St. Rita was born in 1386, in Roccaparena, Umbria. She was married at the age of 12 to a violent man, who was murdered 18 years later. Rita forgave his murderer, and prayed that her twin sons, who had sworn to avenge their father’s death, might also forgive him. Although her sons died young, Rita was granted her prayer, and they died reconciled to God.
Rita felt called to become a nun in the Augustinian convent as Cascia, but she was refused entry when she first came. After asking the intercession of Sts. Augustine, Mary Magdalene, and John the Baptist, Rita was allowed to enter the convent. She spent the next 40 years there, living in prayer and mortification and serving the people of Cascia.
In the last 15 years of her life, Rita received a stigmata-like thorn wound. She had prayed to be more profoundly conformed to the passion of Christ. Rita was confined to her bed for the last four years of her life, able to consume almost nothing but the Eucharist. She died of tuberculosis on May 22, 1456, at the age of 70.
St. Rita was canonized in 1900 by Pope Leo XIII. She is the patron saint of impossible causes, sterility, abuse victims, loneliness, marriage troubles, parenthood, widows, the sick, bodily ills, and wounds.
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