Saint of the Issue: Rita of Cascia

by Natalie Yuhas

 

St. Rita of Cascia was born on May 22, 1457 and was canonized on May 24, 1900.  She is the patron saint of lost and impossible causes, sickness, wounds, marital problems, abuse, and mothers. Due to a reference to St. Rita in The Rookie, she is also unofficially credited as being the patron saint of baseball.

When St. Rita was young, she wanted to enter the convent, but her parents instead arranged a marriage for her.  At the age of twelve, St. Rita married the nobleman Paolo Mancini, who was known for his immoral behavior and had many enemies. She met his abuse and infidelity with prayers and kindness, even though she was miserable in this marriage.  Through her kindness, Mancini was turned into a better man, but his life of feuding eventually caught up to him when, after being married to St. Rita for eighteen years, he was stabbed to death by Guido Chiqui.  In the years following, St. Rita also lost her two sons whom she had with Mancini to natural causes.

 

St. Rita turned to the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene in Cascia after the death of her husband and sons but was turned away not only because she was a widow, but also because there was so much scandal surrounding the murder of her husband.  The convent finally accepted her in 1413, where she became well known for her charity and devotion to prayer. Later in life, St. Rita was meditating in front of a crucifix when a wound, similar looking to the thorn wounds from Jesus’ crown, appeared on her head.  For fifteen years she continued to bear this stigmatization which is why she is often depicted with a crown of thorns.

 

Another common depiction of St. Rita is of her holding a rose. When she was bedridden in the convent near the end of her life, St. Rita asked her cousin to bring her a rose.  Even though it was January and the weather made it impossible for a rose to grow, her cousin found a single rose growing in the garden to bring back to St. Rita.  On her feast day, May 22, churches and shrines of St. Rita bless roses and hand them out to the congregation.

 

Prayer to St. Rita: Holy Patroness of those in need, Saint Rita, so humble, pure and patient, whose pleadings with thy Divine Spouse are irresistible, obtain for me from thy Crucified Christ my request (mention it here). Be kind to me, for the greater glory of God, and I promise to honor thee and to sing thy praises forever.

 

Oh glorious St. Rita, who didst miraculously participate in the sorrowful Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for me the grace to suffer with resignation the troubles of this life, and protect me in all my needs. Amen

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