may 22. rita of cascia, "la santa de los impossibles"
Patron saint of impossible causes, sterility, abuse victims, loneliness, families with marital difficulties or feuds, parenthood, widows, the sick, bodily ills, and wounds.
Lived 1386 to 1457
During Rita's baptism, a swarm of white bees flew around her as she slept in a crib, entering and exiting her mouth without harming her.
At 12, Rita was married to a violent and ill-tempered husband and he taught their children his own evil ways. Rita repaid his perfidy with prayer and kind attention to him. Rita was horrified of "anything which might, in the least, mar the untarnished whiteness of virginal purity." As such, one priest describes her as an honorary virgin, because she managed to "preserve always the virginity of her soul." According to BusinessMirror, "her married life was pathetic." When her husband's friends ambushed him and stabbed him to death in a brawl, Rita begged God to also take her twin sons, who she feared would grievously sin / avenge their dad's murder. At this behest, the twins died of dysentery one year later.
Widowed and childless, Rita became a nun. She considered Jesus Christ a "sweet honeycomb" and devoted herself to his passion. So that she might share in the pain of His Crown of Thorns, Our Lord gave her a thorn wound in her forehead. The wound was so ugly that Rita became an object of nausea to some of the nuns, who could not bear even to look at her. The foul-smelling wound pained her and wept for the rest of her life.
Today, Rita's body remains on display in a glass case. Much of her person is still incorrupt, including the thorn wound in her well-preserved forehead. She has been seen in different positions and her eyes have opened and closed unaided.
To subjugate her body, Rita punished it with fasting and abstinence. She is quoted as saying: We must not have any pity for our bodies; the more we pander and fondle them, the more rebellious they'll become against the spirit.
Rita practiced the following specific mortifications: