Rita from Cascia

Biography

Rita

Santa Rita

Rita was presumably born in the year 1381 in Roccaporena, a village located in the municipality of Cascia in the province of Perugia, from Antonio Lotti and Amata Ferri. Her parents were very believers and the economic situation was not wealthy but decent and quiet. The story of St. Rita was full of extraordinary events and one of these showed in her childhood.

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Life of Saint Rita

Saint Rita's story was filled with extraordinary events and one of them showed in her childhood.
The little girl, perhaps left for a few moments unattended in her crib in the countryside while her parents worked the land, was surrounded by a swarm of bees. These insects covered the baby but strangely enough did not sting her. A farmer, who in the meantime had injured his hand with his scythe and was rushing to get medical attention, found himself passing by the basket where Rita was placed. When he saw the bees buzzing around the girl, he started to chase them away but, to his amazement, as he shook his arms to chase them away, the wound healed completely.

Tradition tells us that Rita had a precocious religious vocation and that an angel descended from heaven to visit her when she retired to pray in a small attic..

Saint Rita accept to marry

Rita would have wished to become a nun, but when she was still young (about 13 years old) her parents, now elderly, promised her in marriage to Paolo Ferdinando Mancini, a man known for his quarrelsome and brutal character. S. Rita, accustomed to the duty, didn't oppose resistance and went in marriage to the young official who commanded the garrison of Collegiacone, presumably around the age of 17-18 years, that is around 1397-1398.

From the marriage between Rita and Paolo were born two twin sons; Giangiacomo Antonio and Paolo Maria who had all the love, tenderness and care from their mother. Rita managed with her tender love and patience to transform the character of her husband and make him more docile.

The conjugal life of S. Rita, after 18 years, was tragically broken with the murder of her husband, which occurred in the middle of the night, at the Tower of Collegiacone a few kilometers from Roccaporena while returning to Cascia..

The forgiveness

Rita was very distressed by the atrocity of the event, so she sought refuge and comfort in prayer with assiduous and fiery prayers asking God to forgive the murderers of her husband.
At the same time, Saint Rita undertook an action to achieve pacification, starting with her children, who felt it their duty to take revenge for the death of their father.
Rita realized that her children's wishes did not bend to forgiveness, so the Saint prayed to the Lord by offering the lives of her children, so as not to see them stained with blood. "They will die less than a year after the death of their father".

When Saint Rita was alone, she was just over 30 years old and she felt the desire to follow that vocation that she had wanted to fulfill as a young girl flourished and matured in her heart.

Saint Rita becomes nun

Rita asked to go into the S. Maria Maddalena Monastery, but she was refused three times because she was the widow of a murdered man.
The legend says that Saint Rita succeeded and met her goal thanks to the intercession of Saint John the Baptist, S. Augustin and S. Nicholas from Tolentino. They helped her to fly from the "Rock" until the Convent of Cascia in an unknown way. The nuns convinced by the prodigious and by her smile, welcomed her and there Rita remained for 40 years always in the prayer.

The singular miracle of the thorn

It was the Saint Friday of 1432. Saint Rita came back to the convent deeply upset, as she had heard a preacher reminding with ardour the suffering of the death of Jesus and stood praying in front of the cross in contemplation. Full of love S. Rita asked Jesus to share His suffering at least partially. The wonder happened: S. Rita was pierced by a thorn of the crown of Jesus, which hurt him at the forehead. It was an endless pang. S. Rita had the plague for 15 years as a seal of love.

Life of suffering

For Rita the last 15 years were of endless suffering, her perseverance in the prayer made her to spend also 15 days without talking to anyone except for God", Moreover she always wore the cilice causing her suffering, and in particularly she submitted her body to many mortifications: she slept on the floor until she became ill during the last few years of her life.

The prodigious of the rose

Approximately 5 months after Rita’s death, a day of winter with the rigid temperature and snow covered every thing, a relative asked her what she would desire. The Saint answered that she would desire a rose of if she wished some thing, Rita answered that she would wish a rose from her garden. Come back to Roccaporena the relative went into the garden and she was very astonished when she saw a very beautiful rose bloomed; she I o in the small garden and large it was the wonder when it saw a very beautiful rose bloomed, picked and gave it to Rita.

So Saint Rita became the Saint of the "Thorn" and the Saint of the "Rose".

Saint Rita before closing definitively her eyes had the vision of Jesus and of Virgin Mary who invited her in Paradise. One of her sisters saw her soul going up to the sky accompanied by the Angels and at the same time the bells of the church began to ring, while a very gentle scent spread in the Monastery and from her room a luminous light was shining as the sun had entered the room. It was 22nd May 1447

Saint Rita from Cascia has been beatified 180 years after her death and was called Saint 453 years after her death.