Saint Rita is one of the most beloved Saints today, object of an extraordinary popular devotion, because loved by the people who feel very close to her for her amazing "Normality" of the daily life she lived, first as a bride and mother, then as a widow and finally as an Augustinian nun.
Saint Rita Advocate of impossible cases
Saint Rita has its spiritual roots in the "theologia Cordis" which through the primacy of the heart leads to the desire of the imitation of the humanity of Jesus Christ. This medieval devotion includes figures of great spiritual depth such as Francis of Assisi and Angela of Foligno.
Among the very few sources, the first complete reconstruction of the Saint dates back to 1610 by Father Agostino Cavallucci, who collected both the oral tradition inside the monastery of Cascia and of the inhabitants of Roccaporena, and the complex of testimonies that constitute the memory of the Saint's life.
The veneration for this small nun from Cascia increases more and more because of several recoveries, conversions, scents and so on.
Life did not avoid Saint Rita anything:
- When she was very young she was give in marriage to an irascible and brutal man and she had two children. However, thanks to her tender love and passion, she could modify her husband’s behaviour so that he became more docile.
- Saint Rita shared the hard life of her small village.
- Her husband was assassinated and in a little time also her sons died.
- However she did not loose heart, she did not ask for revenge but she could sublimate her pain through the forgiveness of her husband’s murders. She did her best untiringly for reconcile her husband’s family with his murders again, stopping the hatred spiral.
- She entered a convent where she lived for 40 years in assiduous contemplation, penance and prayer, completely given up to God.
- 15 years before she died, Saint Rita received the particular "thorn" of that plague which was printed painful on her forehead, causing incessantly the terrible pains and suffering of the thorns crown.
Her life was marked by the cross, as she accepted the pain tightening her soul and tearing her flesh because she understood the wisdom of the Cross. Then she turned her pain into love giving without asking for return and into a sweeping force of spiritual elevation: love praising God although suffering in a purest and highest sort of charity.
Saint Rita diffused the joy of the immediate and generous FORGIVENESS, of the aimed PEACE, of the intense and sincere LOVE for brethren, of the complete CONFIDENCE in God as His sons, of the CROSS carried with Christ and for Christ. She exhorts us therefore to rely on God so that the divine designs happen.
The force of Saint Rita is in her ability to talk to every heart, to share all our problems. No way how sad you are address yourself to her with confidence. She will tun your prayers into burning and appreciated calls to God. Her intercession is so powerful that devout people call her "Saint of impossible cases, advocate of hopeless cases".
Go on and know this humble woman who with is still today our great master. Let’s ask her to intercede for our troubles, need and fears, but first of all let’s ask her to teach us how to accept suffering as well as to forgive heartily, and to make us to settle our mind and heart in God "so that beyond the changing things of world our hearts are fixed there where there is the true joy"
Saint Rita and the thorns
The central event in the life of Saint Rita, the most certain and best documented, refers to the thorns in her forehead. It is the best known fact of her biography. This is what her sisters said in 1628: "Devoting herself entirely to prayer, she was more willing and with great spiritual pleasure to contemplate the sorrowful Passion of the Lord.
She was amply rewarded by that compassionate affection, because, preaching on a Good Friday in Cascia the blessed Giacomo della Marca of the Order of the Minorites, she let herself be carried away by his fervor to speak of the atrocious pains of the Savior with so much feeling that the listeners were not averagely inflamed.
But Rita, more moved than anyone else, felt overwhelmed by a vehement desire to participate in some way in the torments of Christ. She withdrew to her cell and prostrated herself at the feet of a crucifix, which today is kept in the oratory of the monastery, and began to beg him with hot tears to transmit to her at least a small part of his sufferings. Immediately, by a singular miracle, a thorn from the crown of Christ wounded her forehead to such an extent that the resulting wound remained impressed on her, incurable, until her death, as can still be seen today on her holy corpse.
(Short story, p. 14; D. R. A. II, p. 262).
In the hall of the convent, to the right of the entrance, a painting was found which the commissioners of the trial described as follows: An effigy of the servant of God Rita, dressed in the monk's habit of the Augustinian order, with a bloody thorn in her forehead and shining light on her head; she prays to God with clasped hands with these words, "The thorn is the hope of glory." There is a background inscription: "Blessed Rita of Cascia was a participant in life of the passion of Christ and suffered one of the thorns, shining by her many miracles she is ever more glorious".
(D. R. A. I, 17 v.)
Santa Rita - CODEX MIRACULORUM (1457-1567)
It is the miracle code, that is, an official collection of miracles by Saint Rita that is found on some parchments of the monastery of the same name. It includes four issues. The first contains eleven miracles of 1457, recorded by the notary Domenico Angeli. The second collects twenty-one miracles between 1487 and 1503, recorded by notaries Pietro Angeli (fourteen), Giovanni Amici (six) and Gabriele Bartholomaei (one). The third paper contains six miracles; three before 1524, recorded by the notary Giovanni Antonio Francisci; two miracles of 1535, recorded by the son of the previous, Lucio Antonio a miracle of 1549, recorded by two notaries: Lucio Antonio and Pompeo di Maltagliato.
The fourth paper è relating to the 31 years from 1563 to 1567 and concerns two miracles, noted by the notary Antonio Grassus. There are two copies of this Codex miraculorum, one inserted in the proceedings of 1626 and the other in the Archive of the Augustinian Order in Rome. In total there are 40 miracles, which refer to healings of deaf-mutes, blind, lame and other diseases. Many of these miracles happened while the sick were kneeling before Rita’s body.
When a miracle occurred, a sweet perfume spread that increased devotion, as the witnesses say. The biographer Cavallucci, who wrote his biography in 1610, declares that even today, in our times, when the chest of Rita’s body is opened, one feels a sweet fragrance. And every time the Lord grants a grace through his intercession this perfume and this fragrance increase. Continuing to observe the Codex miraculorum, we note that the protocols of the first three papers end with the formula: Et ego publicus imperiali autoritate notarius (and I notario pubblico per autorità imperiale), followed by the signature of the notary.
At the beginning of the first issue, the notary Domenico Angeli makes a brief review of the life of the saint, indicating his high social condition and stating that a certain most honest sister Mrs Rita, having spent forty years as a nun in the cloister of the church of Santa Maria Maddalena in Cascia, living with charity in the service of God, he arrived at the end of his days like any human being. And God, in whose service she persevered for the time above, desiring to show the other faithful a pattern of life, that as she lived serving God with fasting and prayer, so they also might live, Faithful Christians, he worked admirably many miracles and wonders with his power and for the merits of the blessed. Above all, on May 25, 1457.
(Latin text in D. R. A., vol II, p. 52).
Santa Rita - Lives
She is always alive and intercedes for us before God to the extent that we invoke her with faith. Like other saints, she loves us from heaven and wants us to live a life of faith, loving Jesus with all our hearts. Saint Rita is an example for us. She teaches us by her existence to be compassionate and merciful to the poor, the sick and the needy. She speaks to us of the need to forgive and to never hold grudges in our hearts. The Saint teaches us to accept and offer our sufferings to God with love and to always do His holy will. Rita always sought peace and harmony, and so must we, procuring that in every place there be peace, harmony, union and understanding.
Saint Rita is called the saint of the impossible, because through her intercession God has performed humanly impossible miracles. She loved her children with true mother’s love, but she loved God even more and preferred to see them dead in heaven rather than alive, but murderers and avengers. She was a model for the religious of all orders, because she was able to offer herself as a victim for the salvation of her brothers. Her spiritual motherhood continues to work, helping and interceding for all those who invoke it throughout the world. Rita is an exemplary woman: the saint of silence, forgiveness, peace, the lawyer of the impossible.
(Santa Rita ed. Villadiseriane)
A special invitation
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