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Saint Rita

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Saint Rita
Saint Rita

Saint Rita of Cascia is the patron of lost causes, difficult marriages, and victims of spousal abuse. A powerful intercessor, she was given the title of La Santa de los impossibiles in Spain for the many miracles attributed to her intervention. Her feast day is May 22, the anniversary of her death in 1457.

Born in Italy in 1386, Saint Rita wished to enter a convent. Unfortunately, her parents had other plans, arranging her marriage to Paolo Mancini, a man of fiery temper. For 18 years, she endured his tirades, cheating, and violence, giving him two sons who also rejected her pious beliefs. Mancini was stabbed to death by his enemies, and before dying, he repented to his wife and the Church, and Saint Rita forgave him his long list of cruelties. But the sins of the father were visited upon her sons, who wanted revenge on their father's killers and could not be dissuaded. Saint Rita prayed to God for Him to take away the lives of her sons rather than allow them to commit such a mortal sin. God is said to have heard Saint Rita'sprayers, and her sons died of illness a year later. Rejected by the Augustinian convent at Cascia in Umbria because she was not a virgin, Saint Rita was miraculously transported into the monastery in the dead of night. There she was allowed to remain, at last enjoying the life of obedience, prayer, and charity for which she had always yearned.

Saint Rita is most often depicted with a thorn upon her forehead, holding or kneeling at a crucifix. This image represents her stigmatization at age 60, when a small wound appeared on her brow, as if inflicted by a thorn from Christ's crown of crucifixion. Saint Rita is also represented by the rose, reference to a miracle in which a single rose blossomed upon a bush in January, a sign of God's love for her. On display in a glass case in the Basilica of Saint Rita in Cascia, Italy, the body of Saint Rita is said to have changed positions, her eyes impossibly opening and closing unaided.

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