Patron Saint of difficult marriages, impossible causes, infertility & parenthood
At an early age, Rita of Cascia begged her parents to allow her to enter a convent. However, her parents instead arranged a marriage for her when she was only twelve years old to Paolo Mancini, a nobleman with lots of money and little patience and kindness. Rita had her first child at the age of twelve. The marriage lasted eighteen years and was full of abuse, insults and infidelities. Despite the constant torture, Rita kept her Christian faith strong by constantly receiving the sacraments and spending long hours in prayer. Even though he was cruel to her, Rita often prayed for her husband’s conversion. It wasn’t until he was on his death bed after being stabbed repeatedly when Paolo repented. St. Rita also lost her two sons soon after her husband. When she was alone and finally free from the many years of constant abuse, Rita joined the monastery of Augustinian sisters where she was known for her mortification of her flesh and the effectiveness of her prayers. St. Rita of Cascia lived out the rest of her life in the monastery and died on May 22, 1457.
1. The most prominent miracle associated with St. Rita is the wound on her forehead. One day, while meditating on the crucifix, she asked Christ to allow her to join Him in His suffering. It is said that at that moment, a thorn from Jesus’ crown pierced her forehead, giving St. Rita a partial stigmata. The wound never healed and caused Rita a great deal of pain for the rest of her life, but she continually offered it up for the salvation of the world.
2. When Rita was born, a swarm of white bees flew about her and landed on her face and in her mouth leaving her honey. The bees did not harm her and were rather peaceful. This incident is believed to have indicated that Rita’s career was to be one of industry, virtue and devotion.
3. St. Rita had three patron saints (St. Augustine of Hippo, St. John the Baptist and St. Nicholas) whom she implored to help her in times of difficulty. One evening, while praying and before she had entered the convent, these three saints miraculously transported St. Rita into the convent by means of levitation.
Here is a short and fun video that depicts St. Rita of Cascia’s life:
There is no denying that St. Rita’s case of abuse and suffering in marriage is a common one. In America alone, more than four million women suffer domestic violence. This is a staggering statistic and one that should not be taken lightly. Not surprisingly, most of these women do not have the same mindset as St. Rita when it comes to praying for the abusive husband and forgiving them for all the harm they have caused. But there is something that women who have been abused can specifically learn from St. Rita; no matter how terrible life may seem, you are never alone in your suffering. Just as Rita joined in Christ’s suffering, so too (and even more so) does Christ join in ours. Never give up hope, because you are loved beyond measure and have an infinite amount of support from your heavenly brothers and sisters, the saints. So, if you or someone you know has ever been involved in domestic violence first seek professional help from the proper authorities, and secondly never stop praying. Follow in St. Rita’s footsteps and offer it all up to God, because even though your case may seem impossible, nothing is truly impossible with our God.