Saint Rita is also known as Rita of Cascia. She is a very special intercessor in heaven & Saint of the Roman Catholic Church. She is the patroness of impossible causes, of abused wives and heartbroken women.
Rita was born in Italy in 1381. Her parents were the local peace makers and always held meetings with villagers to resolve problems in Christ’s name. They believed in forgiving one another and maintaining the peace in the village. They were blessed with baby Rita at an old age. An angel had appeared to Rita’s mother in a vision and told her she would have a daughter who would be marked with holiness from her birth. This little girl would be gifted with many virtues, the helper of the helpless and the afflicted. The angel announced that the child would be called Rita. Her name came directly from heaven as it was not a known name before.
When she was a baby bees surrounded her, but never hurt her. They would play a symbolic role in her life later on.
As a child little Rita played with other kids, but didn’t enjoy the games as much as her peers. She preferred time spent alone meditating on the passion of our Lord. She loved going to church with her parents to find a corner to herself, say one hail marry and begin meditating on the Lord’s passion. Even as a child she was devoted to the poor. During supper, she ate very little. She then brought whatever she had left to the poor.
Rita always desired to be a nun, but her parents had her marry a soldier. She wanted to honour her parents first, despite the desires of her heart. Her husband was a rather proud, quick tempered and difficult man that she prayed for a lot. Rita endured his insults, physical abuse, and infidelities for many years. Any other woman would have had a mental breakdown, but not Rita. Thanks to her many prayers throughout their marriage he changed considerably. He even began to imitate her saintly ways. After his conversion, together they had two sons. Unfortunately, her husband was murdered violently and Rita had to care for her two sons alone. When they grew up, they also lost their lives and Rita was left all alone. Her parents had now passed away too. She finally decided to give her dreams of becoming a nun a second chance, but they didn’t accept widows in the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene in Cascia. She didn’t give up so easily and she went and asked a second time, and a third time, but still got refused.
She decided to start praying in that matter to her patron saints: Saint Augustine, Saint Nicolas of Tolentino & Saint John the Baptist. One night, she heard the voice of Jesus telling her that it was time that she would enter the convent and to follow him. She followed him to the top of a hill and found herself amongst her three patron saints! They led her to the convent.
Even thought the windows and doors of the convent were locked, she was found praying inside the monastery. She was transported into the monastery of Saint Magdalene via levitation at night into the garden courtyard by her three patron saints. She told the sisters what had happened to her and they finally accepted her into the monastery. The bees I spoke of before entered the convent with Rita and have been there ever since.
She ended up living there for 40 years and serving with Christ’s love and mercy in her heart. During her time there, a Franciscan friar came to preach about the passion and death of Jesus. This mission was focused specifically on the suffering caused by the crown of thorns. Saint Rita was overwhelmed by this message and asked the Lord to suffer a portion of his passion. She asked God for the pain that he suffered in one of the thorns on his crown head. Immediately after this a thorn projected from the crucifix she was in front of and went straight into her forehead. This wound caused her pain, had a bad odour and even worms inside of it. It stayed with her until the end of her life. The church recognizes this as her partial stigmata.
Finally, she got very sick and died at the age of 76 of tuberculosis. When she died, the bells of churches started to ring by themselves! It is said that there was joy in heaven in that moment. Her body is found incorruptible in a glass casket in the Basilica of Santa Rita da Cascia. Every holy week the bees leave the convent and they return on her feast day, May 22nd.
Saint Rita is a perfect model for many women. She lived a single life for many years, but then she was a wife and a mother. Then when she lost her husband and two sons, she became a widow and finally a nun. Patience and Humility are virtues she mastered to perfection. We can also pray to her when we have difficulty forgiving others, as she had this great virtue of forgiveness. After her husband was murdered, she publicly forgave his murderer.
She lived her vows of poverty, chastity and obedience perfectly. She wore one habit her whole life, even tough it had been patched up, it didn’t matter to her. She was buried in the same habit. She fasted every day and she never looked at anything that would be a temptation to her holy purity.
She is the patroness of impossible causes. You can pray to her in many matters, even when it comes to infertility issues.
There is a novena you can pray to her or the prayer below :
I pray this article served you well!
Meet the author
Johanna – Hebrew for “God is Gracious”
I’m a former New Ager, Yogi & spiritual nomad turned Christian after a moment of illumination in 2017. I created this website to help you differentiate between light & darkness and to answer questions about spiritual topics from a Catholic Christian worldview. ->Find me on IG @myjourneytojesus