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St. Rita was born Rita Lotti at Rocca Porena near Spoleto, Umbria, Italy, in 1381. Her parents, Antonio and Amata, were advanced in years and distinguished for their charity, which merited them the surname of "Peacemakers of Jesus Christ." Rita's great desire was to become a nun, but, in obedience to the will of her parents,at the age of 12 she married Paolo Mancini. Mancini was a violent, abusive, and immoral man, who had many enemies in the region. For eighteen years she was a model wife and mother, bearing him two sons, Giangiacomo Antonio and Paolo Maria. Although she tried to raise them with Catholic values, her sons grew to be like their father.

Toward the end of her husband's life, St. Rita helped convert him to live in a more pious manner. Although Mancini became more congenial, his allies betrayed him, and he was violently stabbed to death. Before his death, he repented to St. Rita and the Church, and she forgave him for his abusive behavior.

After Mancini's murder, Rita's sons wished to exact revenge on their father's murderers. St. Rita attempted to dissuade them from retaliating, but her example of forgiveness, her words of instruction and pleading, her prayers for their change of heart, were unable to move the two boys. Rita entrusted the cause totally to God, asking him to handle the situation which was beyond her control. She prayed to God for Him to take away the lives of her sons instead of seeing them commit such a terrible sin. God heard St. Rita's words and her sons both died of natural causes, reconciled to God, within a year.

Monastic Life

After the deaths of her husband and sons, St. Rita desired to enter the Augustinian monastery of St. Mary Magdalene at Cascia, but being a widow she was turned away. She persisted in her cause and was given a condition to be met before the convent could accept her: the difficult task of reconciling her family with her husband's murderers. She was able to resolve the conflicts between the families and at the age of 36 she was allowed to enter the monastery.

However, her actual entrance into the monastery has been described as a miracle. During the night, when the doors to the monastery were locked and the sisters were asleep, St. Rita was miraculously transported into the convent by the intercession of her patron saints St. John the Baptist, St. Augustine and St. Nicholas of Tolentino. When she was found inside the convent in the morning and the sisters learned of how she entered, they could not turn her away. She remained at the monastery until her death on May 22, 1457.

Patron Saint of Impossible

Causes Feast Day May 22

Prayer to St. Rita 

O Holy Patroness of those in need, St. Rita, whose pleadings before thy Divine Lord are almost irresistible, who for thy lavishness in granting favors hast been called the Advocate of the Hopeless and even of the Impossible; St. Rita, so humble, so pure, so mortified, so patient and of such compassionate love for thy Crucified Jesus that thou couldst obtain from Him whatsoever thou askest, on account of which all confidently have recourse to thee expecting, if not always relief, at least comfort; be propitious to our petition, showing thy power with God on behalf of thy suppliant; be lavish to us, as thou hast been in so many wonderful cases, for the greater glory of God, for the spreading of thine own devotion, and for the consolation of those who trust in thee.

We promise, if our petition is granted, to glorify thee by making known thy favor, to bless and sing thy praises forever. Relying then upon thy merits and power before the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we pray thee grant that [here mention your request].

By the singular merits of thy childhood,
Obtain for us our request.
By thy perfect union with the Divine Will,
Obtain for us our request.
By thy heroic sufferings during thy married life,
Etc. {repeat Obtain for us our request after each line]
By the consolation thou didst experience at the conversion of thy husband,
By the sacrifice of thy children rather than see them grievously offend God,
By the miraculous entrance into the convent,
By thy severe penances and thrice daily bloody scourgings,
By the suffering caused by the wound thou didst receive from the thorn of thy Crucified Savior,
By the Divine love which consumed thy heart,
By that remarkable devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, 
on which alone thou didst exist for four   years,
By the happiness with which thou didst part from thy trials to join thy Divine Spouse,
By the perfect example thou gavest to people of every state of life.
Pray for us, O holy St. Rita, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

LET US PRAY.

O God, Who in Thine infinite tenderness hast vouchsafed to regard the prayer of Thy servant, Blessed Rita, and dost grant to her supplication that which is impossible to human foresight, skill and efforts, in reward of her compassionate love and firm reliance on Thy promise, have pity on our adversity and succor us in our calamities, that the unbeliever may know Thou art the recompense of the humble, the defense of the helpless, and the strength of those who trust in Thee, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.