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Posts Tagged ‘Italian saints’

Zap!

Zap!

St. Rita–possibly short for Margherita, better known as a delicious type of pizza–was born to somewhat elderly parents in Cascia, Italy, near Umbria. Antonio and Amata Lotti, her parents, were quite devout and known as “peacemakers of Jesus,” and that’s why they managed to have a kid at an advanced age. There’s a tale about how, as an infant, bees flew in and out of her mouth without harming her at all. Yum.

Being peacemakers of Jesus didn’t prevent her parents from forcing her to marry the abusive Paolo Mancini at age twelve, even though she repeatedly told them she’d much rather go into a convent. Soon after they married (so, at age thirteen or fourteen), she gave birth to twin boys. Interestingly, even though all the sources focus on how great Rita was, some seem to go out of their way to apologize for her husband’s abuse. A few claim that, as a town watchman, he got “sucked into” a family feud and took the stress out on his wife, and more say that due to her sweet and holy temperament she miraculously changed his demeanor and he became an absolute delight. Sure he did. That’s exactly how abusers work!

Rita and Paolo were married for eighteen years, until he was murdered, probably because he was such a jerk. Their sons, who took after their father, began planning revenge–remember, everybody, the word “vendetta” is from Italian. Selecting the most logical route, Rita prayed for their deaths so that their immortal souls wouldn’t be stained with such an egregious sin. Given that the Catholic church puts so much emphasis on intent, I’m not really sure how that works since they wanted to murder someone, but I assume it’s been convolutedly explained away.

With her family dead, it was finally time for Rita to achieve her dreams: the convent. She applied to join the Augustinian convent that had been the object of her youthful dreams, but was denied since one had to be a virgin to qualify. Long story short, she asked really nicely a bunch of times, and ended up getting in by breaking and entering with St. Augustine, John the Baptist and St. Nicholas of Torentino offering their holy help. When the sisters discovered her miraculously there in the morning, they couldn’t turn her down any more.

One day while meditating in front of a crucifix, she asked Jesus to be permitted to suffer like him. In response to this request, a thorn shot off of the statue’s crown and wounded her in the forehead. Lots of saints are credited with having stigmata, but according to the article on it in Catholic Online, she’s the only one known to have a bad smell emanating from the wound.

She died in 1457, and is now the patron of impossible causes. Pray to her on May 22 and maybe the Redskins will win the Superbowl.

Catholic Encyclopedia

West Coast Augustinians (from the Book of Augustinian Saints)

St. Rita of Cascia: Saint of the Impossible (excerpts by Fr. Joseph Sicardo, OSA)

Dictionary of Miracles

Life of St. Rita of Cascia

Wikipedia

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