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Statuary St. Rita

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St. Rita

St Rita of Cascia (1381 - 1457) was born in Italy. She was an Italian Augustinian nun, widow and saint venerated in the Roman Catholic Church. Married young, her marriage lasted 18 years, during which she is remembered for her Christian values as a model wife and mother who tried to convert her husband from his abusive behavior. She is patroness of abused wives, mourning women and hopeless causes.

Popular pious legend recalls that Rita was flown into the convent by Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, Saint John the Baptist and Saint Augustine, where she subsequently joined an Augustinian community of religious sisters. Rita was known for practicing self-mortification of the flesh, along with the apparent efficacy of her prayers and is venerated due to various miracles attributed to her intercession, and is often portrayed with a bleeding wound on her forehead, which the Roman Catholic Church claims to have been a partial stigmata.

The Roman Catholic Church, under the pontificate of Pope Leo XIII officially canonized Rita on May 24, 1900, while her feast day is celebrated every May 22. In many pious Catholic countries, Rita is known to be a patroness for abused wives and mourning women.

Early life

Saint Rita was born as Margherita in the city of Roccaporena (near Spoleto, Umbria, Italy) where various sites connected with her are at present the focus of pilgrimage. At the time of her birth, her parents were known to be noble charitable persons, whom gained the epithet Conciliatore di Cristo (English: Peacemakers of Christ). Rita had her first child at the age of 12. According to pious sources, Rita was married at age 12 to a nobleman named Paolo Mancini. Her parents (Antonio Lotti and Amata Ferri) arranged her marriage as a common practice at the time, despite the request which she repeatedly begged them to allow her to enter a convent of religious sisters. Her husband, Paolo Mancini was known to be a rich, quick-tempered, immoral man, who had many enemies in the region of Cascia.

Rita endured his insults, physical abuse and infidelities for many years. According to popular tales, through humility, kindness and patience, Rita was able to convert her husband into a better person, more specifically renouncing a family feud known at the time as La Vendetta. Rita eventually bore two sons, Giangiacomo (Giovanni) Antonio and Paulo Maria and was raised into the Christian faith which Rita closely followed. As time went by and the family feud between the Chiqui and Mancini families became more intense, Paolo Mancini became congenial, but his allies betrayed him and he was violently stabbed to death by Guido Chiqui, a member of the feuding family.

Paolo Mancini's brother, Bernardo, was said to have been responsible in continuing the blood family feud in hopes of convincing Rita's sons to continue the revenge. It is said that Bernardo was particularly upset how Rita gave a public pardon at Paolo's funeral on her husbands' murderers---essentially nullifying the law of revenge. As her sons advanced in years (one now 16), their characters began to change as Bernardo became their tutor. Later on, Bernardo convinced Rita's sons to leave their manor and join into the Mancini villa and ancestral home. Rita's sons wished to cast revenge against their father's murderers. This right of revenge in Italy at the time was known as La Vendetta. Rita, fearing that her sons would lose their souls, tried to persuade them from retaliating, but to no avail. Her sons died of dysentery a year later, which pious Catholic beliefs claims was God's act to rather take them by natural death than risk living an immoral life punishable by Hell.

After the deaths of her husband and sons, Rita desired to enter the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene in Cascia but was turned away. Although the convent acknowledged Rita's good character and piety, the nuns were afraid of being associated with her due to the scandal of her husband's violent death. 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 and, at the age of 36, was allowed to enter the monastery. Popular religious tales recall that the bubonic plague which ravaged Italy at the time infected Bernardo Mancini, causing him to relinquish his desire to feud any longer with the Chiqui family.

Rita's actual entrance into the monastery has been described as a miracle by popular religious tales. During the night, when the doors to the monastery were locked and the sisters were asleep, Rita was said to have been 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.

She is well known as the patron saint of Impossible (or hopeless) Causes due to the miraculous and impossible results of her intercession.

Beatification and Canonization

The "Acta" or life story of Saint Rita was compiled by the Augustinian priest, Father Jacob Carelicci. Rita was beatified under the Pontificate of Pope Urban VIII in 1627. The pope's own private personal secretary, Cardinal Fausto Poli, had been born some 15 kilometers (9 miles) from her birthplace and much of the impetus behind her cult is due to his enthusiasm. She was canonized on May 24, 1900 under the pontificate of Pope Leo XIII and her feast day was instituted on May 22nd.

Symbols

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 left a deep wound in Rita's forehead. This wound never healed and caused her great suffering for the rest of her life. As a result, depictions of St. Rita show a forehead wound to represent this event. In addition to the physical pain, the wound emitted a terrible stench, which kept the other nuns away from her. On the day she died, the odor from the wound in her forehead became a beautiful scent of roses.

Some criticism and concern have been addressed regarding Rita's portrayal of religious habit. While most common images of Rita show her in a classic Augustinian traditional black habit, historical accuracy shows that the religious sisters in the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene in 14th-century Cascia, Italy wore beige or brown habits, particularly with a white veil with a brown edge ribbon. This correction was particularly noted in the 2004 film Santa Rita da Cascia.

The rose and fig

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

Another version is set near the end of her life, when Rita was bedridden in the convent. A cousin visited her and asked her if she desired anything from her old home. 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 snowy weather. However, when her relative went to the house, a 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 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 St. Rita and her ability to intercede on behalf of lost causes or impossible cases. St. 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, Belgium, there is a statue of St. Rita in which several bees are featured. This depiction originates from the story of her 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.

Interpreters of the story believe the bees represented her subsequent beatification by Pope Urban VIII (whose Barberini family coat of arms featured three bees).

Legacy

A large sanctuary of Saint Rita was built in the early 20th century in Cascia. The sanctuary and the house where she was born are among the most active pilgrimage sites of Umbria. Her intercession is also sought by abused women.

French singer Mireille Mathieu adopted St. Rita as her patron saint on the advice of her paternal grandmother. In her autobiography, Mathieu describes buying a candle for St. Rita using her last franc. Though Mathieu claims that her prayers did not always come true, they inspired her to become a strong and determined woman.

The story of Rita became popular in the 2004 film Santa Rita da Cascia, filmed in Florence, Italy and adhering both to the pious tales of Rita shot in a historical setting of 14th century Italy.

St. Rita is often credited as also being the unofficial patron saint of baseball due to a reference made to her in the 2002 film The Rookie.

Grape vine

When Rita joined the convent she could not earn her vail because she was not a virgin. To test her faith the sisters had her tend to a dead stick planted in the ground. She tended to this dead stick for many years and watered it daily. The sisters were testing her faith. One day many years later a grape vine sprouted from the stick. It is still alive today and the grapes make the wine for the pope. Reports have said that the ground leaves have healing properties especially on woman.

The text in this box was generated from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the CC-BY-SA.

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Title: 5' New Hand Carved Marble/Wood Statue Of St. Rita
Item Number: KRNM-A374
Description:
KRMUS-374: Hand carved statue of St. Rita with high relief details. Shown with an extra rich finish, can also be painted or polychromed to your specification. Available i...
Title: Beautiful Statue of Saint Rita of Casia
Item Number: KRSS-486
Description:
KRSS-486: Beautiful Statue of Saint Rita of Casia. These statues are considered by many church professionals to be the finest new statues available today. This statue is ...
Title: Carved Wood Statue of St. Rita Statue
Item Number: KRCM-48
Description:
KRCM-48: Carved Wood Statue of St. Rita Statue. New carved wood statue of St. Rita with multi-colored paint finish. Also available in hand carved marble or cast bronze...
Title: Hand Carved Wood or Marble Statue of St. Rita
Item Number: KRNM-A1134
Description:
KRMUS-1134: Hand Carved Wood or Marble Statue of St. Rita. Hand carved statue of St. Rita that can be sculpted in wood or marble. Finishes and colors to your specificatio...
Title: Hand Carved Wood or Marble Statue of St. Rita
Item Number: KRNM-A1112
Description:
KRMUS-1112: Hand Carved Wood or Marble Statue of St. Rita. Hand carved statue of St. Rita that can be sculpted in wood or marble. Finishes and colors to your specificatio...
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Item Number: KRNM-A1089
Description:
KRMUS-1089: Hand Carved Wood or Marble Statue of St. Rita. Hand carved statue of St. Rita that can be sculpted in wood or marble. Finishes and colors to your specificatio...
Title: New 4' Beautiful Hand Carved Wood Statue Of St. Rita
Item Number: KRNM-A37
Description:
KRMUS-37: New hand carved wood statue of St. Rita with high relief details. Shown with an extra rich finish but can be painted or poly chromed to your specification. This...
Title: New 4' Beautiful Hand Carved Wood Statue Of St. Rita
Item Number: KRNM-A38
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KRMUS-38: New hand carved wood statue of St. Rita with high relief details. Shown with an extra rich finish but can be painted or poly chromed to your specification. This...
Title: New 4' Beautiful Hand Carved Wood Statue Of St. Rita
Item Number: KRNM-A39
Description:
KRMUS-39: New hand carved wood statue of St. Rita with high relief details. Shown with an extra rich finish but can be painted or poly chromed to your specification. This...
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Item Number: KRNM-1242
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Item Number: KRNM-1288
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Item Number: KRDEM-322
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Item Number: KRDEM-454
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Title: Statue of Saint Rita of Casia
Item Number: KRSS-488
Description:
KRSS-488: Statue of Saint Rita of Casia. These statues are considered by many church professionals to be the finest new statues available today. This statue is hand molde...