St Rita of Cascia
Born: 1381 in Cascia Died: May 22, 1457
In the small village of Roccaporena, near Cascia in Italy, Rita Lotti was born to her aging parents Antonio and Amata Lotti, who considered her birth as a miracle from God. Her parents were well respected as peacemakers in the village. Rita grew up very closely associated with the Augustinian nuns, and yet was obedient to her parents’ decision to get married to Paolo Mancini at the age of twelve. She had two sons Giovanni Antonio and Paulo I Maria with Paolo.
Due to the then prevailing political tension, during those times often there was constant rivalry between noble families. Paolo had a bad reputation as a man of violent temper and in his anger he often mistreated Rita. In all these difficult situations, Rita always only pursued peace and prayer. Her constant love towards her spouse despite his behaviour, slowly influenced Paolo to become a better man, even to renouncing a family feud between the Mancinis and Chiquis. However, he was unfortunately betrayed and killed by one of his allies.
Following her husband’s death, Rita publicly forgave his murderers. But her teenage sons were slowly getting influenced by the society to exact revenge. Nevertheless, Rita prayed for peace and eventually convinced her sons also to do the same. But within a year, both her sons succumbed to a deadly disease, leaving Rita not only a widow, but childless. In such deep sorrow Rita continued to find consolation in the love of god. She felt the call to enter religious life at the Augustinian convent.
Her life is a challenge
to every man and
woman, to never
give up, even in the
toughest of situations
But the sisters there refused her request as there were members of her rival family at the convent, and because this would be detrimental to community harmony. So, inspired by her 3 patron saints – St. Augustine, St. Nicholas and John the Baptist, Rita set out to bring peace between the families. Her earnest approach of genuine peace and love towards the families brought about a huge change in Cascia. The families soon exchanged the embrace of peace. At 36, Rita entered the Augustinian convent. She spent most of her time in the convent in deep contemplation, prayer, spiritual reading and works of charity.
Born:1381 in Cascia
Around 15 years before her death, while she was in deep prayer before the crucified Christ on a Good Friday, Rita was united with Jesus in his suffering through a wound caused by a thorn from his crown. The wound remained open till the day of her death. On her death bed one of her relatives visited her and asked her if she had any special wish. Rita requested for a rose from the family garden. It was January’s tough winter, and there was hardly any hope of finding a flower. But when the relative returned home, she found a rose at the same place described by Rita. She plucked and presented the miraculous rose to Rita.
Rita died peacefully on May 22, 1457. Her body is uncorrupted at the Basilica of Cascia.
Her life is a challenge to every man and woman, to never give up, even in the toughest of situations. And in everything to find peace and to pursue peace. She is known as Patroness of Impossible Causes
By Bernadette Avinash