Saint Rita was born Margherita Lotti in Roccaporena, Italy in 1381. The day after her baptism, Rita was surrounded by a swarm of white bees, which went in and out of her infant mouth without hurting her. Rather than being alarmed, her family believed she was marked to be virtuous and devoted to God.
At an early age, she begged her parents to allow her to enter a convent but was instead arranged to be married to a cruel man named Paolo Mancini. Young Rita became a wife and mother at only twelve years of age and her husband was a man of violent temper. In anger, he often mistreated Rita verbally and physically. He was also known to pursue other women and he had many enemies.
Paolo had many enemies in Cascia, but Rita's influence over him eventually led him to be a better man. He even renounced a family feud between the Mancinis and Chiquis. The feud eventually began again and Rita's sons were determined to avenge their father's murder. Rita prayed to God, asking Him to take her sons before they lost their souls to the mortal sin of murder. One year later, her prayers were answered when both of her sons fell prey to dysentery and died.
Rita eventually entered the monastery of Saint Magdelene where she performed her duties faithfully and received the sacraments frequently until her death in 1457.
One of our homes in the Community Outreach and Disability Services ministry in Edmonton chose St. Rita as their patron Saint because she is known as a Saint of impossible cases and, at times, it seemed impossible for this residence to come together.