Monday 5th December 2016

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Rita Of Cascia

May 20, 2014 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

The vendetta in Italy gained a reputation as being brutal and persevering. For centuries, families would hold animosity resulting from an offense. A vendetta means a series of acts done over a long period of time to cause harm to a disliked person or group. Even in Catholic Italy of the 14th century, the vendettas were very real. Only the saintly, such as Rita of Cascia, could defuse the vendettas of her time.
In 1381, the Lotti couple, Antonio and Amata, had long hoped for a child. Finally they received a daughter to whom they gave the name Margherita, meaning pearl. They were known in their tiny village of Roccaporena in Cascia as being the Conciliatore di Cristo, or Peacemaker of Christ. Coming from noble lineage they exemplified all that is good in Christians, seeking to reconcile those at conflict and raising their daughter to be both charitable and pious.
Rita, as she came to be called, set her heart on entering the Augustinian convent at an early age, dedicating her life to God. However, as with so many other saints, her parents had other plans for her. Her father insisted that she marry a man whom he had chosen. Thus, at the very young age of 12 — according to our times — she was married to the man of her father’s choosing. Rita hoped that by obeying her parents, she was doing the will of God.
This turned out to be a considerable cross for Rita, for like the husband of St. Monica, her husband was cruel and heartless. In fact, he had the reputation of being the terror of Cascia. For 18 years Rita remained a faithful and patient wife, bearing him two sons. Sorrowfully, she watched as her two sons became more and more influenced by the bad example of her husband.
They too became violent. Rita continued to pray not only for her husband but also for the souls of her two sons. Again like St. Monica she shed many tears for their salvation. Those tears bore fruit. Her husband repented and begged her forgiveness for the many trials and injustices she suffered because of him.
But habits are not easily broken. While out drinking once again, he became involved in a brawl which resulted in death-causing injuries. As her sons witnessed the men carrying in the body of their father covered in wounds, they vowed to “bring justice” to his killers. Rita sat in prayer day after day praying that their plotting would come to no avail.
As time went on her prayer changed. She begged God to take their lives rather than allow them to carry out their vendetta. She would rather save their souls than their bodies — a mark of a mother’s true love. What St. Ambrose told St. Monica, he could have told St. Rita. Surely the many tears she shed would not allow her sons to be lost.
Her prayers were answered. Despite all their plans, they became so ill they could not carry them out. Both of her sons contracted a fever through which Rita nursed them untiringly, but with some relief knowing they could not commit the grave error they had contrived. Through her ministrations and counseling, they soon repented of their plans. They died forgiving the men who killed their father and asked the Lord for His forgiveness in turn.
Now that Rita was alone in the world with no husband, no children, and no family, she again yearned for the religious life within the walls of the Augustinian convent. Despite her application to the nuns at the Cascian convent, she was rejected on the grounds that even though she was a widow, she was not a virgin.
Again she applied, was refused, and finally on the third try her persistence was rewarded. Rita was so focused on becoming a religious that she offered to do the most menial tasks if they would but let her enter the convent. The rules were finally changed and she joyfully accepted the habit in 1413.
Rita was obedient to her parents when she married the man they chose for her. She was obedient for the 18 years of her married life. Likewise, she was obedient to her superiors in the convent. So diligently did she observe all that was asked of her that she earned the respect of her sisters in Christ.
When she was ordered to water the stump of a dead vine in the garden, she did so not just once but daily, continuing to tend it as though it were the most fruitful plant in the garden. Austerities brought her joy. If the rule was relaxed in any way, Rita would still practice the stricter sacrifices and even, with permission, go beyond them.
Despite these penances, she did not become cantankerous. Rita remained cheerful and charitable, always willing to care for any of her colleagues. She offered her prayers and sacrifices for the conversion of those who had lapsed in the practice of their faith. Her prayers were motivated by her great love of God and all that He created.
Rita had always loved to pray, spending much of her prayer time in contemplating the Passion and death of Jesus Christ. In the cross of Christ she discovered the greatest romance of all time. When she listened to the sermon of St. James della Marca on the crowning of Jesus with the thorns, she rejoiced at his eloquence.
Later, while contemplating this event of the Passion, Rita received a special gift: a thorn pierced her brow, causing her great pain but exquisite joy. The wound she received then became infected. It appeared so disgusting and smelled so putrid that she was secluded from the other nuns.
Rita did not complain nor did she ask our Lord to take the wound away, except on one occasion. The Augustinians were to make a pilgrimage to Rome for the year of the jubilee in 1450. In order for her to accompany them, she asked our Lord to take it away, which He did quickly. Upon her return to Cascia, the wound returned and remained with her until the day she died on May 22, 1457.
Her feast day is celebrated on May 22, and she is a patron saint of lost causes.
Dear St. Rita, even today your body remains incorrupt. Your love for God, your austerities and prayers won many souls for the Kingdom of Heaven. Lead us in learning to love our neighbors enough to suffer not only for them but from them as you did in your lifetime. Amen.

+    +    +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Congress doubles budget for investigation of Planned Parenthood baby parts scandal

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 2, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Congress voted to double the budget of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, meaning the panel will continue investigating Planned Parenthood and the sale of aborted baby body parts through 2016. Republicans…Continue Reading

Catholic church prepares to fight ‘grave evil’ of mass deportations

American leadership in the Catholic church laid low during the presidential election but San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy is now making clear that if President-elect Donald Trump makes good on campaign promises of mass deportations of unauthorized immigrants, the church is prepared to take…Continue Reading

Fake Catholic Groups and the “Catholic Spring” Emails

Beginning in 2007, orthodox Catholic writers including myself wrote dozens of articles in an attempt to expose the funding and duplicitousness of two fake Catholic groups: the OSF funded Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United. (For…Continue Reading

Rubio on Castro Condolences: Obama’s Response ‘Pathetic’; My Catholic Faith Does Not Bind Me to Pope’s Foreign Policy Stances

(CNSNews.com) – Asked Sunday about Pope Francis’ expression of sorrow on the death of Fidel Castro, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said that as a Catholic he believes in the Pope’s theological authority but his faith does not bind him when…Continue Reading

Head of Vatican Court: Cdl. Burke Could Be Stripped of Red Hat

The Dean of the Roman Rota, the Vatican’s top canonical court overseeing marriage, is issuing an ominous warning to Cdl. Raymond Burke that he may be stripped of his cardinalate for allegedly causing “grave scandal.” Speaking Tuesday at a lecture at the…Continue Reading

Cardinal Pell defends four cardinals for asking ‘significant’ questions

Cardinal George Pell has come to the support of the four cardinals who have submitted dubia about the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia. Following an address to an audience in London, the Australian cardinal was asked whether he agreed with the…Continue Reading

Third bishop backs four Cardinals: I was ‘overwhelmed’ with similar questions

POLAND, November 25, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A third bishop has now publicly risen in defense of the four Cardinals who have been vilified by influential prelates after going public with their request that Pope Francis clarify whether or not his…Continue Reading

Fidel Castro, Cuban Revolutionary Who Defied U.S., Dies at 90

Fidel Castro, the fiery apostle of revolution who brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere in 1959 and then defied the United States for nearly half a century as Cuba’s maximum leader, bedeviling 11 American presidents and briefly pushing…Continue Reading

The Pope Isn’t Talking, But His Cardinal Friends Are. And Accusing

ROME, November 23, 2016 – Not one word has come from the mouth of Pope Francis after four cardinals publicly asked him to resolve five major “doubts” raised by the most controversial passages of “Amoris Laetitia”: > “Seeking Clarity.” The…Continue Reading

Trump calls for national healing on Thanksgiving

WASHINGTON — After a long and bruising political campaign, President-elect Donald Trump Wednesday called in a video for the nation to “speak with one voice and one heart.” “It is my prayer, that on this Thanksgiving, we begin to heal our…Continue Reading

Critics need ‘conversion’ to accept Amoris Laetitia: Cardinal Cupich

“It’s going to take conversion, on the part of all of us, and examine ourselves to say, ‘What is it that the Church is teaching here that maybe I need to change, rather than saying that the Holy Father has…Continue Reading

Bishop Athanasius Schneider Issues Statement Supporting the Four Cardinals

schneider

The following is a statement from His Excellency Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana. It is reproduced here in its entirety: “We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth” (2…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Catholic leaders: climate change on same level as abortion and death penalty

Opposition to abortion and the death penalty have long been cardinal beliefs for the Roman Catholic church, whose faithful make up about a quarter of all Americans. What if fighting climate change becomes an equally passionate issue in parishes nationwide? The foremost group of Catholic leaders in the U.S. is ramping up a campaign to do just that, urging priests and congregations from San Diego to Atlanta to think about global warming as a sanctity-of-life issue. Some Catholic experts have…Continue Reading

Pope approves decrees for causes for canonization

(Vatican Radio) On 1 December, the Holy Father Pope Francis received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. In the course of the audience, the Supreme Pontiff authorized the Congregation to promulgate decrees regarding several causes for canonization. The martyrdom of Father Stanley Rother, an American priest killed in Guatemala our of “hatred for the faith,” was officially recognized; as was the heroic virtue of Mother Catherine…Continue Reading

German Theologian and Book Author Strongly Comes to the Defense of the Four Cardinals

fourcards

Maike Hickson “This Is an Insult Toward Many Catholics!” is the trenchant title of an article written in defense of the Four Cardinals and published today on the Austrian Catholic news website, kath.net. The author of this text is Dr. Markus Büning, a German theologian, lawyer, book author, and father of a family. Several of his books have dealt with the question as to how one is to grow in holiness; one book deals with…Continue Reading

San Diego bishop to priests: Embrace ‘LGBT families’, give Communion to ‘remarried’

SAN DIEGO, California, November 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy is calling on his city’s priests to embrace “LGBT families,” and to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion in certain cases. Following a much-hyped diocesan synod on the family last month, Bishop McElroy encouraged priests to publish a diocesan notice in their bulletins saying the Church will “assist those who are divorced and remarried and cannot receive an annulment to…Continue Reading

ACLU wants to force Catholic health care system to sterilize women

WASHINGTON – Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter Monday to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that asks the agency to reject an administrative complaint that the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed on behalf of a woman who insisted that a Catholic health care system sterilize her. ADF explains in the letter that federal law protects Ascension Health, the nation’s largest nonprofit health system and the world’s largest Catholic health system,…Continue Reading

Re-Sacralizing The Sacred

By DONALD DeMARCO One of my better students, who was enjoying a course I was teaching, asked me if I would like to speak to the members of his Bible study group. I felt honored and happily accepted his cordial invitation. The study group, made up exclusively of young adults, met in the home of…Continue Reading

The Grand Impostor

By DEACON JAMES H. TONER Proverbs tells us: “What a joy it is to find just the right word for the right occasion” (15:23 Good News Bible). So it is with the word imposturous, which ideally captures the essence of the deceit which characterizes what masquerades as social ethics. If an impostor is someone who…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . How Law Is Actually Made

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Vermeule, Adrian. Law’s Abnegation: From Law’s Empire to the Administrative State. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2016. 254 pp. “Law’s Empire” of the subtitle is a reference to Ronald Dworkin’s influential 1986 treatise, Law’s Empire. Adrian Vermeule, a professor of law, acknowledges Dworkin to be one of the great legal scholars of…Continue Reading

A Film Review… “Believe”: Give Faith A Chance

By REY FLORES Christmastime is always a time for movie studios to try and cash in on holiday-themed films, hoping to catch some of that Christmas spirit from the public. Often times, Hollywood presents the usual junk with a secular Christmas twist that has nothing to do with the real purpose or meaning of Christmas.…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Church Teachings On Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, “Euthanasia,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + Conclusion “They are dictating how medicine should be practiced. You know the [Supreme] Court is…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

What Is Faith?… The Powers Of The Devil

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM What are the powers of the Devil? What can that creep do to us? Because of the general ignorance of Church teaching on the Devil that is commonplace in our days, people tend to fall into two opposite extremes: either to belittle or deny the Devil’s action or to be overanxious about it, fearing him…Continue Reading

Gifts Of The Holy Spirit — Counsel

By DON FIER “No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God” (1 Cor. 2:11-12). These words of St. Paul to the Corinthians give us a glimpse of the…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Fr. George Rutler is on the money again in his post-election bulletin column at St. Michael’s Church in New York City: “Considering how many crucial matters were at stake during the recent election, including the right to life and religious freedom, and the preponderant bias in the media and opinion polls, it did not seem melodramatic to hope…Continue Reading

He Is God, Let Him In!

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Third Sunday Of Advent (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10 James 5:7-10 Matt. 11:2-11 In the Gospel reading today, Jesus asks the crowds who made the journey to hear St. John the Baptist what they went out into the desert to see. He gives them a few options: a reed swayed by the wind, someone dressed…Continue Reading

The Feast Of Christ The King… Pope Francis Says The Heart Of Christ Is Always Open

(Editor’s Note: Below is the text of the homily Pope Francis delivered November 20 for the closure of the Jubilee Year of Mercy and the Feast of Christ the King. (The Holy Father said that “even if the Holy Door closes, the true door of mercy which is the heart of Christ always remains open wide for us.” (The Holy…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Peter Fourier

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the Catholic Church, there are many examples throughout history of religious orders that have been reformed or have been in need of reform. After many years the members of religious orders tend to relax rules until they do not live much differently than the laity. It seems that discipline and fervor are closely related — without…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Catherine Of Alexandria

By CAROLE BRESLIN The list of saints is long, and includes both men and women from all walks of life and from all disciplines. For some saints, there is a plenitude of documents and accounts of their lives from which we can draw much information. For most of the saints from the early centuries of the Church, however, there is…Continue Reading