Visiting churches or shrines that contain the relics of saints is another means of encounter during our pilgrimages. On several of our Italy pilgrimages, we travel to the Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia. This saint is known as the patron saint of impossible causes, reconciliation and healing.
Her story is quite remarkable. As a young woman, Rita obeyed her parents by marrying instead of following a call she felt to join the local Augustinian nuns of St. Mary Magdalene Monastery. Due to turbulent political times, her husband was murdered and it was expected that her sons would avenge their father’s death. Rita, influenced by the peacemaking example of her parents, pledged to forgive her husband’s killers and worked to convince her sons to do the same. Before they could do so, her sons succumbed to a deadly illness.
Now a widow and childless, Rita again felt the call to religious life. However, the sisters at the monastery were hesitant to accept her due to the ongoing vendetta between her husband’s family and of the family that murdered him. She successfully negotiated a peace agreement between the two families and was finally accepted into the Augustinian convent at age 36.
She lived a regular life of prayer, contemplation and spiritual reading according to the Rule of Saint Augustine for forty years. In 1442, on Good Friday, she was moved to a deeper awareness of the physical and spiritual burden of pain which Christ so freely and willing embraced for love of her and all humanity. She received the wound of a thorn from his crown penetrating her forehead. The wound remained open and visible until the day of her death fifteen years later.
So many people came to look upon her gentle face of the “Peacemaker of Cascia”, that her burial had to be delayed. It became clear that something exceptional was occurring as her body remained incorrupt, as it remains today.
Her feast day is today, May 22!
We will visit her incorrupt body in the Basilica of St. Rita in the hill-town of Cascia and we will leave any concerns that seem impossible on our hearts for St. Rita to handle.
Join us for either Signature Christmas 2019 or 2020 Pilgrimage or the Signature Easter 2020 Pilgrimage to make this journey to St. Rita. Follow this LINK to our Italy Pilgrimage page to explore the details of these pilgrimages.