O God, come to my aid+
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Alleluia!
- O Santa Rita, a faithful wife and caring mother
You showed the way for us to live our daily lives
In holiness and zeal, in loving surrender
To all that God wills: true Christian model!
We sing with joy through Santa Rita’s praises
To God our loving hearts we raise
Till all our days be filled with God’s wonders
Such rose in Rita’s hands blossoms in every season
- O Santa Rita, a widowed spouse yet pure of heart
You paved the way for us to see heaven’s glory
By your pains and suffering
By your prayers with the thorns
Share in the Cross of Christ: grant us our wishes.
Such Rose in Rita’s hands blossoms in every season.
O Holy Patroness of those in need, Saint Rita, whose pleadings before thy Divine Lord are almost irresistible, who for thy lavishness in granting favours hast been called the Advocate of the hopeless and even of the Impossible.
Saint Rita, so humble, so pure, so mortified, so patient and of compassionate love for thy Crucified Jesus that thou couldst obtain from him whatsoever thou askest, on account of which all confidently have recourse to thee, expecting, if not always relief, at least comfort; be propitious to our petition, showing thy power with God on behalf of thy suppliant; be lavish to us, as thou hast been in so many wonderful cases, for the greater glory of God, for the spreading of thine own devotion, and for the consolation of those who trust in thee.
(The Story of Saint Rita: Part VII)
– The vision of the ladder and its corresponding challenges (obedience, poverty, chastity, and silence) Rita confronted.
On a certain day, as Rita knelt before the crucifix in her little cell, she had a vision of a ladder standing upon the earth leading to heaven. God was at the top, beckoning her to ascend. She heard a voice, “Rita, if you wish to unite yourself to God in Heaven, you must climb this ladder.” (St. Rita of Cascia, Fr. Joseph Sicardo, O.S.A., p. 76). She came to understand that she had to become like the angels if she were to follow in their footsteps and that she “must build at once a spiritual ladder, on whose steps made of virtues, she could ascend to Heaven and enjoy there for all eternity the presence and companionship of God.” (Ibid.)
The first step of the ladder to be mastered was the virtue of obedience. In putting her obedience to the test, the mother superior gave Rita an unusual command: “Sister Rita, do you see that stick lying on the ground?” “Yes, Mother,” she replied. “Take it and plant it and water it every day.” Yes, Mother,” Rita replied obediently. (Life of St. Rita of Cascia, Fr. Anatasio Anglini, Aug.) Some have suggested that the nuns may have looked upon it as a joke, but they admired Rita for her fine sense of obedience. And plant the stick she did – and watered it every day for a year. Then, the “stick” put forth leaves and became the most beautiful and bountiful grapevine in the convent garden. Today, almost 600 years later, that same grapevine remains bountiful and beautiful. Every year some of these grapes are sent to the pope, some to cardinals, and various people in high positions in the state. The leaves are dried and powdered and sent all over the world as relics to people who are suffering. There have been many cures reported due to the use of the grape leaves.
The Grape Vine — as it is today — which grew from the “stick” that St. Rita placed in the ground and nurtured for one year. The Vine is still very vigorous and produces an abundance of grapes. The door to the chapel in which she was found by the sisters after being miraculously transported there, is on the right.
The second step to be mastered was the virtue of poverty. To imitate the poverty of her spouse, Jesus Christ, upon Whom she meditated daily, Rita chose to wear the same habit from the day of her entrance into the convent, and was even buried, in that old, patched habit. Her simple cell consisted of a prieu-dieu to kneel on, a hard bench for a bed, and a stone pillow. She ate one meal each day, which consisted for the most part of bread and water.
Whenever Rita was obliged to go outside the convent, she always wore a thick veil over her face and never spoke to anyone. In these ways, she mastered chastity, which was the virtue represented by the 3rd step of the ladder.
In order to master another virtue, that of silence, Rita often carried a small stone in her mouth to prevent the movement of her tongue.
Rita slept only a few hours at night, the rest of the night was spent in prayer or doing needlework. Next to her body, she wore a rough garment interwoven with thorns that penetrated her delicate flesh. She often scourged herself with small chains and leather thongs. First for the souls in Purgatory, second, for the benefactors of the convent, and third, for the souls in a state of mortal sin.
She became so thin that the bones were visible under her flesh. In fact, for 40 years, Rita led this life of penance and mortification but was not ill a single day.
Points for reflection:
Her virtue of obedience was exemplary. What if she had refused to water that dead stick, would it have blossomed into a beautiful vine that produces grape for the Pope and other persons? Would the sick today be beneficiary of the powdered leaves used for curing various ailment? You too can be obedient to your religious and civil rulers in good conscience and see the will of God in what you have been told to do, even in what seems like “nonsense.”
When faced with poverty in life, does it remind us of our Saviour who was poor for our sake or do we grumble against God and engage in unholy acts to obtain riches? Again, Rita becomes a good example of poverty. We must not forget her chastity and silence. How many of us today could tame our tongue from spitting out evil? St. Rita, pray for us!
DAY 7 PRAYER
Glorious St Rita, you endured painful illness and the rejection of your sisters because of the terrible stench of your wound. You accepted this in peace. May we too learn to accept suffering and rejection, knowing God will never reject us.
Relying then upon thy merits before the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we pray thee obtain for us our request for those who experience illness and rejection (now, mention your particular intention).
We honour thy perfect union with the Divine Will, thy heroic sufferings during thy married life, the consolation thou did experience at the conversion of thy husband, the sacrifice of thy children rather than see them grievously offend God, thy miraculous entrance into the convent, thy severe penances and thrice daily bloody scourgings, thy suffering caused by the wound thou did receive from the thorn of thy Crucified Saviour, thy divine love which consumed thy heart, that remarkable devotion to the Blessed Sacrament on which alone thou did exist for four years, the happiness with which thou did part from thy trials to join thy Divine Spouse, the perfect example thou gave to people of every state of life.
LITANY OF SAINT RITA
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us!
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us!
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us!
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us!
Immaculate Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Mother of Good Counsel, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Mother of pure love, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Comforter of the afflicted, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Queen of all saints, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Model of life for Saint Rita, pray for us.
St. Rita, our advocate and protectress, pray for us.
St. Rita, beloved by the Lord, pray for us.
St. Rita, given special grace from heaven, pray for us.
St. Rita, remarkable in childhood, pray for us.
St. Rita, model of obedience to God’s Will, pray for us.
St. Rita, the peacemaker, pray for us.
St. Rita, of untiring patience, pray for us.
St. Rita, model of Christian mothers, pray for us.
St. Rita, mirror for Christian spouses, pray for us.
St. Rita, heroic in sacrifice, pray for us.
St. Rita, generous in forgiving, pray for us.
St. Rita, martyr in penitence, pray for us.
St. Rita, embracing humility and poverty, pray for us.
St. Rita, exemplary as a widow, pray for us.
St. Rita, prompt to answer the divine call, pray for us.
St. Rita, patient in suffering, pray for us.
St. Rita, mirror of religious observance, pray for us.
St. Rita, mystical rose of every virtue, pray for us.
St. Rita, enamoured of the Passion of Christ, pray for us.
St. Rita, pierced with a thorn, pray for us.
St. Rita, in ecstasy before the Blessed Sacrament, pray for us.
St. Rita, consumed with Divine Love, pray for us.
St. Rita, received into heaven with joy, pray for us.
St. Rita, incorrupt in your chaste body, pray for us.
St. Rita, advocate of impossible cases, pray for us.
St. Rita, persevering in prayer, pray for us.
St. Rita, help of those in need, pray for us.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
Leader: Lord, you have signed your servant, Rita.
All: With the marks of Your love and Passion.
Let us pray:
O God, who bestowed on St. Rita such grace that she loved her enemies, and bore in her heart and on her forehead the mark of Your love and Passion, grant us, we beseech You, through her merits and intercession, a love for our enemies. Through our contemplation of Your Son’s sufferings and Passion, may we merit the reward promised to the meek and the suffering. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
Our Father…3 Hail Marys… Glory be… (For the intentions of the Church, the Holy Father, Pope Francis; and for peace in Nigeria)
O powerful Saint Rita, at your feet is a helpless soul in need of help, coming to you with the sweet hope of being attended by you, who have the title of “Saint of the Impossible and desperate cases.” O dear saint Rita, take an interest in my cause, intercede to God to grant me the grace I so need (now, make the request). Do not allow me to have to walk away from your feet without being attended to. If there is an obstacle in me that prevents me from reaching the grace I crave, help me to keep it away. Wrap my request in your precious merits and present it to your heavenly spouse, our Lord Jesus Christ. O Saint Rita, I place my trust in you. Grant that as we go to bed tonight, we may be filled with joy and peace of one who has already received favours from God through your intercession. We promise, if our petitions are granted, to make known your favour, and to glorify God for His gift. Amen.
Pray for us, O holy St. Rita, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.
May the Divine assistance remain always with us, and may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.
Through the intercession of St. Rita, may the Lord bless + us protect us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen
(If possible, kindly accompany this novena with the Holy Rosary at any hour of the day, either 5 or 10 or 15 or 20 decades…)
- My Catholic Prayers and Devotions
- Life of Saint Rita
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Loreto, Vila Medeiros, São Paulo, Brazil
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: Have you prayed your Rosary today?