St. Rita of Cascia, whose feast is celebrated on May 22, was born at Rocca Porena in the diocese of Spoleto and the province of Umbria, Italy, about the year 1386, and died at Cascia in the year 1456.
Being the daughter of parents who were advanced in years, she met with much opposition when she made known her intention of becoming a nun. Yielding to their entreaties, she married a man, who, in a short time, lost his reputation on account of his cruelty. After converting him from his wicked ways, he was murdered by an enemy. Rita’s two sons resolved to take revenge, but through her prayers they repented of their sins and were taken away by death.
Left alone in the world, she applied several times for admission into the Augustinian Convent at Cascia. Refusal to receive her followed every application, until God Himself cleared away all obstacles and she entered the convent, made her profession and lived the life of a holy and devout Religious for forty-two years, “a shining example of every Christian virtue, pure as a lily, simple as a dove, and obedient as an angel.”
That “God is wonderful in His saints” is easily proved in the life of St. Rita. On one occasion Rita requested a rose to be brought to her from her garden at Porena in the midst of winter. The rose was found in full bloom. At another time she asked for a fig, and the same was found. The report of these wonders spread far and wide, and people flocked to the convent from all parts of Europe, only to receive in return for their faith in God through the prayers of Rita many spiritual and temporal favors.
Owing to the great number of miracles wrought by St. Rita, she is often styled “The Saint of the Impossible.”
Text from Pictorial Lives of the Saints With Reflections for Every Day in the Year (New York: Benziger Bros., 1922).