St. Rita of Cascia - Saint of the Impossible (Wife, Mother, Widow, and Nun) [1381- 1457]
For centuries St. Rita of Cascia has been one of the most popular saints in the Catholic Church. She is known as the "Saint of the Impossible" because of her amazing answers to prayer as well as the remarkable events of her own life.
St. Rita's Birth And The Mysterious Bees
St. Rita was born in the small village of Rocco Porrena about three miles from Cascia, in the province of Umbria, Italy, in the year 1381, during the pontificate of Pope Urban VI.
Just four days after her birth, her pious parents, named her Rita, after God had revealed to them that He desired that she be named Rita, a name till then unknown to the world, and the child was baptized in St. Mary's, the parish church of Cascia, as at the time there was no baptismal font in the church in Rocco Porrena.
Shortly after Rita had received the Sacrament of Baptism, God affirmed by a special miracle, that her name was not of human invention, but rather of heavenly origin.
The day after her baptism, then fifth after her birth, a swarm of bees, white as snow, was noticed hovering and buzzing around the sweet angelic face of little Rita, as she lay sleeping in her cradle.
The bees alighted on her lips and were seen to enter and issue forth from her partially opened mouth, without harming her or causing her to awaken from her slumber.
All who witnessed this prodigy were unable to explain it, and in later years Rita made known the meaning of this mystery by the unique sweetness and simplicity of her manner and by the eminent sanctity of her marvelous life. The bees were also a mysterious foreshadow of Rita's future Beatification that was to take place during the reign of Urban VIII.
This prodigy of the bees, after four centuries, still exists in the small swarm of bees that now dwell in a small fissure in the convent wall, midway between the cell St. Rita occupied and the place of her sepulchre.
Their color is not white, as some have said, but that of the common bee, except the back which is dark red, and they have no sting.
The bees live retired the greater part of the year, but leave their tiny abode during the last few days of Holy Week and return for the feast of St. Rita.
Under the watchful care of her pious parents, Antonia Mancini and Amata Ferri, who jealously and lovingly watched over the child they regarded as a gift from heaven, little Rita Mancini began to be a saint from the moment of her Baptism, for scarcely had she come to the use of reason than she became the possessor of an innocence and purity which were really marvelous in one so young.
Rita's Childhood And Early Years
Little Rita Mancini at an early age took no pleasure in children's games or toys, and in spite of this she had many friends among the children of Rocca Porrena, and even though as a rule she took no part in their games, she took pleasure in seeing her friends enjoying themselves.
As Rita grew older, she would prefer to retire to a remote corner of the house to pray and contemplate the divine mysteries, particularly the Passion of Jesus Christ, a devotion she had inherited from he pious parents.
One of little Rita's chief delights was to go to church with her parents and when she entered the church would seek out the most retired place, where she recited the Angelic Salutation, which she knew by heart.
Little Rita had a great devotion and love for the poor, for while at table she would preserve one portion the family meal for herself, and the rest for some poor child of the neighborhood.
The people of Rocca Porrena, when they saw how different Rita Mancini was from the other children of the hamlet, and when they saw as she grew older, her life becoming more holy, respected and revered her as a person grown old in virtue, the mothers of Rocca Porrena, continually reminded their own daughters to look to Rita as their model.
The fame of little Rita's holy life became known and spoken of in many of the towns and villages of Umbria.
The little child, who appeared to be a little angel living in the world, yet immune to its imperfections and corruption was a cause of joy to the inhabitants of her humble birthplace, and predicted by the swarm of white bees around her cradle entering and issuing from her sweet mouth.
Already a model of innocence and purity, and though still a child, it was Rita's ardent desire to live a solitary life in some hidden cave or grotto where she might pass her days in prayer and contemplation, because she desired to be alone with God.
However her love and obedience to her aged parents, whom she felt would oppose this, hindered the fulfillment of her holy desire.
She spent one whole year in seclusion in a retired part of the house, meditating on the sorrowful mysteries of the Passion of Jesus Christ, and at the end of that year saw her parents needed her constant aid and assistance, especially her mother.
Having spent a few years employed in the duties of housekeeper, Rita arrived at the age when young girls, especially in Italy, are accustomed to chose their future state in life.
Rita Sacrifices Her Will To Parental Obedience
At the age of twelve, she made her choice, consulting no one but God as it was her desire to consecrate her virginity to God.
Rita, made it known to her parents her determination and obtain their permission.
When her parents, Antonio Mancini and Amata Ferri heard of her desire they were overcome with sadness, but quickly Rita agreed to remain at home and assist them in their old age.
In spite of Rita's promise to remain at home to comfort and assist her parents, this in no way weakened her determination to preserve her virginity, which she already desired to consecrate to God, and seeing that there was little hope of embracing the religious state while her parents were living, she resolved never to embrace the married state.
Rita Sacrifices Her Will And Consents To Enter The Married State
Having made this resolution, Rita's heart was filled with consolation and joy, but this did not last long, for her filial love and obedience were soon to be put to a further test, for her parents, Antonio Mancini and Amata Ferri, overjoyed that their daughter had given up the idea of entering a convent, now determined that she should enter the married state.
The unexpected announcement of her parents brought tears to Rita's eyes and nearly broke her heart. When Rita had recovered herself a little, with dove-like simplicity she said to her parents: "My parents, I do not wish any spouse but Jesus Christ. Years ago I dedicated my whole body, soul and heart to His love and holy service. Because you wished it, I gave my promise not to enter a convent. I fell sure without embracing the married state, that I will be able to console and comfort you, and provide for all your necessities, until God calls you to a better and happier home."
But Antonio and Amata had made up their minds and turned a deaf ear to the heartfelt words of their daughter, who judged that further words would be useless, retired to the isolation of her beloved oratory. fell on her knees and raising her eyes with confidence to the crucifix, asked her crucified Lord and the Queen of Angels and Virgins to obtain for her from God the lights which would prove most acceptable to His divine majesty and conducive to her soul's salvation.
It is very certain her fervent prayers were heard by God, who soothed and consoled her aching and troubled heart. As soon as Rita had learned that it was the will of God, that she should submit to the will of her parents, and that she would please God more by her submission than by following her own will, she resolve there and then, to obey her parents.
We may believe that God made known to His servant, Rita, that she should conform and submit her will to the will of her parents, and that by doing so, she would obey His holy will without losing any of the merits already gained by the ardent desire of consecrating her virginity to Him as the sole Lord and Spouse of her heart and soul.
Rita returned to her parents and prostrating herself at their feet, and humbly asked their pardon for the repugnance she had shown to their will, and told them she was willing to embrace whatever state of life they wished her to enter.
St. Rita's Marriage
Rita's parents were overjoyed that their daughter had consented to enter the marriage state and immediately began to search for a suitable husband for their daughter.
That Rita's choice would have been different and a better one than that of her parents, there can be no doubt, but Rita had no say in the matter, for Antonio Mancini and his wife Amata selected for their future son-in-law, a young man whose name was Ferdinando, the son of well-to-do and influential parents.
He was a gifted man, but proud and arrogant, surely in speech, and by no means a religious man.
Ferdinando was the very opposite in character and nature to the model and gentle Rita, and no doubt felt highly honored when he learned he was the only one who might pay court to their daughter.
After a short courtship, he and Rita pledged their marriage vows before the altar of God, in the presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.
Rita had been married only a short time when Ferdinando began to show his true colors, and Rita began to experience the trials and sorrows that would mark her new life. Ferdinando's conduct towards his new wife can only be described as inhuman, and his words were always harsh and cruel.
Ferdinando flew into rage at everything Rita said or did, so that instead of a companion and protector, he was her relentless persecutor. Thus, it was that Ferdinando, the husband of Rita, did all he could by his wicked and pig-headed conduct make her life miserable and unhappy.
From the very beginning of her married life, her husband Ferdinando was an obstacle to peace, but Rita met his opposition with humility and patience, so that whenever he became angry she planned to sweeten his temper, sometimes by silence or when his anger was over, with holy words would try to reason with him, and make him understand how great was his offense against God.
This manner of acting on the part of Rita, had a beneficial effect on her husband, who soon became embarrassed and ashamed of his behavior towards his saintly wife, would rush from the house and not return until he had calmed down and regained his composure.
The Conversion Of Rita's Husband
As time passed, Rita observed with joy that her humility and patience, helped out with much prayer and tears, was softening his ungovernable temper, and that God had opened the eyes of Fernando and made him see what a cruel husband he had been to persecute and torment a wife, who bore and tolerated his anger with meekness and served him with humility.
Ferdinando became at last a changed man, for he saw as in a vision, what manner of man he had become, and was truly penitent, and frequently thanked God for having given him as a wife so good and praiseworthy a woman as Rita, who by her humility and patience had led him from the paths of wickedness and disorder onto the pathway of virtue and peace.
Peace and harmony was soon established in Ferdinando and Rita's household, with words of prayer and kindness were constantly on the lips of Ferdinando, instead of anger and abuse. At home, he was kindness itself, and showered every kind loving attention on Rita, and away from home he could not praise her enough.
God Blesses Rita's Marriage With Two Children
Not long after Ferdinando's conversion, Rita was visited by sorrow as she mourned the passing of her parents, who taught her the first lessons in piety and the way of Christian perfection.
But this sorrow was soon lessened as God sent her a great blessing that filled her heart with joy, two beautiful children.
The birth of their first child, received at the baptismal font, the name of Giovanni, and filled the hearts of Ferdinando and Rita with joy an gladness, and there was no happier mother in all of Rocca Porenna, than Rita.
This happiness was to be duplicated when God sent a second child, who was baptized Paulo. Like his little brother, Giovanni, Paulo was offered to God, and now Rita and Ferdinando had four little feet to guide on the path to heaven.
As Giovanni and Paulo advanced in years, Rita taught them to pray and impressed upon their minds the value of humility and patience, whose beautiful virtues Rita herself was a shining example.
Rita's Virtues Practiced During Her Married Life
St. Rita demonstrated during the course of her married life that the practice of virtue is not incompatible with the holy state of matrimony. The secret of Rita's facility in the practice of virtue was that she kept herself, at all times and in all places in the grace and presence of God.
Although Rita never committed a grievous fault, she punished her innocent body with the discipline and kept it under control of the spirit by continual fasting. On the feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary she took only bread and water.
Rita was also an apostle of true charity, and in her love for God, there was nothing she could do for her neighbor which she didn't do. She visited the sick, nursed them and prepared their medicines. She distributed bread and clothing among the poor and needy. She kindly admonished the careless in their religious duties and persuaded them to become fervent Christians.
In her frequent visits to the sick, she consoled them, exhorting them to patience and resignation, and it is traditionally held among the citizens of Rocca Porenna, that St. Rita restored many sick people to health by reciting one single"Hail Mary." by their bedsides.
Rita dissolved enmities and hatred that existed among her neighbors, just as did her mother and father when they were the peace-makers of Rocca Porenna.
She was a devout client of St. John the Baptist, St. Augustine and St. Nicholas of Tolentine.
Death Of Ferdinando - Sorrow Of St. Rita
Although Rita had reformed her husband and had made him a man of peace, Ferdinando had not a few enemies in Rocca Porenna, for before his marriage, and for some years after, he had engaged in many disputes with companions as hot-headed and impulsive as himself.
He was adept with the stilleto or dagger, and was generally the victor over his adversaries. And so Ferdinando had many enemies who bided their time in seeking revenge.
That day arrived, and he was attacked outside the walls of Rocca Porenna, and stabbed to death, leaving his lifeless body beside the roadside, bleeding from a dozen wounds.
When news of his death reached Rita, she was overcome with grief, and wept as though her heart was breaking and could not be consoled.
St. Rita prayed to God and said to Him: "O God, enter not into judgement with Thy servant Ferdinando, for in Thy sight no one will be justifed.' Rita did not forget to have recourse to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
When the dead and bleeding body of her husband was brought home, Rita again gave full vent to her grief and sorrow, with torrents of tears, but then, all of a sudden, as if a whisper from Heaven had reached her ears, the fountain of her tears dried up, and with resignation she praised the name of the Lord, who was pleased to take to Himself the husband whom He had given her at the foot of His altar.
St. Rita's Sacrifice Of Her Two Sons To God
Although the death of her husband, Ferdinando had left Rita a widow, she was not left alone, for God had blessed her with two sons who were now grown up. and on these she centred her utmost care and attention. She implored God to preserve their innocence and help her guide them in His holy law in which she had taught them.
Giovanni and Paulo, grew up God-fearing and God-loving children, but as they advanced in years, Rita observed a change taking place in the characters of her sons, and that both had become steeped in the false idea of honour and justice in relation to their father's death, and that the unauthorized right of revenge in Italy at that time, known as the Vendetta, lay heavily upon them.
Initially, it never entered Rita's mind that her sons had any thought of avenging his death, but one day she heard a conversation between her two sons, and learned to her great surprise and sorrow, that they wre inclined to revenge the assassination of their father.
Summoning Giovanni and Paulo to her side, she pleaded with them to erase from their minds all desire for revenge, and like Christ, who asked pardon for those who had crucified Him, she sincerely hoped she would be able to persuade her sons to also pardon the murderers of their father. She reminded them this terrible act would make themselves murderers as well.
When Rita saw her sons were bent in their desire for revenge, she fled to the crucifix and beseeched Christ to either change the desires of her sons or no longer spare their lives.
God heard her prayers, and both sons died within a year, well-prepared to go before the judgement seat of Almighty God.
St. Rita's sacrifice was the exact copy of that made by the Eternal Father of His only Son on the Cross, for Rita, not only pardoned the murders of her husband, even saved their lives by offering to God the sacrifice of the lives of her two beloved sons, Giovanni and Paulo.
Rita's Life Of Penance After The Death Of Her Two Sons
Rita was now alone in the world as a widow and orphan, and since all the ties connecting her to the world were now gone, she resolved to live solely for God, and spent much of her time praying with devotion and never ceasing to thank God for all the graces and favours she had received from Him during the course of her life.
She never left her home unless to go to church or to visit the sick or perform works of charity among her poor and needy neighbors.
She spent much of her time speaking to her beloved Jesus, asking Him to admit her into the doors of the cloister: "O my dear Lord and Master. Since I am now free, when will the time come when You will admit me into the haven of religion?"
She wept bitterly when she received no response, thinking that there was something lacking in her love and affection towards Him. She was consoled at the thought of the abandonment of Jesus as he hung dying on the Cross of Calvary, and renewed her plea to Jesus to open the doors of the cloister.
Rita's Applies For Admission To The Convent - Her Request Repeatedly Denied
St. Rita had long desired to embrace the religious state of life, and since she had a particular devotion to the great St. Augustine and his spiritual son, St. Nicholas Tolentine, she wished to become a spiritual daughter of the saint by joining a community of nuns that was governed by the the same rule which St. Augustine gave to the community of religious he founded when he was Bishop of Hippo, in Africa.
There were two communities of Augustinian nuns in Cascia, during Rita's time. One community resided in the convent called St. Mary Magdalen, or the Maddalena, while the other community was named after St. Lucy the Martyr.
Sometimes Rita would make the journey from Rocca Porrena to Cascia, and her guardian angel always guided her steps into the church attached to the Maddalena convent, where she prayed and meditated until it was time to return home.
One day while she knelt in the oratory of her house, her eyes fixed on the crucifix and speaking to Jesus how anxious she was to enter the cloister and become a nun, a ray of divine consolation penetrated her heart and soul. She immediately rose from her kneeling position and made haste directly to the door of the convent od Maddalena.
She knocked at the door, which was opened by the sister-portress, who ushered her inside to the guest reception area, after learning that Rita desired to speak to the prioress.
St. Rita made known the reason for her visit when prioress came, who listened with attention to the humble but earnest petition of St. Rita to be admitted into the community, and kindly told her she would present her application for membership before a Chapter Meeting of the nuns in the community.
Considering according to the rule of the Augustinian Institute of nuns only young girls whose vocations are certain are to be admitted and by special dispensation only, widows, it was no surprise that the nuns voted against admitting Rita .
St. Rita being refused entry into the convent
Rita with clam exterior received the news, but must have been very much disappointed, and instead of returning home to Rocca Porrena she remained in Cascia in the home of a friend, and after a short while made a second application, only to be refused again.
Her third attempt to be admitted was likewise all in vain, and it seemed God wished to try further the patience of Rita. Rita then returned to Rocca Porrena, judging the time was not right, and was confident God would soon come to her aid, and help overcome that which the prioress of the Maddalena Convent had said was impossible.
St. Rita Enters The Maddalena Convent In A Miraculous Manner
After St. Rita returned to Rocca Porrena, and with the words of the prioress still ringing in her ears" "My dear woman, it is impossible for you to become a member of our community," she determined to use every holy means to make possible what human lips had told her was impossible, and spent nearly all her days and nights beseeching her beloved Jesus to shorten the time of her anxiety and admit her as one of His brides within the walls of the cloister.
St. Rita also employed the aid of her patrons, St. John the Baptist, St. Augustine and St. Nicholas of Tolentine, firmly believing that through their powerful intercession God would hasten the fulfillment of her only worldly desire.
That time was fast approaching.
One night while engaged in prayer and meditation, she heard a loud knock at the door of her house and a voice which called: "Rita! Rita!" As the hour was late, naturally a slight feeling of fear crept over her for a moment, but a quick prayer to heaven gave her the courage to approach the window.
She opened the window and glanced out to see her it was that was calling her. Seeing no one at the door, St. Rita thought what she had heard was was an illusion or perhaps a ruse of the Evil One to divert her from her prayers.
She immediately resumed her prayers, but was again interrupted by the same voice which said: "Rita! Rita! Fear not. God will admit you into the cloister as His spouse."
This time St. Rita understood the true meaning of the double call, and her heart gave itself up to so fervent a prayer that she became rapt in ecstasy and saw in a vision the three saints whom God had sent to aid her, St. John the Baptist, St. Augustine and St. Nicholas Tolentine.
She then heard a celestial voice, that of her beloved Jesus who called and said to her: "Come, Rita, My beloved. It is time for you to enter the Maddalena Convent whose door was so often closed against you."
Awakening as it were from a profound sleep, St. Rita rose from the prie-dieu on which she had been kneeling, went to the window and saw a person of venerable appearance standing at the door. He wore a garment of camel hair, with a leather girdle, and he made signs that she should follow him.
St. Rita recognized the person as St. John the Baptist, and with her heart filled with joy she followed her holy guide.
Together they climbed the rugged steeps of the reef called Schioppo, and were met at the summit by St. Augustine and St. Nicholas of Tolentine. So bright was the light which radiated from the countenances of her three patrons, she felt like she was, so to speak, on Mt. Thabor.
St.Rita enters the convent miraculously with her three patron saints
St. Rita prostrated herself at their feet, and thanked them with humble and devout reverence, for all the favors they had obtained for her.
They commanded her to arise and follow them, and immediately obeying them, walked behind them as they made their way to Cascia.
It was a memorable journey as she listened to her guides conversing with one another on the way, and arriving at the door of the Maddalena, which they found closed tightly, her guided nevertheless led her into the cloister.
The two guides then addressed her with these words: "Rita, remain a rational bee in the garden of the Spouse whom you have so long and ardently loved, so that, collecting the flowers of virtues, you may build a sweet honey-comb. You are now in the house of your Spouse, Jesus. Love Him with all your heart and soul, and your eternal salvation is secure. Return thanks to God for so great a favor done in your behalf. Praise His infinite mercy, and publish that there is nothing impossible to God. Rita, the impossible is overcome in your behalf."
Having said these words, the three saints disappeared.
St. Rita overcome with happiness because she now was within the cloister, spent the remainder of the night in giving thanks to the Lord for the singular favor he had bestowed upon her.
When the morning arrived, and the nuns of the Maddalena discovered there was a secular within the cloister, they were both surprised and astonished, for how could she have got in for the doors were locked, and on checking it was confirmed the doors were indeed locked.
The nuns asking who she was, and how she had entered the cloister, Rita replied: "I am the poor widow of Rocca Porrena who many times asked to be admitted as a member of your community, and was many times refused as unworthy of so great a happiness. But know this, beloved Superioress and Sisters, that God, wishing to do me a singular favor, sent, last night, to my house in Rocca Porrena, His precursor, St. John the Baptist, accompanied by that Sun of Heaven, St. Augustine and that Star of Heaven, St. Nicholas of Tolentine, to conduct me into your midst. Nevertheless, I ask you, in the name of that God who has favored me with His Mercy, to accept me as a member of your community."
The nuns of the Maddalena listened with astonishment as Rita told them how she had entered the cloister, and after she had related her story to them, all the nuns cried out with one voice that they accepted her as a companion in their community, and begged her to pardon them for having refused her so many times her admission into their convent home.
St. Rita Returns Home To Rocca Porrena - Distributes Her Temporal Goods Among The Poor - Receives The Augustinian Habit
St. Rita was filled with joy when the nuns of the Maddalena exclaimed they would gladly accept her as a companion and admit her into their community, and before receiving the religious habit, she returned to Rocca Porrena to sell whatever property she possessed and distribute all the proceeds to the poor and needy, so that she would not have a single tie or obligation that would bind her to the world. She, by doing so, renounced her native village, and would be known as St. Rita of Cascia rather than St. Rita of Rocca Porrena.
Returning to Cascia, St. Rita received the Augustinian habit in the convent of the Maddalena at Cascia, and was now on the way to becoming a bride of Christ, and a spiritual daughter of her beloved protector, St. Augustine, and a spiritual sister of her other protector, St. Nicholas of Tolentine.
She began her novitiate with so much joy and consolation that the nuns were both charmed and edified with their new companion and thanked God for having placed in their midst such a marvelous model of every virtue.
St. Rita was a model novice who willingly and cheerfully performed the most laborious occupations of the convent, and was never happier than when employed in some lowly office. She was prompt and punctual at all the community exercises, and the sound of the bell that called the nuns to chapel was for St. Rita the voice of God.
St. Rita Makes Her Solemn Profession - She Is favored With A Mysterious Vision
At last the day had arrived and Rita had completed her novitiate, and the day upon which she would make her profound solemn profession of the three vows of obedience, poverty and chastity, according to the rule of the illustrious St. Augustine, which she made in the chapel of the Maddalena in the presence of the nuns, and thus became a spouse of the Son of God.
St. Rita's profession filled her heart with unspeakable joy and gladness, and to make her understand that the sacrifice she had made was pleasing to God, she was favored with a mysterious vision that delighted her heart and inflamed her soul to arrive at the pinnacle of religious perfection, by means of the three vows she had made, helped by the virtues she had begun to practise from her earliest childhood.
On the night of her solemn profession, Rita was favored with a vision which pointed out to her the sure way of arriving at the port of eternal salvation.
As she was kneeling before the crucifix in her little cell, she saw a ladder standing upon the earth, with the top touching Heaven. She observed God at the top of the ladder inviting her to ascend, and she also saw angels ascending and descending by it.
While contemplating this vision she heard a voice which said to her" "Rita, if you wish to unite yourself to God in Heaven, you must climb this ladder."
When the vision disappeared, St. Rita felt much consoled and filled with heavenly bliss because she had had seen God, though it was only for a brief moment.
Considering the mystery of the ladder, St. Rita recalled that there were angels who ascended and descended by it, and she understood that she must become like them, and that she herself must build at once a spiritual ladder, on whose steps made of virtues, she could ascend to heaven, and enjoy there for all eternity the presence and companionship of God.
As she ascended higher and higher on her spiritual ladder, St. Rita was careful to hide them from the public gaze, in case vainglory should extinguish the light of her virtues. The steps she took to hide her advancement was in the virtue of humility.
St. Rita understood the true meaning of the words of her divine Bridegroom" "Learn of Me, because I am meek and humble of heart."
St. Rita Observes The Vows Of Obedience, Poverty and Chastity
The first resolution Rita made after her solemn profession was to arrive at the summit of religious perfection by a strict observance of the vows she had professed in the chapel of the Maddalena Convent.
She at once began to climb the ladder of religious perfection by placing her foot on the step of obedience which is the first step or rung of the ladder as St. Augustine said: "Poverty is great virtue because it rules over riches. Chastity is also a great virtue because it dominates the flesh, but the virtue of obedience is greater than either because it rules and restrains the intellect and the will."
Obedience am be of two kinds, the first being 'blind obedience,'which inclines the subject to obey the command of the superior without considering the difficulty or the command being unjust or impossible. It may be called perfect obedience.
The second kind of obedience, involves the subject understands perfectly the difficulty of the command of his superiors. He feels how repugnant it is to the intellect and violence it does to the will, but notwithstanding this knowledge, he promptly and joyfully obeys. This kind of obedience is most perfect.
Jesus Christ Himself gives us an example of this obedience, because being divine Wisdom itself, he became obedient even to the death of the Cross.
So obedient was St. Rita, that whenever she was commanded by her superioress of the Maddalena to do anything, even though she knew the command was impossible, she obeyed with the same promptness as if the command was easily executed.
The superioress of the Maddalena, in order to put her obedience to the test, commanded St. Rita to water daily a dead and withered plant in the convent garden.
St. Rita obeyed without saying a single word about the uselessness of her labor, and she watered the plant every day for a year, even though she knew it would not revive without a miracle.
God rewarded the obedience of St. Rita, to the great astonishment of the nuns, the dead plant revived and put forth leaves and flowers, and was the most beautiful of all the plants in the garden.
Another example of St. Rita's obedience occurred in the year 1450, when Pope Nicholas V, declared it a jubilee year, in which many indulgences could be gained by those visiting Rome.
As some of the nuns had received permission to travel to Rome, St. Rita wished also to go, and approached the superioress and humbly asked if she could accompany the nuns. The superioress seeing the disfigured forehead of Rita, was disinclined to agree, but added" "Sister Rita, I will permit you to make the journey to Rome provided the wound on your forehead is healed before you depart."
St. Rita went at once to the chapel and asked her divine Spouse if it was pleasing to Him that she make the journey to Rome, and if so he would heal the wound on her forehead, and resigned herself to His holy will and her superioress.
God seeing the humble resignation of St. Rita heard her prayers, and the wound was immediately healed and St. Rita was granted permission to go to Rome with the other sisters.
Rita's next step on the ladder of religious perfection was the strict observance of virtue of poverty, and after she had made her vows, she never had the least affection for riches, not forgetting that before Rita had begun her novitiate in the convent of the Maddalena, she had sold all she possessed in the world and distributed it to the poor and needy.
All this that she might follow her divine Spouse, Jesus Christ, who professed it when He was born poor in a cold stable and died naked on the Cross. His only belongs were three nails and a crown of thorns.
Because St. Rita loved poverty so much, she never wore but one habit, the very one she received the day of her entrance into the convent, and when she died she was buried with that very same habit.
When the nuns questioned her why she continued to wear the same old patched habit she replied with humility" "Sisters, i wear this old habit to imitate the poverty of my Spouse, Jesus Christ."
As St. Rita was a perfect model of obedience and poverty, so too was she, by a miracle of God's grace a perfect model of chastity, for this beautiful virtue as professed and practiced in the religious state is truly a gift from God, for nature cannot give it.
Although we cannot place St. Rita in the number of those virgins who form the assemblage apart in Heaven, since she entered the married state, still she preserved always the virginity of her soul, she was like to the angels in purity.
From her earliest childhood, St. Rita desired to consecrate herself wholly and entirely to God, and she embraced the married state not because she wanted to, but in obedience to the will of God and of her parents.
St. Rita kept a vigilant guard over her senses lest they be an occasion of offense against her vow, and her angelic life did not escape the notice of the arch-enemy of God, who tried to tempt her to offend against her vow.
She directed all her efforts to subjugate her body to the spirit, and employed means that some who have no faith would call extreme folly, such as fasting and abstinence.
Her fasting included eating but one meal a day, consisting of bread and water, for the most part, and by weakening her body she became spiritually stronger, and whenever she felt the least rebellion in her body, by some diabolical temptation, she would cast herself on the snow covered ground, until the temptation ceased.
She slept but a few hours each night with the remaining hours spent in prayer or in doing needlework for the community. She wore always next to her body a rough hair garment interwoven with thorns which very often penetrated her flesh.
Not content with thus punishing her body she scourged herself three times a day, and as she herself tells us that by doing so she became strong spiritually and was always sure of gaining victory over the attacks of Lucifer. The devil continued to attack her and suggested that she would soon die if she continued fasting; he once appeared to her as a large and hideous dragon to try and frighten her, but St. Rita had no fear of her old enemy and put him to flight by making the Sign of the Cross, or by pronouncing the name of Jesus and Mary.
For more than forty years St. Rita led a life of penance and mortification, and strange to say, she was not ill a single day, and her first illness came when her divine Spouse called her to come to Heaven to enjoy with Him forever, that glory and honour which she had merited by her holy and mortified life.
Her virtue as a Religious
The fame of st. Rita's virtues and sanctity spread outside the Convent of the Maddalena, that multitudes came to Cascia to seek her advise and the aid of her prayers.
Although she would have preferred to remain in the solitude of her convent cell, than to engage in human conversation, her great zeal in the service of God and her charity toward her neighbor prompted her to meet and receive every class and condition of peoples.
Some sort her prayers for the benefit of their health or advice in their temporal affairs. Very few who had recourse to St. Rita were disappointed, and many sick people were restored to perfect health and temporal difficulties were solved through her advice.
St. Rita's fervent prayers and powerful intercession were enough to cure as young child who was sick and close to death, and which medical science was unable to offer help to save the poor child's life.
The poor mother overcome with grief hastened to the Maddalena Convent and earnestly besought St. Rita to ask God to spare her child. St. Rita spoke kindly to the mother and consoled her saying: "My good woman, have faith. God is good. Your daughter will not die. You will find her well when you return home."
As soon as the woman had left her presence, she hastened to the chapel and asked God to spare the life of the dying child. Her prayers were heard and answered immediately, and to her joy , the afflicted mother returned home to find her young daughter completely cured of her illness.
The Miraculous Wound On Her Forehead
St. Rita receives one of the seventy-two thorns
After listening to a sermon by a visiting Franciscan friar, who spoke about the sufferings caused to Jesus by the crown of thorns, which so impressed St. Rita that she wished to partake of some of the pain the Lord suffered, she asked Our Lord to give her one of the seventy-two thorns which pierced His head.
Her divine spouse, no longer able to resist her desire, granted her request, and one of the thorns like an arrow penetrated the flesh and bone and remained fixed in the middle of the forehead, leaving a wound which lasted all of her life.
The pain of her wound increased day by day, and the wound became so ugly that some of the nuns were unable to look at it.
Not wishing to be an inconvenience to the nuns, St. Rita remained nearly all her time in her cell engaged in divine contemplation. St. Rita was happy even in her sufferings, and when the nuns sometimes brought nourishment or to speak with her, because they loved her dearly, they were edified by her wonderful patience.
St. Rita's Journey to Rome
Pope Nicholas V had proclaimed the year 1450 to be a Jubilee year, and St. Rita, knowing some of the nuns were preparing to to make the journey to gain the indulgences granted by the Church.
St. Rita desirous of going herself to Rome, humbly asked the superioress permission to go with the other nuns.
The superior after gazing at the wound on her forehead refused the request if the wound was not healed beforehand, saying "Be resigned and consoled. God will accept your good and worthy desire and will reward you."
St. Rita hastened at once to her divine Spouse and asked Him to take away the wound so that she could go to Rome.
Her humble request was heard, and He healed her wound at once. St. Rita gave thanks to God for the signal favor, and leaving her cell she went at once to her superioress.
The superioress and the nuns were both surprised and astonished to see such a sudden cure of such an ugly and loathful wound.
The superioress willingly granted permission for St. Rita to travel to Rome with the other nuns, who when they arrived in Rome visited all the station churches prescribed to be visited; she prayed with such devotion and piety to gain the indulgence of the Jubilee.
This was noticed not only by her sister nuns, but also by thousands of pilgrims who cried out in admiration, "that Augustinian nun is an angel on earth."
As St. Rita returned from Rome and as she stood on the steps of the convent, she was filled with joy, and as she then crossed the threshold, at that very moment the old wound became visible on her forehead and she began to suffer intense pains. The nuns were surprised at seeing the disfigured forehead, but recognized that it was indeed a gift from God.
St. Rita's Illness And Signs That attested To her Sanctity
For four years after her return from Rome, St. Rita suffered more pain from the wound on her forehead than before she made the journey to Rome, so that her life became really a martyrdom.
Moved with compassion for her sufferings or pleased with her, Jesus came from Heaven to visit and console her with His divine presence, and which filled her soul with extreme delight as she gazed upon the divine beauty of Jesus.
After Our Lord had disappeared there remained in the heart of St. Rita so deep a wound that she became so ill with divine love, suffering a violent attack of fever, that she was obliged to betake herself to her hard bed where she lay move dead than alive,
She never uttered a single sigh or word of complaint during those four long years of her illness. She sought no human relief, and for four years was nourished miraculously only by the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
God was to make manifest the fact that St. Rita is able even to obtain the impossible from God, if she asks it.
And so, divine providence disposed her, while she was ill, to ask that a flower and two figs be brought to her from the little garden which St. Rita at one time owned and cultivated with her own hand.
One day in the month of January, a cousin of St. Rita came to the Maddalena Convent to visit her. The visit was a short one, for on that particular day St. Rita was very ill and suffered much.
On taking her leave she asked St. Rita if there was anything she could do for her.
"Yes, Cousin", said St. Rita, "bring me a rose from the garden of my old home in Rocca Porrena."
That request surprised her cousin who thought her mind was affected by her illness, and because as it was the middle of winter and the climate of Rocca Porenna was exceedingly cold, her cousin, to humor St. Rita agreed she would try to fulfill the errand, even though she thought it would be impossible to find what she had asked for.
St. Rita responded: "My dear cousin, there is nothing impossible to God."
On entering the garden, her cousin was astonished and amazed to see on a leafless rosebush, a beautiful red rose in full bloom, which she picked and returned to Cascia as quickly as possible and gave the rose to St. Rita.
St. Rita with her miraculous rose
The Saint received the rose with great joy, and she kissed it reverently several times, while she thanked God. St. Rita then handed the miraculous rose to the superioress who passed it round into the hands of all the nuns, who after admiring its beauty returned thanks to God, who, to make known the sanctity of of their beloved sister Rita, had caused a most beautiful rose to grow in the midst of a cold winter.
Shortly after this miracle, God worked another miracle at the request of St. Rita.
When her cousin again visited the convent in the same month of January, St. Rita asked her cousin to go and bring two figs she would find on a certain frozen fig tree in the garden of Rocca Porenna.
The woman hastened at once to the garden and had no difficulty in finding the tree St. Rita had described, and seeing two ripe figs she picked them and brought them to St. Rita.
St. Rita received the figs with the greatest joy, and the nuns thanked God for the second time for having confirmed the sanctity of theri beloved sister.
However, St. Rita considered the two miracles a warning that the time was near at hand when she would pass from this life to enjoy for all eternity the incorruptible flowers and seasoned fruits of the celestial Paradise.
La Translation Miraculeuse de Sainte Rita de Cascia
Oil on panel
Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, England
As far as I know, the legends of the rising of the saint's body never
had her flying up above the countryside. It may be that Poussin is
visualizing what Cavallucci called her transito, the lifting of her soul to Heaven (99-102).
More of St. Rita of Cascia
Source: Wikimedia Commons
To Be Continued ...
PRAYER TO ST. RITA
Holy Patroness of those in need, St. Rita, whose pleadings before the 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; St. Rita, so humble, so pure, so mortified, so patient and of such compassionate love for thy Crucified Jesus that thou couldst obtain from Him whatsoever thou askest, 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, for the spreading of thy 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 on thy merits and power before the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we pray thee (here mention your request).
Obtain for us our request
By the singular merits of they childhood,
By thy perfect union with the Divine Will,
By thy heroic sufferings during thy married life,
By the consolation thou didst experience at the conversion of thy husband,
By the sacrifice of thy children rather than see them grievously offend God,
By thy miraculous entrance into the convent,
By thy severe penances and thrice daily bloody scourgings,
By the suffering caused by the wound thou didst receive from the thorn of thy Crucified Saviour,
By that remarkable devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, on which alone thou didst exist four years,
By the happiness with which thou didst part from thy trials to join thy Divine spouse,
By the perfect example thou dist give to people of every state of life.
Pray for us, O St. Rita, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
LET US PRAY
O God, Who in Thine infinite tenderness hast vouchsafed to regard the prayer of Thy servant, blessed Rita, and dost grant to her supplication that which is impossible to human foresight, skill and efforts, in reward for her compassionate love and firm reliance on Thy promises; have pity upon our adversity and succor us in our calamities, that the unbeliever may know Thou art the recompense of the humble, the defense of the helpless, and the strength of those who trust in Thee: Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. AMEN.
Project Veritas - CNN Admits Being Very Fake MSM News!
Sarah Sanders encourages everyone to watch these videos
CNN - We Have To Conclude that:
Project Veritas and Washington Post Retraction
A Stack Of Frivolous Lawsuits - A Message From James O'Keefe [ 21 September, 2017 ]
The Disproportionate Number of Jews At CNN -Anne Coulter
UNICEF - United Nations Children's Fund
Is one of the many organisations operating under the banner of the United Nations, a Jewish backed organisation, which no Christian (Catholic) should be involved with .... for example:
Carlye M. Stern is the president and CEO of UNICEF, U.S.A. - she is the daughter of a "Holocaust" survivor, her mother being a Jew.
She has been, or is involved with the ADL, the Anti- Defamation League - a Jewish organisation aimed at fighting Anti-Semitism and Hate Speech.
"The U.N. is a Jewish idea" - David Ben-Gurion, First Prime Minister of the State of Israel.
When it first saw the light of day, nearly a half century ago in Chicago, the Anti-Defamation League publicly promised itself a long and fruitful career. And this cockiness in the cradle has been more than justified through the years that followed. Fawning American Jews have no rosier tale to pass down to posterity than the story of the rise and rule of the A.D.L.
Actually, there was no marvel about it. The Anti-Defamation League had to succeed. Its parent was the wealthy and world-wide Order of B’nai B’rith, the exclusively Jewish branch of Freemasonry.
All of B’nai B’rith’s extensive operational set-up was at the Anti-Defamation League’s disposal. Every local lodge established a special A.D.L. committee. And every individual lodge-member became a spare-time A.D.L. agent. It was not that he was forced to. He was delighted to. For the Anti-Defamation League was the answer to every American Jew’s dream.
Here at last was an organization that would take the curse off the Jews. Here was an organization that would fight for the little Jew and free him from the stigma of being a “Hebe” and a “Yid”; that would get his son into the Gentile colleges, his wife into the Gentile summer resorts, and himself into the “exclusive” Gentile country clubs. The Anti-Defamation League meant dynamite to blast away the last remaining Christian barriers — and every Jew was chafing to light some local fuses.
Assured of this wholesale support, the Anti-Defamation League pursued its campaign with swift vengeance. Immediately, public men and public officials felt the pressure. Congressmen and newspaper editors were forced into line. Soon, the A.D.L. was pushing its way confidently into every traditional American sanctuary.
The class-room, the living room, even the parish pulpit came under the scrutiny of Anti-Defamation League investigators. Any hint, anywhere, that Jews were being treated the way Jews have always been treated in Christian society brought down the mighty wrath of Jewish Masonry. Snooping, threats, libel, blackmail, boycott, and the masterful smear technique leveled the few recalcitrants.
As a pledge of their success in breaking down our country’s healthy and Christian aloofness to Jews, the Anti-Defamation League has expanded its program in late years to fight for other Jewish objectives. It has exerted its gestapo energies in promoting the United Nations, in panning Senator McCarthy, in pushing the Christ-less Brotherhood religion, in protesting the prosecution of Communists, in propagandizing for the State of Israel, in penetrating and polluting anti-Communist groups, and, most effectively, in plotting the present “civil rights” agitation in the South.
Working elbow-to-elbow with the N.A.A.C.P. (the Jew-headed, Jew-financed National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), the Anti-Defamation League has had a part in every phase of the program to rob the South of States’ Rights and set black man against white man in areas where, for generations, they have lived in harmony.
Heni .... kao što je obećano
Only Catholics Are Christian
A Christian is someone who follows the true faith of Jesus Christ.
In the Acts of the Apostles, we read that it was at Antioch that the followers of Christ were first called Christians.
Acts 11:26- “And they conversed there in the church a whole year; and they taught a great multitude, so that at Antioch the disciples were first named Christians.”
Interestingly, it was also at Antioch, in the year 110, that the term “Catholic” was first applied to the Christian Church. This was done by the famous martyr of the ancient Christian Church, St. Ignatius.
St. Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, Chapter 8, 110 A.D.- “Apart from the bishop, let no one do anything that pertains to the Church. The only true Eucharist is the one performed by the bishop or by him whom the bishop has appointed. Wherever the bishop is, there must be the congregation, just as wherever Jesus Christ is there is the Catholic Church.”