Saint Rita was born in 1381 in Roccaporena, a small village near Cascia, Italy. Her aged parents, Antonio and Amata Lotti, believed they would never have a child, so when Rita was born, she was considered a very special gift from God.
Rita was baptized in the church of Saint Augustine in Cascia and as she grew, enjoyed spending time with the Augustinian nuns of the Saint Mary Magdalene Monastery. She was so attracted to their way of life that she wanted to become a nun and join their community. Disappointingly for Rita, her parents had other plans for her future. They had pledged her in matrimony to Paolo Mancini, a respected young man in the community. Rita and Paolo were married and became parents of twin sons.
In Cascia, a major competitiveness existed between two popular political groups, the Guelphs, and the Ghibellines. Although Paolo was a peaceful man, he often found himself drawn into their conflicts. His stress over this, sometimes brought tension to his household and although Rita was prayerful and patient, her virtues were not able to protect Paolo from the dangers ahead. Paulo was murdered, leaving her a widow with two young sons.
Rita was heartbroken. Adding to her grief was the fear that her teenage sons would seek to avenge their father’s death. She prayed fervently that her sons would forgive their father’s murderer but they did not agree. Sadly, within a year, both boys were stricken by a deadly illness and died. In addition to being a widow, she was now childless. In spite of her pain, however, she gave thanks to God that her sons died in peace, without the sin of murder on their souls.
Rita, once again, felt a calling to the religious life in the Augustinian convent.
The sisters at Saint Mary Magdalene Monastery were concerned by her eagerness and refused her request. Rita knew in her heart that joining the convent was God’s will for her and refused to become discouraged. She called upon her three patron saints,
Saint John the Baptist, Saint Augustine, and Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, to intercede for her, and she began working to create peace between the competitive families of Cascia. She was successful in this and became known as the loving widow whose forgiving spirit accomplished the impossible. Now, her entry into the monastery was guaranteed.
Rita was thirty-six years old when she pledged to follow the ancient Rule of Saint Augustine. For the following forty years she offered herself to prayer and works of charity, with a special goal to bring peace to the people of Cascia.
On Good Friday in 1442, as she was meditating before an image of Our Crucified Christ, a small wound appeared on her forehead. It seemed like a thorn from Jesus’ Crown of Thorns, fell from the image and penetrated her own skin. She believed it to be a sign of her union with God and although it was painful, she offered her pain for the physical and spiritual good of others. She wore this external “stigmata”, which remained open and visible, until she died.
As she grew older, Rita became increasingly frail. Near the end of her life, she was visited by a family member who asked if there was anything she wanted or needed. Initially, Rita declined but after thinking for a few moments, she asked for a rose from her family’s garden. This seemed a simple favor but since it was January, the weather was cold, and the rose bush was barren, it was not so simple at all. In spite of this, the family member went to the garden and to her amazement, found one beautiful rose on the snow covered bush. She took the rose and quickly returned to the convent to give it to Rita who believed it to be a sign of God’s love. From this time, forward, Rita became known as the saint whose intercession would bring answers for impossible requests.
As she breathed her last breath, her final words to her sisters were, “Remain in the holy love of Jesus. Remain in obedience to the Holy Roman Church. Remain in peace and fraternal charity.”
Rita died on 22 May, 1457. She was 76 years old.
There was a legend which told that when a nun died at the convent, with no one touching them, the bells immediately began to chime. Upon hearing the bells, all the people of Cascia came to the convent doors to honor a life faithfully lived in the service of God. Rita’s sister nuns prepared her body for burial and placed it into a modest wood casket. A carpenter who was partially paralyzed, said that Rita had lived a sanctified life and brought peace to the people of the city, deserved to be laid in a coffin more worthy of her. His words were, “If only I were well, I would have prepared a place more worthy of you.” After speaking these words, the carpenter was instantly healed and Rita’s first miracle was performed. He created an elaborate coffin which held Rita’s body for several centuries but she was never buried. She became known as the “Peacemaker of Cascia” and so many people came to see her tender face that her burial had to be delayed. Something extraordinary was happening in that her body did not begin to decay. To this day, it is still incorrupt. Saint Rita, now, is laid in a glass-enclosed coffin in the basilica of Cascia.
Her feast is observed on the anniversary of her death, 22 May.
Saint Rita is the Patroness of Impossible Causes, also in many Catholic countries, she is known to be the patroness of abused wives and heartbroken women.
Prayer to Saint Rita
O Holy Patroness of those in need, Saint Rita, whose pleadings before thy Divine Lord are almost irresistible, who for thy lavishness in granting favors hast been called the Advocate of the Hopeless and even of the Impossible; Saint Rita, so humble, so pure, so mortified, so patient and of such compassionate love for thy Crucified Jesus that thou could obtain from Him whatsoever you asked, on account of which all confidently have recourse to thee expecting, if not always relief, at least comfort; be propitious to our petition, showing thy power with God on behalf of thy suppliant; be lavish to us, as thou hast been in so many wonderful cases, for the greater glory of God, for the spreading of thine own devotion, and for the consolation of those who trust in thee.
We promise, if our petition is granted, to glorify thee by making known thy favor, to bless and sing thy praises forever. Relying then upon thy merits and power before the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we pray thee grant that (here mention your request).
This rosary honors Saint Rita of Cascia.
Because of her tender nature, we chose to honor Saint Rita with a gentle color. Citrine Czech glass beads are the Aves which are spaced with the same color. The square faceted Paters are a deeper shade. A simple silver bead and citrine crystal roundels flank each Pater. An Italian imported Saint Rita center and etched crucifix complete this limited edition rosary which measures 20”.
Edition limited to three.
Your Saint Rita of Cascia Rosary will be shipped in a fabric pouch and gift box which include a card with full description.
$90.50 including shipping within the US
$105 including shipping outside the US
“The most deadly poison of our times is indifference. And this happens, although the praise of God should know no limits. Let us strive, therefore, to praise him to the greatest extent of our powers.”
Rosary design copyright Marilyn Nash
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