, May 20, 2000. Pilgrimage of the devotees of Saint Rita of Cascia

Dear Concelebrants, Brothers and Sisters in the Lord.

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A presence of God

Entering this beautiful square of St. Peter's, you have sung the hymn of the Saint: "Every season of the world / goes through a night / and man always feels / lost and childish, / he feels the need for stars, / signs of love in the sky, / and the Lord lights them, / in the sky up there".

Saint Rita is a sign of this love of God. The history of the Church is marked by so many wonderful figures of men and women, who have become for us a proof of the sanctifying power of Christ’s Grace and an encouragement to continue on our journey.

This is also the message that Saint Rita of Cascia has been transmitting for more than five centuries to many men and women in Italy and throughout the world. It is the message of holiness that can flourish in every social condition. It is the message of total conformity to the Will of God, even in the hour of sorrow.

Abandonment in God

In the Gospel we heard the words of Jesus: "My Father prunes every branch that bears fruit, so that it may bear even more". (Jn 15:2). The pruning to which the young Rita of Cascia was subjected was very profound. However, she abandoned herself totally into the hands of the Lord. As the inscription on the urn in which she rests says, "tucta allui se diete", she gave herself entirely to him. She lived and worked for Jesus. Like the Crucified One, she suffered and forgave, always remembering the words of Jesus on the Cross: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do".
(Lk 23:34).

This was her spirituality as a bride and as a mother. This was her interior attitude during the long years - about forty - spent in the Monastery of St. Mary Magdalene. She knew how to find in prayer the breath of hope and in abandonment into the hands of God the Father the secret of her serenity in every trial. This is how we see her in the face of the murder of her husband and the tragedy of the plague that deprived her of her children. This is how we contemplate her in the peace of the convent, in total adherence to the will of God. With Dante, the Saint could have repeated: "In sua voluntate è nostra pace".

As in heaven

In the first three questions of the "Our Father" Jesus invited us to raise our gaze to the Father: to his Name, to his Kingdom, to his Will, to that Will of his which must be carried out on earth as it is carried out in heaven. St. John Chrysostom commented: "that the earth may not be different from heaven"
(homily on St. Matthew 19:5).

At the school of St. Augustine, our Saint had learned to see in Jesus the perfect model of adherence to the Father's will. In fact, we read in St. Augustine, in his commentary on the "Our Father": "We can also, without offending the truth, give to the words: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" this meaning: Thy will be done in the Church as it is in our Lord Jesus Christ, let what is done in the Bridegroom be done in the Bride, who has done the will of the Father"
(De Sermone Domini in monte, 2, 6).

Our roses

Dear devotees of St. Rita, you have gathered here to celebrate your Jubilee. Many of you have also brought with you a rose, the flower so dear to our Saint and which so well represents the ideal of her life: everything for love, only for love. But the most beautiful rose we can bring with us today is that of our love for Christ and His Holy Church. It will be the most beautiful fruit of the Jubilee.

It was in this spirit that our Saint, together with the other Augustinian nuns of her convent, came here to the tomb of St. Peter on the occasion of the canonization of Friar Nicholas of Tolentino on June 5, 1446. Here she had renewed her faith and was renewed in prayer. May it be so for all of you


Ritornerete così alle vostre case portando con voi il ricordo di questa giornata luminosa, confortati anche dalla Benedizione del Papa, che presto sarà in mezzo a noi.

Pope Urban VIII, who, as Bishop of Spoleto, had known well the spiritual irradiation coming from the great figure of the nun of Cascia, had proclaimed her Blessed on July 1st 1628. Pope Leo XIII canonized her at the dawn of this century, on May 24, 1900.

John Paul II will soon join our common prayer that the great Saint of Cascia may continue to intercede for all of us, so that we may be faithful to our Christian vocation, passing on the torch of our faith to the generations of the Third Millennium. And so be it

We renew the invitation

If your heart is eager to do something for your brothers and sisters who are gripped by suffering or loneliness, you can earnestly plead with the Lord. Prayer is one of the highest forms of charity..

If you are also looking for other wonderful brothers who can join you in prayer in one heart, then visit the site of the Invisible Monastery. There you will find a family willing to welcome you with open arms.

If you wish to accept Jesus' invitation, or simply want to try praying from your home, click here and you will find many wonderful brothers willing to join spiritually in a great and heartfelt prayer of intercession.

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