Saturday, 23 May 2009

St Rita of Cascia - The Saint of Impossible and Desperate Causes


Feast 22 May

Oration To The Saint Of The Impossible

O excellent St. Rita, worker of miracles, from thy sanctuary in Cascia, where in all thy beauty thou sleepest in peace, where thy relics exhale breaths of paradise, turn thy merciful eyes on me who suffer and weep! Thou seest my poor bleeding heart surrounded by thorns Thou seest, O dear Saint, that my eyes have no more tears to shed, so much have I wept! Weary and discouraged as I am, I feel the very prayers dying on my lips. Must I thus despair in this crisis of my life? O come, St. Rita, come to my aid and help me. Art thou not called the Saint of the Impossible, Advocate to those in despair? Then honor thy name, procuring for me from God the favor that I ask. (Here ask the favor you wish to obtain.) Everyone praises thy glories, everyone tells of the most amazing miracles performed through thee, must I alone be disappointed because thou hast not heard me? Ah no! Pray then pray for me to thy sweet Lord Jesus that He be moved to pity by my troubles and that, through thee, O good St. Rita, I may obtain what my heart so fervently desires. (Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, three times.)

Those wishing to offer a novena should repeat this prayer for nine days.

CANONIZATION of St Rita of Cascia

Her body is on display in a glass case in the Basilica of St. Rita in Cascia, Italy. Her body has been seen in different positions in the glass case in which her remains are displayed and her eyes have opened and closed unaided.


THE UNIVERSAL and uninterrupted devotion of the faithful to St. Rita and the very many wonderful prodigies that God wrought through her intercession enkindled in the loving hearts of thousands and thousands of the clients of the humble Augustinian nun the ardent desire of seeing her elevated to that highest honor with which Holy Mother Church recompenses the heroic virtues of her pious and devout children. This ardent desire began to manifest itself shortly after her Beatification. However, generation after generation of the devout clients of St. Rita went to their reward without seeing the realization of their wishes. But at length the happy time came, after a lapse of two centuries of years and more. The year 1900 will long be remembered by the friars and nuns of the Order of St. Augustine, as well as by the loving and devout clients of St. Rita. In this year, on the 24th of May, Pope Leo XIII, of happy memory, decreed that Blessed Rita, O.S.A. of Cascia should be honored as a Saint, in public and in private; that her name be inscribed in the catalogue of the Saints, and that her memory should be held in perpetual veneration on the 22nd day of May each year by the Universal Church.

We will mention some of the details that anteceded the Canonization of St. Rita. In the year 1737, a few years more than a century after her Beatification, the Apostolic Process of the virtues and particularly of the miracles of St. Rita was begun. This Process was conducted by the diocesan tribunals of Spoleto and Nursia. For different reasons, some particular, some general, the Process was delayed for more than a century. On the 9th of September, in the year 1851, letters were sent from Rome to the bishop of Nursia to reopen and complete the Process. The procedure lasted four years. In 1855 the Process was sent to Rome, approved the following year by the Sacred Congregation of Rites, and confirmed by a decree of Pope Pius IX, the 29th of May, in the year 1856. On June 8th, in the year of Our Lord 1896, the Sacred Congregation approved the Process made in the year 1626 of the sanctity, virtues and worship to the Saint, thereby giving it the value of an Apostolic Process. On April 6th, in the year 1897, the same Congregation approved the Process of the virtues of St. Rita and declared that steps could be taken at once to examine the miracles attributed to the Saint. After a long and careful examination, as the Church is accustomed to do in such cases, Pope Leo XIII, by a decree dated Palm Sunday, April 8th, in the year 1900, approved, among the many, the miracles attributed to St. Rita and declared that they could, with all security, proceed to the solemn Canonization of the Saint. The following were the three miracles that were approved, as we may learn from the Decree of St. Rita's Canonization.

"The first miracle consists of that pleasing scent emanating from the remains of the Saint's body, the existence of which is confirmed by many reliable witnesses and trustworthy tradition, so that to doubt concerning this fact would be absurd; moreover no natural cause can be given for the existence of this odor, as we see from the physical research which has been made by men most skilled in such things. Furthermore this odor diffuses itself in a manner above the usual laws of nature. Hence we should be persuaded that this fragrance has its origin through Divine intervention.

"The other miracle happened to Elizabeth Bergamini, a young girl in danger of losing her sight from smallpox. Her parents, assured by the physicians that the child's condition was so serious that medical aid could be of no avail, decided to send her to the Augustinian Convent at Cascia, beseeching St. Rita fervently to deliver their daughter from approaching blindness. Arriving at the convent, the child was clothed with a votive dress in honor of St. Rita. After four months Elizabeth cried out one day that she could see. Together with the nuns she immediately began to give thanks to God, who had wrought such a miracle through St. Rita.

"The third miracle happened to Cosimo Pelligrini, suffering from chronic catarrhal gastroenteritis and hemorrhoidal affection so serious that there was no hope of recovery. Returning one day from church he became so weak from a new attack of his excruciating malady that he was near death. Doctors, being summoned, ordered him to receive the last Sacraments, receiving which he lay in the bed with every appearance of approaching death, when suddenly he seemed to see St. Rita in the attitude of greeting him. Thereupon his former strength and appetite returned to him, and within a very short time he was able to do the work of a young man, although he was advanced in years, being a septuagenarian."

In consideration of the approval of the virtues and miracles of the humble Augustinian nun, Pope Leo XIII issued the Decree of Canonization, and appointed Ascension Day, May 24th, 1900, for the happy event. On this memorable day, two blessed servants of God were canonized: Blessed John Baptist de La Salle, Founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, and our own Blessed Rita of Cascia, known throughout the entire Catholic world as the Saint of the Impossible.

On that occasion there was present a large multitude of people. Pilgrims had come from Ireland, England, France, Germany, Spain, America and from every province in Italy to witness the rarest and most solemn of ceremonies of Holy Church. In preparation for the canonization, more than 1500 persons were employed under the direction of Constantine Sneider, who had charge of the decorations of the Vatican. It was on this occasion that electric light was used for the first time in St. Peter's Church. Nearly 11,000,000 feet of wire supplied the current for 12,000 lamps and 400 chandeliers.

At an early hour of the morning of May 24th, 1900, there was assembled in the plaza of St. Peter an immense multitude of people of every nationality and language, indicating that the entire world was represented. The front of St. Peter's Church stood forth in all its majestic beauty, enhanced by the splendor of its gorgeous and magnificent decorations.

In the meantime, there were assembled in the Vatican Palace awaiting the beginning of the ceremonies: the Sacred College of Cardinals; Patriarchs; Archbishops and Bishops; Regular Clergy: the Chapter Fathers of Basilicas and Colleges; the Parish priests of Rome; and by special privilege, the students of the Roman and French seminaries.

At precisely eight o'clock, His Holiness, accompanied by his Court of Nobles, proceeded to the Sistine Chapel, where the College of Cardinals, the Archbishops and Bishops and all those who were to take part in the pontifical function were awaiting his arrival. After the hymn Ave Maris Stella was chanted, the Holy Father knelt for a few moments in prayer, and then ascended the Chair of State-----Sedia Gestatoria-----to accompany the procession to the Basilica of St. Peter. The procession was composed of three divisions. The first division had in its ranks the Regular Clergy. Among others were Calced and Discalced Augustinians; Brothers of the Christian Schools; Capuchins; Carmelites; Dominicans, Benedictines and Canons of St. John Lateran. The second division was made up of Secular Clergy: the parish priests of Rome; Canons of the Basilicas and Collegiate Churches of Rome; Officials, Priests and Prelates and Consultors of the Sacred Congregation of Rites. The third division was composed of the Pontifical Court; the Chaplains and Chamberlains; Procurator Generals of Religious Orders; Auditors and Relators of the Roman Rota; Archbishops, Bishops and Cardinals. The Holy Father, borne on the Chair of State, followed, surrounded by the Commanders and Chiefs of the Noble Guards; the Swiss Guards; the Palatines and the Prior Generals of Religious Orders. It was half past ten o'clock when the Holy Father arrived in St. Peter's Church and the ceremonies of Canonization began. The Decree of Canonization setting forth the apostolic sentence was read. High Mass was sung by Cardinal Oreglia, Dean of the Sacred College. The music was under the direction of Maestro Mustafa, Director of the Sistine Choir. When the Mass was concluded, the Holy Father gave the Papal Benediction, and then retired to his room in the Vatican Palace amid loud huzzahs of love and affection, as the people repeated again and again: "Long live Leo XIII." Rome was then, as it is today, under the rule and in the hands of a descendant of a robber king, but the ceremonies which had just terminated proved that Rome was still, as it is today, the City of Popes, and the Metropolitan of triumphant Catholicity.

Early life
St. Rita was born at Roccaporena near Spoleto, Umbria, Italy. She married at age 12 to Paolo Mancini. Her parents arranged her marriage, despite the fact that she repeatedly begged them to allow her to enter a convent. Mancini was a rich, quick-tempered, immoral man, who made many enemies in the region. St. Rita endured his insults, abuse, and infidelities for 18 years, and bore two sons with Mancini, 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 transgressions against her.

After Mancini's murder, her sons wished to exact revenge on their father's murderers. Knowing murder was wrong, she tried to persuade them from retaliating, but to no avail. She, instead, prayed to God for Him to take away the lives of her sons instead of seeing them commit such a terrible sin. In religious history, God heard St. Rita's words and her sons died of natural causes a year later.

Entering the monastery
After the deaths of her husband and sons, St. Rita desired to enter the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene at Cascia but was spurned for being a widow, as virginity was required for entry into the convent. However, she persisted in her cause and was given a condition 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 at the age of 36, and 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 her patron saints Saint John the Baptist, Saint Augustine, and Saint 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, living by the Augustinian Rule, until her death.

St. Rita was beatified by Urban VIII in 1627, to whose private secretary Fausto Cardinal Poli, born less than ten miles (16 km) from her birthplace, much of the impetus behind her cult is due; she was canonized on May 24, 1900 by Pope Leo XIII. Her feast day is on May 22.

The forehead wound
One day, while living at the convent Rita said, "Please let me suffer like you, Divine Saviour". Suddenly, a thorn from a figure of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ fell from the crown of thorns and wounded Rita's forehead. As a result, depictions of St. Rita show a forehead wound to represent this event. The wound became a symbol on St Ritas forehead.

The rose and fig
The rose is the symbol most often associated with St. Rita.

One of the common versions of the story about the importance of the rose (and fig) is set before St. Rita's entry into the convent.

Another version is set near the end of her life, when St. Rita was bedridden in the convent. A cousin (relative) visited her and asked her if she desired anything from her old home. St. Rita responded by asking for a rose (and a fig) from the garden. It was January and her cousin did not expect to find anything due to the weather (snow). However, when her relative went to the house, and single blooming rose was found in the garden, as well as a fully ripened and edible fig and her cousin brought the rose and fig back to St. Rita at the convent. The rose bush is still alive and often in bloom today.

The rose is thought to represent God's love for Rita and Rita's ability to intercede on behalf of lost causes or impossible cases. Rita is often depicted holding roses or with roses nearby. On her feast day, churches and shrines of St. Rita provide roses to the congregation that are blessed by priests during mass.

The Bees
In the parish church of Laarne, near Ghent, there is a statue of Saint Rita in which several bees are featured. This depiction originates from the story of St. Rita's baptism as an infant. On the day after her baptism, her family noticed a swarm of white bees flying around her as she slept in her crib. However, the bees peacefully entered and exited her mouth without causing her any harm or injury. Instead of being alarmed for her safety, her family was mystified by this sight.

Interpretations of the story believe the bees represented her subsequent beatification by Pope Urban VIII.

Prayer
Almighty Jesus, Saint Rita had a special devotion to the Passion, because she felt unspeakable awe at what You did on the cross. She shared in Your suffering beginning at age twelve when her parents married her to an abusive man, and so she has become the patron of impossible causes. I ask her to pray for all my most difficult, least hopeful situations, and to hold dear in her heart, with continuous prayers, all the people I know who are in harmful, unhealthy or abusive lives. Free us all, dear Lord, from the strongholds of fear and denial that keep us from discovering Your healing love. Saint Rita, pray for us. Amen

LITANY OF SAINT RITA:
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 of heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, ….
God, the Holy Spirit, …
Holy Trinity, One God, …
Immaculate Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Mother of pure love, …
Holy Mary, Comforter of the afflicted, …
Holy Mary, Queen of all the saints, …
Holy Mary, Model of life for Saint Rita, …
St. Rita, our advocate and protectress, …
St. Rita, beloved by the Lord, …
St. Rita given special grace from heaven, …
St. Rita, remarkable in childhood, …
St. Rita, model of obedience to God’s Will, …
St. Rita, of untiring patience, …
St. Rita, model of Christian mothers, …
St. Rita, mirror for Christian spouses, …

St. Rita, heroic in sacrifice, …
St. Rita, generous in forgiving, …
St. Rita, martyr in penitence, …
St. Rita, embracing humility and poverty, …
St. Rita, exemplary as a widow, …
St. Rita, prompt to answer the divine call, …
St. Rita, patient in suffering, …
St. Rita, mirror of religious observance, …
St. Rita, mystical rose of every virtue, …
St. Rita, enamored of the Passion of Christ, …
St. Rita, pierced with a thorn, …
St. Rita, in ecstasy before the Blessed Sacrament, …
St. Rita, consumed with Divine Love, …
St. Rita, received into heaven with joy, …
St. Rita, incorrupt in your chaste body, …
St. Rita, advocate of impossible cases, …
St. Rita, persevering in prayer, …
St. Rita, help of those in need, …

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.

Leader: Lord, you have signed your servant, Rita.
All: With the marks of Your love and Passion.

Leader: Let us pray. O God, Who bestowed on St. Rita such grace that she loved her enemies, and bore in her heart and on her forehead the mark of Your love and Passion, grant us, we beseech You, through her merits and intercession, a love for our enemies. Through our contemplation of Your sufferings and Passion, may we merit the reward promised to the meek and the suffering. You live and reign forever. Amen








2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank You, Mother Mary for answering my prayers. Alejandra

Anonymous said...

St. Rita, bless you for being my mother. I miss you.