St Rita ~ 22 May Feast Day

Saint Rita was born Margherita Lotti in Roccaporena, Italy in 1381. The day after her baptism, Rita was surrounded by a swarm of white bees, which went in and out of her infant mouth without hurting her. Rather than being alarmed, her family believed she was marked to be virtuous and devoted to God.

At an early age, she begged her parents to allow her to enter a convent but was instead arranged to be married to a cruel man named Paolo Mancini. Young Rita became a wife and mother at only twelve years of age and her husband was a man of violent temper. In anger, he often mistreated Rita verbally and physically. He was also known to pursue other women and he had many enemies.

Paolo had many enemies in Cascia, but Rita’s influence over him eventually led him to be a better man. He even renounced a family feud between the Mancinis and Chiquis. Unfortunately, the feud between the Mancini and Cascia family grew turbulent and one of Paolo’s allies betrayed and killed him.

Following her husband’s death, Rita gave his murderers a public pardon, but Paolo’s brother, Bernardo, was still angry and encouraged Rita’s two sons, Giovanni Antonio and Paulo Maria, to join the feud. Under their uncle’s leadership, each boy became more and more like their father had been before Rita married him, and they wanted to avenge their father’s murder.

Rita attempted to stop them, but both of her sons were determined to revenge their slain father. Rita prayed to God, asking Him to take her sons before they lost their souls to the mortal sin of murder. One year later, her prayers were answered when both of her sons fell prey to dysentery and died.

Following the deaths of her sons, Rita attempted to enter the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene in Cascia, but she was not allowed to join. Though Rita’s character and piety were recognized, her husband’s association with the family feud was greatly feared.

When Rita persisted, the convent told her she could join if she could find a way to mend the wound between the Chiquis and Mancinis.

After asking John the Baptist, Augustine of Hippo, and Nicholas of Tolentino to help her in her task, she attempted to end the feud.

The bubonic plague had been spreading through Italy at that time, and when Bernardo Mancini became infected, he finally abolished the feud with the Chiqui family.

Once the conflict was resolved, Rita was allowed to enter the monastery at the age of thirty-six. It is said that she was transported into the monastery of Saint Magdalene through levitation at night by the three patron saints she appealed to.

While at the monastery, Rita performed her duties faithfully and received the sacraments frequently. Rita had a great devotion to the Passion of Christ, and one day, when she was sixty-year-old, she asked, “Please let me suffer like you, Divine Saviour.”

After her request, a wound appeared on her forehead, as if a thorn from Christ’s crown had pierced her. It left a deep wound, which did not heal, and it caused her to suffer until the day she died.

It is said that as she neared the end of her life, Rita was bedridden from tuberculosis. It was then that she asked a cousin who had come to visit for a rose from the garden in her old home. As it was January, her cousin did not expect to find any roses, but there was a single rose in bloom, which was brought back to Rita at the convent.

She passed away four months later, on May 22, 1457.

Following her death, she was buried at the basilica of Cascia, and was later discovered to be incorrupt. Her body can be found today in the Saint Rita shrine at Cascia.

Rita was beatified by Pope Urban VIII in 1627 and canonized by Pope Leo XII on May 24, 1900.

Saint Rita is often portrayed in a black habit, which is historically inaccurate as the sisters at the Saint

Magdalene monastery wore beige or brown. She is also often shown to hold a thorn, a large Crucifix, or a palm leaf with three thorns to represent her husband and two sons.

In some images, Saint Rita is shown to have a wound on her forhead, holding a rose, or to be surrounded by bees.

Short Prayer to Saint Rita
“God, through the prayer of St. Rita, may we learn to bear our crosses in life in the same spirit in which she bore hers. Amen.”


Chaplet

A chaplet is a series of beads strung together on which prayers are counted as they are recited. The best known of these is the five decade Rosary. The Rosary is a series of five decades (One Our Father, the Title of the Decade, One Gloria and Ten Hail Marys in succession) under a single Title (There are three Title Combinations; The Joyous Mysteries, The Sorrowful Mysteries and the Glorious Mysteries. All of which depict certain episodes in the life of the Blessed Mother Mary.
The combinations of fewer beads for aspirations honoring certain saints are also called chaplets. The nine beads of the Chaplet of St. Rita are blue.
Chaplet of St. Rita
O Holy St. Rita, exemplary Augustinian Sister, we honor you for your devotion to the Passion of Christ. Although your early life was filled with disappointment, frustration, and unceasing tragedy, you never lost faith and trust in God. For this you are the patroness of the impossible, and our inspiration and advocate in desperate circumstances.
Say 3 Our Fathers, 3 Hail Marys, and 3 Glorias.


St. Rita Prayer of the Roses
O Blessed Saint Rita, my powerful advocate, behold me prostrate before thy Divine Spouse, Jesus, thy Lord, thy God, and thy All. Behold me recalling His favors to thee, that thou mayst plead for me. May this blessed Rose, sweet with the memories of thy daily acts of love before the image of the Crucified Savior, and of the wonders wrought for thee in thy dying moments, give me confidence that thou in Heaven wilt plead that I, too, may share in the good things God has in store for thy clients. Saint Rita, mystical Rose of every virtue, pray for us.


prayer to st rita of cascia
Dear Rita, model wife and widow, you yourself suffered in a long illness showing patience out of love for God. Teach us to pray as you did. Many invoke you for help, full of confidence in your intercession. Deign to come now to our aid for the relief and cure of (name). To God all things are possible; may this healing give glory to the Lord. Amen.


St. Rita Prayer
Holy Patroness of those in need, Saint Rita, you were humble, pure and patient. Your pleadings with your divine Spouse are irresistible, so please obtain for me from our risen Jesus the request I make of you: (mention your petition). Be kind ot me for the greater glory of God, and I shall honor you and sing your praises forever. Glorious Saint Rita, you miraculously participated in the sorrowful passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Obtain for me now the grace to suffer with resignation the troubles of this life, and protect me in all my needs. Amen.


Prayer to St Rita of Casica
Prayer of Petition:

All: Glorious St. Rita, patroness of those in need/ your intercession with our Lord is most powerful./ Through the favors obtained by your prayers/ you have been called Advocate of hopeless and even impossible cases./ St. Rita, humble and pure; patient and compassionate lover of Christ Crucified!/ We have confidence that everyone who has recourse to you, will find comfort and relief./ Listen to our petitions and show your power with God in our behalf./ Obtain our petitions for us/ if they are for the greater honor of God, and for our good./ We promise, if our petitions are granted,/ to make known your favor, and to glorify God for His gift./ Relying on your power with the merciful Savior, we ask of you . . .

(here mention your request in silence)
By the singular merits of your childhood, ALL: obtain our request for us
By your perfect union with the Divine Will, …
By your acceptance of troubles in your married life, …
By the anguish felt at the murder of your husband, …
By the surrender of your children, rather than have them offend God, …
By your miraculous entrance into the convent,
By your daily penance and fasting, …
By your courage and joy in bearing the mark of the Crucified Savior, …
By the Divine Love which consumed your life,
By your devotion in receiving the Blessed Sacrament, …
By the happiness you felt in leaving this life for union with Christ, …
By the example you have given to people of every state of life, …

Pray for us, St. Rita, ALL: That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

Leader: Let us pray.
All: Heavenly Father! In Your infinite love and mercy/ You heed the prayer of Your beloved servant, Rita./ You graciously grant favors through her intercession,/ which are considered impossible to human skill and effort./ Relying on her compassionate love, we ask You to assist us in our trials and difficulties./ Let unbelievers know/ that you are the helper of the humble,/ the defender of the weak, and the strength of those who trust in You. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


A Litany is a form of prayer consisting of a series of petitions or requests sung, chanted or spoken by a priest, deacon or leader to which people offer fixed responses.

Litany of Saint Rita

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us, Christ hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, ….
God, the Holy Spirit, …
Holy Trinity, One God, …
Immaculate Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Mother of pure love, …
Holy Mary, Comforter of the afflicted, …
Holy Mary, Queen of all the saints, …
Holy Mary, Model of life for Saint Rita, …
St. Rita, our advocate and protectress, …
St. Rita, beloved by the Lord, …
St. Rita given special grace from heaven, …
St. Rita, remarkable in childhood, …
St. Rita, model of obedience to God’s Will, …
St. Rita, of untiring patience, …
St. Rita, model of Christian mothers, …
St. Rita, mirror for Christian spouses, …
St. Rita, heroic in sacrifice, …
St. Rita, generous in forgiving, …
St. Rita, martyr in penitence, …
St. Rita, embracing humility and poverty, …
St. Rita, exemplary as a widow, …
St. Rita, prompt to answer the divine call, …
St. Rita, patient in suffering, …
St. Rita, mirror of religious observance, …
St. Rita, mystical rose of every virtue, …
St. Rita, enamored of the Passion of Christ, …
St. Rita, pierced with a thorn, …
St. Rita, in ecstasy before the Blessed Sacrament, …
St. Rita, consumed with Divine Love, …
St. Rita, received into heaven with joy, …
St. Rita, incorrupt in your chaste body, …
St. Rita, advocate of impossible cases, …
St. Rita, persevering in prayer, …
St. Rita, help of those in need, …
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
Leader: Lord, you have signed your servant, Rita.
All: With the marks of Your love and Passion.

Leader: Let us pray. O God, Who bestowed on St. Rita such grace that she loved her enemies, and bore in her heart and on her forehead the mark of Your love and Passion, grant us, we beseech You, through her merits and intercession, a love for our enemies. Through our contemplation of Your sufferings and Passion, may we merit the reward promised to the meek and the suffering. You live and reign forever. Amen

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