A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths

Santa Rita da Cascia (St Rita of Cascia, Margherita Lotti) (c1381-1457). Feast Day commemorating the death of noble Umbrian Augustinian nun who had an arranged marriage at 12 that lasted for 18 years and produced 2 sons. When her husband was violently stabbed to death, the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene in Cascia refused her admittance. Her sons died of dysentery a year later and she implored her 3 patron saints, John the Baptist, Augustine of Hippo and Nicholas of Tolentino, to assist her and at 36 she was allowed to enter the monastery, where she lived by the Augustinian Rule until her death from tuberculosis. At 60, when she was meditating before an image of Christ crucified, a bleeding wound appeared on her forehead, a partial stigmata as though from the Crown of Thorns. Before dying bedridden, she asked to be brought a rose in memory of the thorns of her lifetime and this became the Ritiano symbol. Various miracles are attributed to Rita’s intercession, the 1st before her funeral when a disabled carpenter saw her body and said: “Oh, se non fossi ‘struppiato’, la farei io questa cassa!” (“Oh, if I were not crippled, I’d do this chest!”), as he wished to make her coffin. He was immediately healed and was able to make the coffin. Venerated in Roman Catholic, Aglipayan Churches. On her Feast Day, at the churches and shrines of St Rita, priests bless roses during the Mass and give them to the congregation. Major shrine early 20th-Century sanctuary at Basilica of Santa Rita da Cascia, among the most active pilgrimage sites of Umbria, with her incorrupt body. St Rita’s Church in Nantirikkal, Kerala is the only church in Asia to have relics of St Rita and the only Catholic church in Kerala named after her. Patron of lost and impossible causes with St Jude, sickness, sterility, the sick, bodily ills, wounds, marital problems, domestic abuse, mothers, parenthood, widows, heartbroken women, loneliness. Image: strita.care.

Naomh Coel (St Conall). Roman Catholic Feast Day for 7th-Century Irish Benedictine monk who was Abbot of Inniscoel, Donegal, where there is a holy well named after him. On the vigil of their patron’s festival, the people of the Iniscoel neighbourhood were accustomed to observe a rigid fast. Coel’s iron and copper alloy bell is in the British Museum with a 10th-11th-Century copper alloy mount and a 15th-Century gold, bronze, silver and rock crystal bell shrine. Bollandist (Société des Bollandistes) Feast Day 20 May. Patron of Inniscoel. Image: flickr.com.

Notre-Dame de Bonne Nouvelle (Our Lady of Good Tidings). In 1563, in the midst of the Reformation in Switzerland, Germany and England, there were pilgrimages to the new church of Notre-Dame de Bonne Nouvelle in Lempdes, near Rouen. There, from time immemorial, there had been veneration of a statue of the Blessed Virgin with the Infant Jesus and children came each year to ask Mary for perseverance after their First Communion. Despite the religious wars raging in France 10 years later, the Revolution that took the throne and a 1790 decree to dissolve the church, a great number of the faithful opposed the removal of the sacred ornaments of the church and defended their priests and so marriages and baptisms were held there secretly. During an 1818 severe epidemic, the faithful vowed to go in procession to Our Lady of Good Tidings and celebrate in perpetuity the feast of the Visitation, God quickly putting an end to the scourge of the plague. A poor young peasant boy, Jean-Baptiste Lamy, made regular visits to the church of Our Lady of Good Tidings in post-Revolutionary France, kept the faith and grew up to be the 1853 1st Archbishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Image: ndbn.fr.