St. Rita wanted to become a nun, but in obedience to her aged parents, she married. Her husband caused her much suffering, but she repaid his cruelty with prayer and kindness. In time he was converted, becoming considerate and God-fearing. But St. Rita was to undergo another great sorrow when her husband was murdered.
St. Rita then found that her two sons were entertaining thoughts of avenging their father's murder; she feared they would put their desires into effect in accord with the evil custom of the Vendetta. With heroic love for their souls, she begged God to take them from this life rather than allow them to commit this great sin. Not long afterward they both died, after preparing themselves to meet God.
Bereft of spouse and children, St. Rita devoted herself to prayer, penance and works of charity. After a time she applied for admittance to the Augustinian Convent in Cascia. She was refused, but after praying to her three special patron saints-St. John the Baptist,
In the convent, St. Rita's life was marked by great charity and severe penances. Her prayers obtained for others remarkable cures, deliverance from the devil and other special favors from God.
So that she might share in the pain of His Crown of Thorns, Our Lord gave St.Rita a thorn wound in her forehead. It was very painful and gave off a disagreeable odor, yet she considered it a very great grace. She prayed, "O loving Jesus, increase my patience accordingly as my sufferings increase." The wound lasted the rest of her life.
St. Rita died on May 22, 1457 at the age of 76. People flocked to the convent to pay their last respects. Innumerable miracles took place through her intercession, and devotion to her spread far and wide.
St. Rita's body was preserved perfectly incorrupt for several centuries, and at times it gave off a sweet fragrance. At the beatification ceremony, the body of the Saint raised itself up and opened its eyes.
God has heard St. Rita's prayers for others on countless occasions, and certainly she will gladly intercede once again, on behalf of those who pray to her now-thus continuing to prove the truth of her great name: The Saint of the Impossible!