— Council of Vienne ♰♰♰

Friday, May 22, 2020

St. Rita of Cascia

by Msgr. Paul Guerin, 1882

Saint Rita was born in Italy in the late 14th century, near the little city of Cascia, of parents who though advancing in age had no children; she was the fruit of their pious prayers. At the age of twelve she resolved to consecrate herself to God by the vow of chastity, but her parents required her to marry. She obeyed; and God, who perhaps wished her to serve as an example for those having to bear with violent spouses, permitted that she be joined to a man of ferocious character, who terrified the region where he lived.

During eighteen years she succeeded so well in pacifying him that he eventually even became submissive to the laws of God. Nonetheless, his enemies killed him; and then the pious widow had to overcome her twin sons' desire for vengeance. Again she succeeded. When the two young men died not long afterwards, she was without any further bonds to keep her in the world, and she made application to a convent of Augustinian nuns at Cascia. Never had a widow been admitted there, but Saint John the Baptist, with Saint Augustine and Saint Nicholas, who had died during the 13th century in the nearby town of Tolentino, appeared to her to answer her fervent prayers. They transported her miraculously into the convent by night, despite all the locked doors. The Sisters, finding her there in the morning, could not refuse her request any longer.

Saint Rita practiced severe mortifications, eating but once a day and taking only bread and water for food. She was a model of perfect obedience; she meditated every night, from midnight until dawn, on the Passion of Our Lord, and begged to share His sufferings. On one of these nights she felt in her forehead the pain of sharp thorns, which made there an incurable wound. The festering wound isolated her from the other Sisters, and she lived thereafter almost as a hermit in the convent. The wound was cured once for a short time, when the entire group of Sisters were to go to Rome on the occasion of a universal jubilee; on their return her wound opened again.

It was discovered that Saint Rita had the gift of miracles when a young girl was cured during her mother’s visit to the convent, to beg the Saint’s prayers for that intention. Soon many visitors were coming even from distant regions to ask her charity. She expired peacefully in May of 1456. The wound of her forehead, until then very ugly, became brilliant at the moment of her death. The shrine of Saint Rita is still a favorite pilgrimage site in Italy. 

Litany of Saint Rita de Cascia

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 Almighty,
R. Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Who hast said: Ask, and you shall receive;
seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 
R. Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, Spirit of Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel and Knowledge, 
R. Have mercy on us, 
Holy Trinity, one God, infinite in power, 
Have mercy on us,

Holy Mary, who dost never refuse a petition,
Pray for us. *

Immaculate Virgin, Queen of Heaven and earth, *
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, *
Holy Angels, spirits of humility, *
Holy Principalities, protectors of religious communities, *
Holy Virtues, angels of fortitude, *
Holy Cherubim, angels of light, *
Saint Rita, advocate of the impossible, *
St. Rita, consecrated to God, *
St. Rita, lover of Jesus Crucified, *
St. Rita, bride of the suffering Saviour, *
St. Rita, filled with compassion for the sufferings of Christ, *
St. Rita, crowned by an angel with a crown of thorns, *
St. Rita, who didst bear the wound of this mysterious crown on thy forehead,*
St. Rita, who didst firmly trust in the loving mercy of Jesus, *
St. Rita, who didst importune the dying Saviour with ardent supplications, *
St. Rita, who didst never doubt a gracious answer to thy prayer, *

That we may renounce all self-love, 
Pray for us, Saint Rita. **

That we may confidently trust in the promises of Jesus, **
That the enemies of our salvation may be put to confusion, **
That we may ever perfectly fulfill the will of God, **
That our inclinations to evil may be destroyed, **
That the Faith in all its purity may be spread over our land, **
That a holy zeal may fill our hearts, **
That we may infuse a holy love for chastity into all who come in contact with us, **
That in all our actions and omissions we may endeavor to promote a tender charity, **
That we may be delivered from all avarice, vainglory and rash judgment, **
That great saints may rise in our land who will edify the people and dispel the darkness of unbelief, **
That we may be delivered from all interior enemies, **

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: 
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: 
Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: 
Have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, Saint Rita,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: 

O God, Who in Thy infinite tenderness dost deign to hearken to the prayer of St. Rita, and to grant to her supplication that which seems impossible to human foresight, skill and efforts, in reward for her compassionate love and firm reliance upon Thy promises: have pity upon our adversity and succor us in our calamities, that the unbeliever may know that Thou art the recompenser of the humble, the defense of the helpless and the strength of those who trust in Thee. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. R. Amen.

O God, Who to St. Rita didst vouchsafe the great grace in very truth to love her enemies, and both in her heart and on her brow to bear the stigmata of Thy Passion: have regard, we beseech Thee, to her merits and her prayers; and grant that we may, in such wise, show mercy to our enemies, and so meditate on the pains of Thy Passion as to make our own, the blessedness promised to them that are meek and to them that mourn. Who livest and reignest world without end. R. Amen.

O glorious Saint Rita, who didst miraculously participate in the sorrowful Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ: obtain for me the grace to suffer with resignation the troubles of this life, and protect me in all my needs. R. Amen. 

1 comment:

  1. Dear Rita, model Wife and Widow, you yourself suffered in a long illness showing patience out of love for God. Teach us to pray as you did. Many invoke you for help, full of confidence in your intercession. Deign to come now to our aid for the relief and cure of {name of sufferer}. To God, all things are possible; may this healing give glory to the Lord. Amen.


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