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Friday, May 22, 2009

St. Rita, Patronness of the Impossible

Most Catholics are familiar with St. Jude as the patron saint of impossible causes. But today's saint, Rita of Cascia, also has that reputation. One feature of St. Rita's life is particularly appropriate to this week when we saw Catholics deeply divided over President Obama speaking at Notre Dame because she was known as a reconciler who brought peace. Let us ask her intercession to bring about a true reconciliation of all Catholics to the truths of the faith. There can be no reconciliation between good and evil, but love for our enemies can become like a magnet drawing them to Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life.

St. Rita was born near about three miles outside the village of Cascia, Italy. Although she wished to be a nun, her parents arranged a marriage when she was twelve. St. Rita's husband, Paolo, was a contentious and abusive man who was unfaithful to his young wife and feuded with other families in the city. He also associated with some very unsavory characters. St. Rita bore him two sons who grew up imitating their father. Fearful of the bad environment, St. Rita finally persuaded Paolo to move to a smaller town where life would be quieter. Unfortunately, because of his past associations, Paolo was brutally murdered. Before he died, he begged St. Rita for forgiveness and was reconciled to God.

St. Rita's two sons were determined to take revenge on their father's murderer. When she couldn't convince them to abandon the idea, she prayed that the Lord would take them both before they could commit such a grave sin. Within a year both died of natural causes. What a mother who cared so much more about the eternal salvation of her children than their physical lives.

Despite so many difficulties, St. Rita was able to bring about peace among the feuding families and to finally achieve her tremendous desire to live a consecrated life.

Read more about St. Rita here.

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