When I was growing up, every now and then we would wake up on Sunday morning, and my parents would announce that we were going downtown to St. Alphonsus.
That was always exciting, especially because it meant there was a chance we’d get to ride the carousel at the Inner Harbor afterward.
After Mass was over, we would walk up to the front of the church to see the statues. There’s a little space tucked off to the side that’s full of statues, and one of them is St. Rita of Cascia. I was always happy to see the St. Rita statue because she was my very own saint.
When I was a little girl, I didn’t know much about her other than that she was a nun and that she had a wound on her forehead.
Since then, I’ve learned more of St. Rita’s story—how she was born to her parents in the later years of their lives. I love this story of how white bees dropped honey into her mouth when she was a baby.
St. Rita grew up wanting to become an Augustinian nun, but her parents had promised her in marriage, so she was forced to marry at age 12. She and her husband had two sons—who were apparently twins. On his way home from work one day, Rita’s husband, Paolo, was murdered, and their sons—who were teenagers—decided to avenge his death. Before they could, however, they both died of natural causes, and they weren’t able to follow through on those plans.
Rita was able to join the Augustinian Nuns and later received the partial stigmata. When she was very ill, a relative visited her, and St. Rita asked her to bring her a rose and figs from her parents’ garden. It was January, but the rose and figs were growing there.
St. Rita is patron of several things, including parenthood and marriage difficulties, but what she’s best known for—and perhaps most needed for today—is impossible causes.
I don’t know what situation in your life seems impossible right now. Maybe it’s a financial or family or health crisis. Maybe it’s not your own dilemma but an intention you’ve been carrying for someone else. But as I look at this pandemic and how it’s affecting our world, a good and timely solution often seems not just complicated and mysterious, but impossible.
And May 22 happens to be St. Rita’s feast day. So, maybe it’s a good day to ask her to take whatever’s on your mind and carry it to Jesus for you.
Dear St. Rita,
Your life was full of difficulties and challenges,
but you were open to life’s journey,
stayed focused on Jesus,
and lived with love, faith, and joy.
You knew that even in a cold winter garden,
a rose could bloom.
Please carry my intention to Jesus and ask for His help.
To me, it feels enormous and—at times—even hopeless.
For God, everything is possible.
Help me to trust that He has a solution that I cannot see
And that He will bring it about in His time.
Please let me be open to the part I can play
in making miracles happen for others every day.