St. Rita of Cascia
Feast Day May 22
Rita Lotti was born in 1381 in the small village of Roccaporena, Italy, and was the only child of a devout and humble Christian couple. She was betrothed at a young age to Paolo Mancini and together they raised two sons. Paolo was murdered as the result of a long-standing family rivalry. Rita was able to forgive because of her strong Christian convictions, but her sons, who were teenagers, were determined to avenge their father's death. She tried to talk them into a change of heart, but her prayers to God prevented them from exacting revenge. Both boys died of natural causes, leaving Rita without a family, but not without hope. in gaining admittance to the convent of the Augustinian Nuns in Cascia where she lived the remaining forty years of her life. She practiced prayer and simple works of charity. At the age of 61, while at prayer on Good Friday before an image of Jesus crowned with thorns, she received the stigmata in the form of a single wound in her forehead. This remained until her death at 76 years of age on May 22, 1457. Rita of Cascia was canonized on May 24, 1900 by Leo XIII who proclaimed her 'The Precious Pearl of Umbria.' Her body is venerated in her basilica in Cascia.