St Rita of Cascia

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Augustinian nun. Patron of desperate cases and difficult marriages. St Rita was born in 1377 at Roccaporena in Umbria. She was to become a nun but her parents made her marry. Her husband was violent and unfaithful. They had two sons. She endured the marriage for 18 years, until one day her husband was killed in a vendetta.

In 1407 Rita became a nun. She prayed and meditated on the Passion of Christ with such intensity that wounds of the crown of thorns appeared on her forehead. Rita devoted herself to caring for the sick. She was also known as a good listener and people would go to her with their problems. She had a reputation for great holiness and many miracles were attributed to her.

Rita died of tuberculosis in 1447. She was beatified in 1626 and canonised in 1900. A basilica with a hospital, school and children's home was built by her shrine in 1946.

She was very popular in many Latin communities around the world. More recently in Italy she is now considered, like St Jude, to be a patron of hopeless cases and difficult marriages. At Cascia and Roccaporena, roses are blessed in her honour on this day.

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