St. Frances Xavier Cabrini 1850-1917

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“We must pray without tiring, for the salvation of mankind does not depend on material success; nor on sciences that cloud the intellect. Neither does it depend on arms and human industries, but on Jesus alone.”

Invoked For: Immigrants

The first American citizen to be named a saint, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini never desired to travel to, much less spend her life in her adopted country of the United States of America. Born Maria Francesca Cabrini in northern Italy, she intended to use her schoolteacher’s degree to work as a missionary in China. Suffering through a smallpox epidemic which killed her parents, she was turned down by two convents she attempted to join. When she was finally accepted by one, she was sent to a small town to run an orphanage which was eventually closed. Enthralled by the works of Saint Francis Xavier, the Jesuit Missionary, she took his name and founded an order of nuns, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Many were shocked to see how quickly her new order was approved by the Pope. Instead of granting her wish to continue her namesake’s work in China, Pope Leo XIII told her, “Your China will be the United States.”

At that time 50,000 Italian immigrants lived crammed in a filthy ghetto in New York City. There was no one there to help or intercede for them. Arriving with six other nuns, Mother Cabrini was told to go home by the archbishop of New York. Instead, she moved her nuns into the Italian slums and immediately opened an orphanage. Through her personal tenacity as well as her willingness to live among the poor, Mother Cabrini set an impressive example for those trying to enact social reforms. Gifted with an innate business sense, and due to the great success her order had in caring for the destitute and displaced, Mother Cabrini was able to raise money from all levels of society. Within a few short years the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart had opened orphanages, schools, hospitals and nurse’s homes throughout the United States, Central America, Argentina, Brazil, France, Spain, England and Italy. She became a United States citizen in 1909.

Though she was a tireless worker and an excellent administrator, Mother Cabrini felt the most important part of her day was the time she spent in mediation. Devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, she felt great strength was to be found in humility, obedience and a quiet atmosphere. In her own case, by following the Pope’s orders at the expense of her personal dreams, she found more success in her mission than she could ever imagine was possible. At the time of her death, she had sixty seven foundations and over thirteen hundred missionaries carrying out her work.

Prayer

O loving Savior, infinitely generous, seeking only our interest, from your Sacred Heart, came these words of pleading love: “Come to me all you that labor and are burdened and I will refresh you.” Relying on this promise of your infinite charity, we come to you and in the lowliness of our hearts earnestly beg you to grant us the favor we ask in this novena, (mention your request here) through the intercession of your faithful servant, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. Amen.

Visions of Mary: Our Lady of La Salette

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Our Lady of La Salette is the patroness of France.

The Feast of Our Lady of La Salette is September 19.

One of the most controversial of the Church-approved apparitions of Mary is her visit to La Salette in the French Alps. The seers who saw her were two poor shepherd children, half wild, unwanted by their parents and unschooled. They had little credibility with the people in their region and even less with the local clergy. Yet because of the complete conversion or change of heart of the little town, this apparition was approved within four years.

On September 19, 1846, two shepherds, fourteen-year-old Melanie Calvat and eleven-year-old Maximin Giraud were tending their cows in the Alpine hamlet of La Salette, France, approximately 6,000 feet above sea level. Both children had only recently met, the younger of the two, Maximin, was outgoing and friendly. He had insisted on their working together in order to stave off the boredom and loneliness of their tedious job. Melanie Calvat begrudgingly accepted his company. She was known to have a difficult and taciturn nature. She had worked as a shepherd from the time of her tenth birthday, and her master considered her disobedient and lazy. She was the fourth of tenth children, and many people in the village remember her mother as abusive and violent. On this Saturday afternoon in September the children had only been working together for a few days. They had taken a nap after lunch and upon awakening realized that their cows had wandered off. As they scrambled up into the pasture to retrieve them, they saw what seemed to them to be a globe of fire near a little hollow, which looked “as though the sun had fallen on that spot.” Upon closer inspection, the light took on a form and the figure of a beautiful woman weeping could be made out. The woman was sitting on a rock with her face buried in her hands. She saw the children and got up, saying, “Come near, my children, do not be afraid. I am here to tell you great news.”

Reassured and extremely curious, Maximin and Melanie ran over to the woman. They later reported that she was tall and everything about her radiated light. She wore clothing typical of the women of that area; a long dress with an apron, and a shawl crossed over her breast and tied around her back. Her dress, however was studded in pearls, and her bonnet was a strange crown-shaped hat that exuded bright rays. Hanging from her neck she wore a large crucifix with a figure of Christ on it. Beneath the arms of the cross there were, to the left a hammer, and to the right, pincers. An even brighter radiance emanated from this crucifix.  There were garlands of roses around her head, the edge of her shawl and around her feet. Throughout her conversation with the children the woman continually wept.

“If my people will not obey, I shall be compelled to loose my Son’s arm. It is so heavy, so pressing that I can no longer restrain it. How long I have suffered for you! If my Son is not to cast you off, I am obliged to entreat Him without ceasing. But you take no least notice of that. No matter how well you pray in the future, no matter how well you act, you will never be able to make up to me what I have endured for your sake.”

Then the woman pointed out how no one in the village took Sunday off from work. She added, “The cart drivers cannot swear without bringing in my Son’s name. These are the two things which make my Son’s arms so burdensome.”

She went on to say that if the village continued to act impiously there would be a great famine coming and it would be the people’s own fault. She added that if the people would change their ways, the rocks would become piles of wheat and the potatoes would sow themselves. Melanie later reported that since the lady was speaking French and she was not familiar with the French word for “potato,” the lady stopped what she was saying and added, “Ah, but you do not speak French!” and she continued her dialogue to them in the local patois. She then gave each child a secret that the other could not hear. She questioned them on whether they said their prayers. When they answered “no,” she said, “Ah, my children, it is very important to say them, at night and in the morning. When you don’t have time at least say an ‘Our Father’ and a ‘Hail Mary.’ When you can, say more.” She continued in a tearful voice: “Only a few old women go to mass in the summer. All the rest work every Sunday throughout the summer. And in winter, when they don’t know what to do with themselves, they go to mass only to poke fun at religion. During Lent they flock to the butcher shop like dogs.”

The lady went on to ask if either of them had ever seen spoiled grain before. Maximin quickly answered, “No.”

The lady reminded him that this was not so, “But my child, you must have seen it once near Coin, with your papa. The owner of a field said to your papa, ‘Come and see my spoiled grain.’ The two of you went. You took two or three ears of grain in your fingers. You rubbed them, and they crumbled to dust. Then you came back from Coin. When you were but a half hour away from Corps, your papa gave you a piece of bread and said, ‘Well, my son, eat some bread this year, anyhow. I don’t know who will be eating any next year, if the grain goes on spoiling like that.’”

Maximin immediately recalled this experience but was astounded as to how this lady could know it.

In French the lady said, “My children, you will make this known to all my people.” She turned from them and started to glide away. She stopped and paused, repeating one more time, “My children, you will make this known to all my people.”

The children returned with their cows at the end of the day. Melanie was not inclined to tell anyone of their adventure with the lady. Maximin however, told his employer all about it. When both children were questioned independently, they told the same story. The priest and the town officials were doubtful. To them, these were just two ignorant children making up a fantasy. But there was something in the tone of the story that affected the people of the town. This lady was not using religious metaphors, she was speaking in an accessible, straightforward manner. When the villagers went to visit the spot where the lady appeared, a spring had started flowing. It was thought at first that this was a coincidence, since it had rained the day before and it was common for small springs to appear for a day or so than dry up. But this spring behaved differently, freely flowing no matter what the weather. People who drank from the spring reported dramatic healing activity. The demeanor of the village totally changed. By 1846, France, once a nation dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was now actively a nation trying to live without religious conviction. In the search for material wealth, spiritual values had fallen by the wayside. Though La Salette had only five hundred inhabitants, they, too, had adapted the slack lifestyle of the bigger cities. The lady was right; religious devotion had become a joke. Recognizing the truth in the lady’s examples of their behavior, the village church started to fill up with earnest worshipers, and most of the village began honoring Sunday as the Sabbath. The spring itself, became a pilgrimage site with devotees of Mary coming from far distances. It is thought that Mary speaking her final words in French was a message to the French nation to reform themselves and their values. La Salette became an approved apparition in 1851.

The seers of La Salette went on to lead troubled lives. Maximin drifted in and out of employment and died by his fortieth birthday. Melanie became a nun. She reveled in the attention she received for being a visionary and felt neglected by the local clergy. In 1879 she published a book alleging what her secret had been. It was a gruesome description of Satan let loose upon the world in 1864 and predictions of mass destruction and the anti-Christ. Because she had fallen under the influence of apocalyptic books and various conspiracy theorists, her book was thought to be purely imaginative and was not sanctioned by the Church. She continually had a small band of followers who believed in these later visions. She died in 1904.

In 1879 a magnificent basilica, Our Lady of La Salette was consecrated on the site of the apparition.

 

Saint Anthony of Padua 1195-1231

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Wonder and miracles are infused with every story of Saint Anthony
. Though he has been dead for almost 800 years, he is still the most popular saint in the world and his statue is found in every Catholic Church. Saint Anthony is best known as the patron saint of lost articles but he is invoked for help in all life situations. In his own day he was called the “Wonder Worker’ and credited with the ability to stop the rain, raise the dead and reattach severed limbs. He was such a charismatic preacher that when a crowd of heretics in Rimini refused to listen to his preaching, the fish raised themselves out of the water to hear him. Born Fernando de Bulhes in Lisbon, Portugal, he disappointed his noble family by rejecting his luxurious life and joining the Augustinian religious order.

A scholar by nature, he read every book in the monastery, devoting his time to contemplative prayer. Eventually, he befriended a group of itinerant Franciscan monks and became fascinated with this new religious order. Much impressed by their dedication to simplicity, poverty and their belief in returning to the original words of Christ, he joined their ranks, changing his name to Anthony in honor of Saint Anthony of the Desert, the patron of their little church. Returning home from a failed missionary venture in Morocco, his ship was blown off course and he wound up in Messina, Sicily. A group of Franciscan friars insisted he go north with them for a great gathering of all Franciscans, with their founder Francis of Assisi. Anthony remained in Italy and discovered his great gift of preaching when a superior ordered him to speak at an ordination, telling him to say whatever the holy spirit had infused into him.

He astonished his audience, not only by his skills as an orator but by the depth of his knowledge. He was sent throughout northern Italy and southern France on evangelical preaching missions which gathered crowds in the tens of thousands. His popularity among the people increased as he used his position to get real changes enacted for their protection. While based in Padua, he observed the crushing power of debt upon the common people. At Anthony’s insistence, the local municipality enacted a law protecting those who could not pay their debts that is still enforced today. Anthony exhausted himself preaching out in fields and in piazzas as there was not cathedral large enough to hold all who came to hear him. At the age of thirty six, his health began to fail him and a local Count donated a woodland retreat for his recovery.

One morning the Count heard the sounds of a baby giggling and he looked out to see Anthony surrounded in light, playing with the baby Jesus. That Christ would choose to appear to one of his saints in such a vulnerable state is a testament to the loving and kind nature of Saint Anthony. Because he is depicted holding a baby, women having trouble conceiving invoke his aid.

Being of Portuguese descent, Anthony’s feast day is very auspicious for marriages in Portugal and Brazil and in those cultures, he is known to assist women seeking a husband. According to legend, Saint Anthony earned the title patron saint of lost articles when a novice borrowed his psalter and failed to return it. Saint Anthony prayed to get it back and the novice was visited by terrifying visions that sent him running back to Anthony with the book. In iconography, Anthony always holds the baby Jesus and a lily for purity. Many times the returned book of the gospels is included. Patron of: Lisbon, Portugal, Padua, amputees, barren women, domestic animals, draftees, oppressed people, orphans, paupers, the poor, pregnant women, prisoners, sailors.

Novena to Saint Anthony
Holy Saint Anthony, gentle and powerful in your help, Your love for God and charity for His creatures, made you worthy when on earth, to possess miraculous powers. Miracles waited on your word, which you were always ready to request for those in trouble or anxiety. Encouraged by this thought, I implore you to obtain for me
(mention your request here).
The answer to my prayer may require a miracle. Even so, you are the saint of miracles. Gentle and loving Saint Anthony, whose heart is ever full of human sympathy, take my petition to the Infant Savior for whom you have such a great love, and the gratitude of my heart will be ever yours. Amen

It is customary to donate to Saint Anthony’s Bread, a charity started in Saint Anthony’s lifetime, in gratitude to answered novena prayers.

If you live or are visiting New York City please visit Saint Francis of Assisi Church
on 31 Street.  They have a  Saint Anthony Shrine and you can donate money
for Saint Anthonys bread.

Sacred Heart of Jesus

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“Behold the heart which has so much loved men that it has spared nothing, even exhausting and consuming itself in testimony of its love….”

Patron of: family peace, anything
Feast Day: June 8

The iconography of the Sacred Heart speaks to us on such a basic level that its image can be found everywhere in everyday life – from tattoos on bikers to stained glass windows in cathedrals. Traditionally, many Catholic homes display the Sacred Heart of Jesus to insure domestic peace and a loving atmosphere. This ancient concept depicting Christ’s heart in flames was first meditated on in privacy by the 4th century hermits in the desert and taken up by mystics in religious communities in the 11th and 12th centuries; it did not become a popular devotion until the 17th century.

On December 27, 1673, a young Visitation nun in Burgundy, France, named Margaret Mary Alacoque was praying in the convent chapel when she heard a strong inner voice identifying itself as Jesus Christ. In later visits the voice requested that she begin a devotion to an image of Christ’s heart in flames, bleeding and encircled by thorns. The flames were for His ardent love for mankind, the thorns were to remind us of His sacrifice on the cross and the blood was because He was God made man. There is no indication that Margaret Mary Alacoque had ever seen this image before. Indeed, she was puzzled by it and greatly mistrusted herself as being qualified to relay any spiritual messages no matter who they purportedly came from. When she reported her communications to her Mother Superior she was scoffed at as delusional and forbidden to perform any of the devotions she was instructed to carry out. It was only after her Confessor, Claude de La Columbiere heard her describe her visions that she was taken seriously.

Unlike the Mother Superior or Margaret Mary, he was well aware of the private devotions of Bernard of Clairvaux and Mechtilde of Helfta, religious mystics who lived centuries before, inspired by same image. La Columbiere did much to publicize devotion to the Sacred Heart based on the messages Christ gave to Margaret Mary. According to her, Christ was greatly troubled by the indifference and sacrilege He was being treated with by the average person.

As a reward for contemplating this image He promised: 1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life. 2. I will give peace in their families. 3. I will console them in all their troubles. 4. I will be their refuge in life and especially in death. 5. I will abundantly bless all their undertakings. 6. Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy. 7. Tepid souls shall become fervent. 8. Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection. 9. I will bless those places wherein the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated. 10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts. 11. Persons who propagate this devotion shall have their names eternally written in my Heart. 12. In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.

Since there is no way to physically depict the soul, it is thought that the image of the Sacred Heart comes closest. The heart is the seat of love in the body and the wounded heart represents Christ’s sacrifice at the crucifixion as well as His ongoing pain at the state of mankind.

Novena:

O Lord, Jesus Christ, to your most Sacred Heart I confide this intention. Only look upon me, then do what your love inspires. Let your Sacred Heart decide. I count on you. I trust in you. I throw myself on your mercy. Lord Jesus, you will not fail me.
(Mention your request.)
Sacred Heart of Jesus I trust in you. Sacred Heart of Jesus I believe in your love for me. Sacred Heart of Jesus, your kingdom come. Sacred Heart of Jesus, I have asked you for many favors, but I earnestly implore this one. Take it, place it in your open heart. When the Eternal Father looks upon it, he will see it covered with your Precious Blood. It will no longer be my prayer, but yours, Jesus. Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you. Let me not be disappointed. Amen.

Visions of Mary: Our Lady of Perpetual Help Icon

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Our Lady of Perpetual Help is the patroness of Haiti and Italy.

The feast day of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is June 27.

Icons are visual prayers. Artists who painted them were usually monks who spent whole days in contemplation, meditating on the mysteries of God. In the East, icons not only serve as instructive visual stories but because of the spiritual atmosphere in which they are channeled, they are also venerated along with the word of God. Our Lady of Perpetual Help is an icon whose style bridges both Eastern and Western Churches. Its subject is called the Virgin of the Passion, because it deals with Mary’s role in the Crucifixion of Christ. Like most of these works, the artist is anonymous but most likely came out of the Andrea Rizo de Candia (1422–1499) school of Crete. This mesmerizing picture, which spent years in anonymity, is now venerated and honored in all corners of the world and enjoys universal devotion.

Written remembrances of the image date back to the 1400s, when it was venerated in a church on the island of Crete as The Miraculous Picture of the Mother of God. In the late 1490s, a local merchant aware of all the wondrous stories surrounding the icon, stole it and took it with him to Rome. During the voyage over, a violent storm terrified the crew. Aware that the merchant was traveling with the painting, they had him take it out for them to pray in front of. They attributed their safe crossing to the intercession of the Virgin in the picture. While in Rome, the merchant became mortally ill. Repenting of his theft, he asked the friend he was staying with to promise to see that the painting was given to a church. The friend agreed and took the painting upon the merchant’s death. However, the man’s wife was so charmed by the image, she hung it in her bedroom and the merchant’s request was never honored. Mary appeared twice to the family’s six-year-old daughter, and it was in these visions that she first announced herself as Our Lady of Perpetual Help. She asked that the family stop hoarding the picture and give it to a church that was located between Santa Maria Maggiore and San Giovanni in Laterano. After consulting with a priest, the family gave the painting to the Church of San Matteo, an obscure, out-of-the-way parish. It was installed on March 27, 1499. Almost immediately, pilgrims from all walks of life came to seek comfort in contemplation in front of the icon. For the next three hundred years, the painting known as The Madonna di San Matteo, remained undisturbed as it acquired a loyal group of devotees. In 1798, Napoléon’s troops conquered Rome, and San Matteo was one of the thirty churches destroyed by the French army. The Irish Augustinian monks who were in charge of the church brought the icon to the Monastery of Saint Mary in Posterula in the Trastevere section of Rome and placed it in a private chapel. Its existence was all but forgotten as the original band of monks from San Matteo were dispersed to Ireland and America. 

Michael Marchi, an altar boy who served Mass at Saint Mary in Posterula remembered one of the last of the old monks: “This good brother used to tell me with a certain air of mystery and anxiety, especially during the years 1850 and 1851, these precise words, ‘Make sure you know, my son, that the image of the Virgin of Saint Matthew is upstairs in the chapel; don’t ever forget it . . . do you understand? It is a miraculous picture.’ At that time the brother was almost totally blind.”

Michael Marchi entered into religious life, taking orders in the Redemptorist Missionaries. In 1855 they purchased Villa Caserta in Rome to house their order. What they did not realize was, that this estate had been built over the ruins of the Monastery and Church of San Matteo. An investigation into the history of the property turned up writings about an ancient icon of the Mother of God that had enjoyed “great veneration and fame for its miracles,” which was once housed in San Matteo. In 1863 a famous Jesuit preacher came and gave a sermon about the now lost icon of The Virgin of Perpetual Help. Father Marchi realized this was the same dust-laden picture he had always seen above the altar of the house chapel of the Augustinian Fathers at Saint Mary in Posterula.

“There was no devotion to it, no decorations, not even a lamp to acknowledge its presence . . . it remained covered with dust and practically abandoned, many were the times when I served Mass there, that I would stare at it with great attention.”

This providential discovery came to the attention of Pope Pius IX, who remembered praying before the image in San Matteo as a boy. He ordered that the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help be brought to the new church of Saint Alfonso for public veneration. Situated on the Esquiline Hill, this is the exact location, between the two basilicas of Santa Maria Maggiore and San Giovanni in Laterano, that the Virgin Mary had originally requested for it to be placed. Pilgrims come from all over the world to be in the presence of the icon.

The pope did not give the Redemptorists the icon just to keep in their church for visiting pilgrims, but rather to make it their mission to disseminate this image of Mary throughout the world. Copies of this icon are considered just as capable of working miracles as the original. Shrines and legions of devotees to Our Lady of Perpetual Help can be found in the United States, Haiti, Ecuador, Peru, Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Ireland, Italy, Poland, France, Spain, Singapore, and the Philippines. 

Mary is the largest figure in this icon, but the focal point or center of the picture is her hand being clutched by her Son’s. Jesus is a young boy who has just run to his mother in such a fright that one of His sandals is dangling off his feet. Mary calmly shields Him, confident of her power to protect and comfort Him. On either side of them are the objects of the Child’s fear. The archangels Gabriel and Michael have revealed to Him the Cross, the spear, and the sponge, foreshadowing his future torment and execution. Since the birth of her Son, Mary knew He was destined to suffer and die for humankind, yet she firmly believed in His redemption. Therefore, she was able to calm the Child Jesus in this moment of anxiety. If God Himself can reach out to Mary for refuge, then anyone is able to approach her, no matter what we fear, our future or our past actions. Regardless how we judge ourselves, she has total belief and faith in us. Greek letters on either side of Mary’s head are abbreviations for the title, “Mother of God.” Beside the head of Jesus are the Greek letters for “Jesus Christ.” It is important to note that Mary is not holding Jesus’s hand in a tight grip but she leaves it open in invitation to the viewer to join them. Jesus has his hand palm turned down into His mother’s. This symbolizes the grace and favors that He distributes through her intercession. Mary looks directly at the viewer, offering love and comfort to all who gaze at the image.

It is said that Our Lady of Perpetual Help never refuses a request, no matter how small or frivolous it may seem. Many who have felt unworthy to call on her in their direst need report hearing a calm voice saying, “Why don’t you just ask?”

St. Rita of Cascia 1386 – 1457

st. rita“…In patience and fortitude you are a model of all the states in life.”
Feast Day: May 22
Patron of: Bad Marriages

An abused wife, a mother who’s children died, a widow of a murdered husband, and finally, a nun, Saint Rita experienced many lives in her time on earth. Knowing the powerlessness and despair of those in bad marriages she is invoked for help in desperate times. In her own lifetime she was famous for the power of her prayers to change any situation and it was said that she could accomplish the impossible. Canonized almost 500 years after her birth, she is the first declared female saint of the 20th Century.

Margarita Lotti was born to an older farming couple in Roccaporena, Italy. She was called Rita because of a vision of an angel her mother had who named the baby while declaring, “You will give birth to a daughter marked with the seal of sanctity, gifted with every virtue, a helper to the helpless and an advocate of the afflicted.” As proof of this prophecy, bees, a sign of divine presence, always hovered over her crib as she slept, never harming or waking her.

Though she had always wanted to be a nun, Rita’s parents feared for her future security as there was a schism in the church and many religious orders were closing their doors.
Instead, she had to accept a marriage they contracted for her with a man named Paolo Mancini. Though he was a good provider, he soon proved to be an abusive, promiscuous husband. Settling his personal disputes with violence, Mancini created a tense family environment for Rita and the two sons she had with him. Never wavering in her devotion to God, Rita prayed that her husband would change his ways. After 18 years of marriage, Paolo had a vision of himself as others saw him and begged for his wife’s forgiveness. A lifetime of enemies caught up with Paolo and he was murdered, his mutilated body dumped on his family’s doorstep. Rita begged her two teenaged sons not to pursue a vendetta against his killers, but they refused. She prayed to God to prevent her sons from murdering anyone. Both of them came down with serious illnesses and died before they could act on their vendetta.

Alone in the world, Rita petitioned to join the Augustinian convent. Because several of the nuns there had family members who were involved in Paolo’s murder, the convent refused her, not wanting tensions to carry over from the outside world. Rita prayed and entreated Paolo’s family to forgive his killers. Much to everyone’s surprise, they acquiesced and Rita was admitted to the convent on her third try. While there she spent her days nursing the older nuns and concentrating on Christ’s suffering. When she begged to feel what Christ felt on the cross, a thorn from the crown of thorns on a crucifix struck her on the head and became embedded there. It left a deep wound that never healed. Because this wound became infected and foul smelling Rita was shunned by the other nuns and remained in her cell praying and meditating. The January before she died, a cousin asked her if there was anything she needed and she asked for a rose from her childhood garden. The cousin was shocked to see that there was indeed two roses growing in that garden in the middle of January. Upon her death, her cell was filled with the smell of roses. Rita is always depicted with the thorn in her head, in her Augustinian habit, meditating on the crucified Christ.

Prayer
O holy protectress of those who art in greatest need, O you who shine as a star of hope in the midst of darkness, blessed Saint Rita, bright mirror of God’s grace, in patience and fortitude you are a model of all states in life. I unite my will with the will of God through the merits of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and in particular through his patient wearing of the crown of thorns, which with tender devotion you daily contemplated. Through the merits of the holy Virgin Mary and your own graces and virtues, I ask you to obtain my earnest petition, provided it be for the greater glory of God and my own sanctification. Guide and purify my intention, O holy protectress and advocate, so that I may obtain the pardon of all my sins and the grace to persevere daily, as you did in walking with courage, generosity, and fidelity down the path of life. (Mention your request).

Saint Rita, advocate for the impossible, pray for us.

Saint Rita, advocate of the helpless, pray for us.
(Recite Our Father, Hail Mary and the Glory Be three times each).