St. Rita of Cascia
14th Century Italy

St. Rita of Cascia in papermaché

Also known as Margarita of Cascia or Rita La Abogade de Imposibles, Saint Rita showed an early interest in religious life among the Augustinian nuns. However she was betrothed at the age of 12 by her parents to an ill-tempered and abusive man. She married him at the age of 18 and bore him twin sons. For 18 years she was a battered wife until her husband was murdered as the result of a political dispute. With much prayer and intervention Rita persuaded her sons not to seek vengeance.

Rita later entered the Augustinian convent at Cascia where she lived for 40 years working for peace in the region as well as spending her time in prayer and acts of charity. She was marked by a wound in her head for 15 years which looked like the result of a crown of thorns.

Near the end of her life a visitor from her home asked if there was anything she would like and she asked for a rose from her family estate. Although it was January, one rose bloomed on an otherwise bare branch. This miracle gave rise to the depiction of St. Rita with roses.

Rita is the patron saint of victims of abusive spouses, as well as desperate, forgotten or impossible causes. She is also the patron against loneliness, difficult marriages, and sickness.

Further information on St. Rita can be found in Lives of the Saints, The Catholic Encyclopedia or Saints Index on Catholic Forum

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