Saint Rita of Cascia – Miracles of the Rose and the Fig

May 22, 2019

Saint Rita of Cascia – Miracles of the Rose and the Fig

All the years of fasting, subsisting at times on so little (the Nuns judged she lived solely on the Holy Eucharist), began to take a toll on St. Rita. After four years of intense suffering, she lay dying, her last winter on earth, the land she had so dearly loved covered with a blanket of snow.

We are told that although St. Rita had lived the life of an obedient Nun these last years, the wife and mother asked the Lord for a sign that her husband and sons were with Him in Heaven. One of Rita’s relatives from Roccaporena came to see her and asked her if there was anything she could do for her. “Yes,” replied the dying Nun, “I would like a rose from my garden, at home.” As the thick snow of winter would have killed any roses had they survived the bitter cold, her cousin was disheartened. Judging Rita was delirious and she would never see her alive again, the relative wearily returned to Roccaporena. Upon approaching St. Rita’s garden, what should she discover but a rose shooting up from the soft, white mound of earth.

It is said in the Bible that Moses never realized his dream to reach the Promised Land because he struck the rock twice. Be that as it may, Rita asked the Lord for yet another sign. No sooner had the relative returned to Rita with the rose than Rita, showing not the least bit of surprise, asked for two figs from her fig tree at home, another impossible feat for the middle of winter. Now, no longer doubting, the relative rushed off and joyfully returned with the two figs.

I sometimes marvel at the relationship we dare to have with the Lord. One time, I had shared with Bob how amazed I was that this man, whose home I had visited, had placed a bag over the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus because he and Jesus had a fight, Bob said, “What a personal God, Jesus is to him. He trusts the Lord enough to argue with Him!”

Another time, when in Lourdes, we came upon an Italian Pilgrimage celebrating Mass at the outside Chapel of St. Bernadette. We could hear what sounded like “We forgive You, Lord.” I thought I must have misunderstood; they could not be saying what I thought I heard them say, but there it was again, “We forgive You, Lord.” Bob and I approached, moving up the steps, the area surrounding the altar in plain view. There were over one hundred litters of obviously dying children, waiting, dressed in white to receive their first Communion, possibly their last Communion. I cry till today when I remember the words and those who said them. Have I forgiven You, Lord? If not, please forgive me.

Three days before St. Rita died, she had a Vision of our Lord Jesus and our Lady. The room, so often Calvary for Rita, was now flooded with a beautiful, bright light. “You will be with Me in Paradise, in three days,” our Lord told her, and three days later, on May 22nd, 1457, Rita was to join the annals of those who have lived for God; she was with Him.

The ugly wound she had borne uncomplainingly over the years, healed as she breathed her last, only to be replaced by a ruby spot. A strong fragrance, sweet and heavenly, poured forth from where the wound had been, replacing the stench she had lived with those many years. This fragrance continued over many years, for St. Rita was never buried!

Originally, the plan had been to have the body of St. Rita laid out in a Chapel in the Monastery. There were so many of the faithful who wanted to say a last good-by to Rita, whom the townspeople had already proclaimed a Saint, that the Nuns placed St. Rita in the parish Church. All the townspeople processed past her body, paying their last respects. The fragrance continued to emanate from the body. The Nuns decided to place St. Rita in a glass urn (coffin) under the main altar for the faithful to venerate until such time as the body would show signs of decomposition and then they would bury it. There is only one problem. It has been in a glass urn, on view to the faithful, exposed to all the elements, for over six hundred years and it has never decayed or shown any of the ravages of death.

Veneration to this gentle lady who had experienced all that life can possibly throw at us, began almost immediately. Down through the centuries, the power of intercession to St. Rita has been confirmed by a multitude of miracles. Most of these have been granted to those on the brink of despair, who felt their petitions were impossible. St. Rita has been given the name, “Saint of the Impossible”. While the favors granted have not been solely to women in distress, she has become known as “The Woman’s Saint.” There are those, ourselves included, who believe that St. Rita is one of the most touchable Saints for the women of today. Millions of pilgrims climb the mountain to Cascia every year, in petition or thanksgiving to this humble Saint, whose greatest asset has been obedience and faith in her God. Many more millions who cannot physically go to Cascia, pray to St. Rita for help.

Somewhere out there, many Ritas are searching for help, but don’t know where to look. Help is there; it has always been there. We have just been looking in the wrong places. While we believe the Lord has given us marriage counselors and psychologists as a means to help us through the trials of life, the answer is not in the horizontal. It’s in the vertical. The horizontal by itself is a minus (-). But when you put it with the vertical, looking up to Heaven for help, it becomes a plus (+). It is also the Sign of the Cross.

Till today when you visit St. Rita, there is a feeling of family; she’s one of us. Here, in a glass urn, honored by God and her brothers and sisters in Christ, the mystical body of Christ, lies a daughter, an obedient daughter whose parents did not make the wisest of decisions by man’s standards, but possibly by God’s; a wife of an alcoholic, an abuser, a carouser, a man easily provoked whose deadly silence could erupt into rage; a widow who loved her husband before and after his conversion only to lose him by an act of violence; a mother who watched her children grow up taking on the violent, non-Christian personality of their father, afraid they might commit murder, only to lose them to death through illness; a Nun who was rejected, judged, ostracized, laughed at, tested and glorified. Here lies our sister, Rita, a Saint, a woman of our time. And I, Penny, love her and thank God for the gift of her to remind me what I can be.

Related Items Saint Rita of Cascia

Prayer Cards Medals and Other

Saint Rita of Cascia books dvds and other media

Saint Rita of Cascia – Feast Day May 22

May 21, 2008

The following is an excerpt from our book, Saints and Other Powerful Women in the Church

During Lent of the year 1443, in Cascia, St. James of Marches, a great preacher of his day, gave a very personal, passionate sermon on our Lord to the Nuns. Rita was so taken by the sermon that she returned to the Monastery and began to pray, with all her heart and soul, before a fresco of Jesus crucified. As she humbly asked for a part of His suffering on the Cross, admitting that she was unworthy to share His full Passion on Calvary, a thorn fell from the Beloved Head of our Savior and pierced the forehead of St. Rita. She immediately began to bleed profusely, and the wound that kept bleeding has been accepted by all as the gift of the Stigmata of our Lord.
In the case of most holy people who have been graced with the Stigmata, like St. Francis of Assisi, and the saintly Padre Pio, the fragrance exuded from the holy wounds smells like a beautiful perfume from Heaven, more pleasing even than that of flowers. With the wound of St. Rita, came humiliation, estrangement and isolation. The wound had such a pungent, putrid odor emanating from it that she had to suffer the ostracism and rejection of her fellow Nuns who, at best, feared it might be infectious and, at worst, could not bear the smell. She spent the next fifteen years alone, suffering more and more excruciating physical pain. But although she was isolated from her Community in a small cell far away from any of the consoling companionship of other Nuns, she had the Consoler! Instead of looking toward herself and her pain, she focused on Jesus and His Crucified Head of thorns and all the thorns in her life were turned into roses of love by her Lord as she offered them to Him.
Here we have a perfect case of Redemptive Suffering. Stated simply, redemptive suffering goes like this. You have suffering which will not go away. For some reason, the Lord allows you to have it. You can’t pray it away; you can’t wish it away. You can become angry, and turn away from God, or you can offer it up to God for the souls in Purgatory, the conversion of sinners, or to relieve the suffering of someone here on earth.
We believe that Redemptive Suffering is a powerful offering to Our Lord. It’s a way of taking a terrible negative, the pain inflicted on us by the suffering, and turning it into a great positive, by offering it to Our Lord Jesus. We believe that St. Rita used this unusual twist of not receiving the fragrance of Heaven that accompanies the Stigmata, to glorify Our Lord Jesus. She offered up to him the isolation caused by the putrid odor of her wound.
In 1450, Pope Nicholas V declared the first Holy Year, proclaiming Rome, once and for all, the center of the Christian world, and of our Faith. The popes had been away from Rome for sixty seven years. Our Lord wanted to unite His Church, to end the scandal of division and dissension caused by self-interest and resultant schism, so He inspired the pope to institute this Holy Year. And unite He did! All the Religious of Italy, as well as pilgrims from all over the world converged on Rome.

For more information about St. Rita of Cascia click here

%d bloggers like this: