May 22 is the feast day of St. Rita.  St. Rita of Cascia was an Augustinian nun from 14th century Italy. She is the patroness of impossible causes and hopeless circumstances because of her difficult and disappointing life. Through her trials God used her in remarkable ways, not only while she lived, but now from heaven she assists those who plead for her intercession for their own seemingly impossible and hopeless circumstances.


From an early age St. Rita desired to become a nun, but her parents insisted that she marry at the age of twelve.  St. Rita did so in obedience to them.  Adding to her disappointment, the man her parents arranged for her to marry was cruel and harsh, and she spent 18 years in a very difficult marriage.  Her husband eventually became physically abusive, yet she met his cruelty with kindness and patience.  Two sons were born to her whom she loved deeply. After many years she eventually won her husband over to greater civility and kindness.


In the 14th century Italy was rampant with warring families caught in a vicious circle of assassinations and bloody vendettas  (think Romeo and Juliet).  St. Rita’s family was caught up in this strife that was so entrenched in society at that time.  Her husband was murdered as a result of the  infamous rivalry between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines.  St. Rita mourned her husband’s death and interceded for his soul with great earnest.

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Her two young sons, in keeping with the vice of the day, talked of avenging their father’s death.  St. Rita did all she could to guide her children into forgiveness, but was unable to dissuade them from their evil intentions. Prayer was her only hope. She prayed that God would change the evil swelling up in the hearts of her sons, or allow them to die before they had the chance to commit a mortal sin and in so doing be separated from God forever.  God granted her prayers.  Both of her two sons died within a year in a state of grace; they were prevented from following the evil path of their father.


After the death of her husband and her sons, St. Rita was all alone in the world and sought again to enter the convent.  She was turned away because of her family’s association with the civil strife; some of the sisters living in the convent were family relations of the men who were responsible for killing her St-Rita-of-Casciahusband.  To maintain peace, she was denied entry.


St. Rita, again facing crushing disappointment and yet another impossible situation, had recourse to prayer and the intercession of the saints.  St. Rita’s sincerity and spirit of charity and forgiveness prevailed and she was eventually granted entry.  She became known as a holy and prayerful nun, often meditating on the sufferings of the crucified Christ.


One day, while praying before a crucifix, St. Rita received a visible wound on her forehead.  This was a mystical yet visible mark (stigmata) of Jesus’ wound from the crown of thorns, symbolizing St. Rita’s unity with Christ in his sufferings.  She also enjoyed many mystical experiences with Christ during the forty years she lived in the convent.  She died on May 22 when she was in her seventies.


St. Rita certainly had a difficult life, but her heartbreaking circumstances drove her to prayer and helped her to become a holy woman. She began her work of intercession for sinners while she lived, starting with those closest to her heart.  Through her love and prayers she won the grace of conversion for her husband and both her sons.


Even though her life was full of sorrows and disappointments, she was consoled by being closely united with Christ.  He did not abandon her; rather He granted her profound and intimate graces.  Now a saint in heaven, St. Rita is the patron of impossible causes, sterility, abuse victims, loneliness, marriage difficulties, parenthood, widows, the sick, and bodily ills and wounds.


If you are facing a difficult and impossible life circumstance, you can resort to prayer after the example of St. Rita.  Below is a prayer to St. Rita as well as a novena.  You can also find medals, books, and prayer cards associated with St. Rita here, which make great gifts for those similarly facing difficult and heartbreaking life circumstances.


Prayer to St. Rita


O Holy Patroness of those in need, St. Rita, whose pleadings before thy Divine Lord are almost irresistible, who for thy lavishness in granting favors hast been called the Advocate of the Hopeless and even of the Impossible; St. Rita, so humble, so pure, so mortified, so patient and of such 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.

We promise, if our petition is granted, to glorify thee by making know thy favor, to bless and sing thy praises forever. Relying then upon thy merits and power before the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we pray thee grant that [here mention your request].

By the singular merits of thy childhood,
Obtain for us our request.

By thy perfect union with the Divine Will,
Obtain for us our request.

By thy heroic sufferings during thy married life,
{repeat Obtain for us our request after each line]
By the consolation thou didst experience at the conversion of thy husband,
By the sacrifice of thy children rather than see them grievously offend God,
By the miraculous entrance into the convent,
By thy severe penances and thrice daily bloody scourgings,
By the suffering caused by the wound thou didst receive from the thorn of thy Crucified Savior,
By the Divine love which consumed thy heart,
By that remarkable devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, 
on which alone thou didst exist for four   years,
By the happiness with which thou didst part from thy trials to join thy Divine Spouse,
By the perfect example thou gavest to people of every state of life.
Pray for us, O holy St. Rita, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


O God, Who in Thine infinite tenderness hast vouchsafed to regard the prayer of Thy servant, Blessed Rita, and dost grant to her supplication that which is impossible to human foresight, skill and efforts, in reward of her compassionate love and firm reliance on Thy promise, have pity on our adversity and succor us in our calamities, that the unbeliever may know Thou art the recompense of the humble, the defense of the helpless, and the strength of those who trust in Thee, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Novena to St. Rita

O holy protectress of those who art in greatest need, thou who shineth as a star of hope in the midst of darkness, blessed Saint Rita, bright mirror of God’s grace, in patience and fortitude thou art a model of all the states in life. I unite my will with the will of God through the merits of my Savior Jesus Christ, and in particular through his patient wearing of the crown of thorns, which with tender devotion thou didst daily contemplate. Through the merits of the holy Virgin Mary and thine own graces and virtues, I ask thee to obtain my earnest petition, provided it be for the greater glory of God and my own sanctification. Guide and purify my intention, O holy protectress and advocate, so that I may obtain the pardon of all my sins and the grace to persevere daily, as thou didst in walking with courage, generosity, and fidelity down the path of life. [Mention your request.]

Saint Rita, advocate of the impossible, pray for us. 
Saint Rita, advocate of the helpless, pray for us. 

Recite the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be three times each. 

 St. Rita of Cascia_ Patron Saint of the Impossible


This blog post was first published on May 22, 2013


  1. Josephine Kaija says

    Dear st. Rita thank you ever so much for prayers answered. Please continue to intercede for me in my job search situation as well as the healing of my nephew Edwin from schizophrenia

  2. Bee says

    Thank you St Rita for providing us with comfort at a difficult time like this.

    Please grant me happiness with a new boss. You have never disappointed me when I have prayed for others – please answer this prayer which is for myself.

  3. nora says

    Please help my son get passing grades in lsu this semester and for the coming semesters to come, so he won’t get kicked out from the school. Please help him focus and widened his thoughts and show him to right path always through Jesus Christ and Mother of God with St. Rita’s interceding. Amen

  4. Rosemarie says

    Saint Rita.
    Thank you for letting things turn more positive in my daughters marriage. She still has doubts about this but is willing to try. Please grant her the wisdom to see if this is really what she wants and if not guide her to find her way out of it and help her make her way to be with her family. Amen.

  5. paul says

    I prayed to St. Rita when I made a terrible error which could have jeopardized my relationship with a woman I was seeing. As soon as I finished the prayer, I was reconciled with her. Thank you St. Rita. It was a miracle.


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