Saint Rita of Cascia ~ Impossible Is Nothing
“Let me, my Jesus, share in thy suffering, at least one of thy thorns.”
May 22nd marks the Feast Day of a renowned and deeply venerated Saint, a woman referred to by many of her devotees as the Patroness of impossible causes, Saint Rita of Cascia.
Rita was married at an early age to an abusive husband and endured the subsequent hardships that went along with this toxic marriage for eighteen years. She sought earnestly to convert her husband in the hopes that he would repent and turn away from his cruel behavior. She ardently worked to raise her sons in a way that sought to break the chain of violence and hatred that they witnessed in their household. But tragedy would suddenly strike Rita and her troubled family.
Rita’s husband was savagely murdered by another feuding family, after which Rita felt compelled to serve God in a more meaningful and profound way. In response to this vocational tug, she joined the Augustinian Order of Religious Sisters. Prior to doing so however, tragedy would strike yet again. Her two teenaged sons would both die of natural causes a few months after her husband’s murder.
Saddled with grief and rebuffed at first due to her husband‘s reputation in the secular world, it was as an Augustine Nun that Rita would ultimately become well known for the power of her prayers. She would also engage in extended periods of fasting, kneeling, and other forms of abstinence and mortification as a means through which to achieve sanctification of both body and soul.
Numerous miracles have been attributed to Saint Rita’s intercession, and she is often portrayed with a bleeding wound on her forehead, which is understood to indicate a partial stigmata, a lone thorn from the Crown of Thorns that Jesus bore on the road to Calvary.
Rita was canonized by Pope Leo XIII in May of the year 1900. As previously mentioned, she has gone on to become revered as the “Patroness of Impossible Causes. In some countries she is known to be the patroness of abused wives, heartbroken women, widows and those struggling with infertility.
Books have been written and movies made detailing this amazing saint’s life. She is oftentimes depicted as gazing lovingly upon the crucifix, which was her preferred method of prayer. This depiction in many respects also serves to symbolize her earthly journey, for she was called to bear many heavy crosses throughout her life, a life that culminated in sainthood, proving yet again that it is only through the cross that we are lifted up and saved. No cross, no crown.
Let us seek the intercession of Saint Rita with unabashed confidence and reverance as we seek to discern God’s will in our lives. For it was this great saint who, at the end of her Earthly journey, swapped her crown of thorns for the crown of sainthood and eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
“Saint Rita, pray for us and obtain our petitions.”