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Monday, May 22, 2006
St. Rita of Cascia
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Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): May 22
Mass in Some Places (1955 Calendar): May 22

St. Rita was born in Italy in 1386 to Antonio and Amata Lotti. Even at a young age, Rita visited the Augustinian nuns at Cascia, and she showed interest in a religious life. However, at the young age of twelve, her parents betrothed her to Paolo Mancini. Rita was disappointed, but remained obedient and married Paolo at the age of 18. Paolo was an ill-tempere and abusive individual who worked as town watchman. St. Rita of Cascia became the mother of twin sons.

After eighteen years of living with Paolo's abuses, Rita's life changed when Paolo was ambushed and stabbed to death. Her sons swore vengeance on their father's killers, but through Rita's prayers and interventions, they were able to forgive the murderers. After the death of Paolo, St. Rita of Cascia desired to enter the convent. However, some of the sisters at the Augustinian convent were relatives of her husband's assassins, and she was denied entry. At the age of 36, after praying for the intecession of intervention of Saint John the Baptist, Saint Augustine of Hippo, and Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, she was able to enter the convent.

St. Rita lived in the convent for 40 years and was especially devoted to the Passion of Christ. In response to a prayer to suffer as Christ suffered, St. Rita received a chronic head wound that appeared to have been caused by a crown of thorns. The wound bled for 15 years. For the last four years of her life, St. Rita was confined to her bed and ate nothing more than the Eucharist. When St. Rita was near death, she received a visitor who asked if she would like anything. Rita's only request was a rose from her family's estate. The visitor went to the home, but since it was January, knew there was no hope of finding a rose. Yet, sprouted on an otherwise bare bush, was a single rose blossom.

St. Rita of Cascia died on May 22, 1457. She lived an extremely devout and holy life. She was canonized on May 24, 1990.

Prayer

O God, Thou didst confer on Saint Rita the great graces of loving her enemies and of bearing on her brow the marks of Thy love and Thy passion. Through her prayers and merits may we forgive our enemies and dwell upon the sufferings of Thy passion and so receive the rewards promised to the humble and to those who mourn: Who livest and reignest.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

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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