Saint Rita of Cascia (1456)

Saint Rita’s full name was Margherita, which means pearl. She was born of a peasant family in the mountain country of Umbria, in Italy. Her birth was an answer to the prayer of her parents, who had for years waited for a child. She wished to become a nun at eighteen, but was forced to marry. After her husband’s death she fulfilled her first vocation, and at the age of thirty became an Augustinian nun. The convent of that Order first refused her, but her patron saints, Saint Augustine, Saint John the Baptist and Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, miraculously carried and placed her at the foot of the altar, before the Blessed Sacrament, in the chapel of the convent where she desired to enter. There the nuns found her, and knew they must keep her. Saint Rita begged Our Lord to share His Passion with her in the matter of wounds. One night, when she was kneeling before a fresco on the wall of her convent, a bright light came from a figure of Jesus with His Crown of Thorns to her own forehead, and pierced it, and left the mark of a thorn there for the rest of her life. Saint Catherine of Bologna, Saint John of Capistrano and Saint James of the Marches were her contemporaries. She died when she was seventy years old. Because of her power in Heaven to grant favors of any kind that are asked of her, Saint Rita is called, in childlike affection, “the saint of the impossible.”

Saint Rita of Cascia, in a stained glass window