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Perfect Father's Day Gift
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St. Rita was born at Roccaporena near Spoleto, Umbria, Italy. She married at age 12 to Paolo Mancini. Her parents
arranged her marriage, despite the fact that she repeatedly begged them to allow her to enter a convent. Mancini was
a rich, quick-tempered, immoral man, who made many enemies in the region. St. Rita endured his insults, abuse, and
infidelities for 18 years, and bore two sons with Mancini, Giangiacomo Antonio and Paolo Maria. Although she tried to
raise them with Catholic values, her sons grew to be like their father. Toward the end of her husband's life, St.
Rita helped convert him to live in a more pious manner. Although Mancini became more congenial, his allies betrayed
him, and he was violently stabbed to death. Before his death, he repented to St. Rita and the Church, and she forgave
him for his transgressions against her. After Mancini's murder, her sons wished to exact revenge on their father's
murderers. Knowing murder was wrong, she tried to persuade them from retaliating, but to no avail. She, instead,
prayed to God for Him to take away the lives of her sons instead of seeing them commit such a terrible sin. In
religious history, God heard St. Rita's words and her sons died of natural causes a year later. After the deaths of
her husband and sons, St. Rita desired to enter the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene at Cascia but was spurned for
being a widow, as virginity was required for entry into the convent. However, she persisted in her cause and was
given a condition before the convent could accept her; the difficult task of reconciling her family with her
husband's murderers. She was able to resolve the conflicts between the families at the age of 36, and was allowed to
enter the monastery. However, her actual entrance into the monastery has been described as a miracle. During the
night, when the doors to the monastery were locked and the sisters were asleep, St. Rita was miraculously transported
into the convent by her patron saints Saint John the Baptist, Saint Augustine, and Saint Nicholas of Tolentino. When
she was found inside the convent in the morning and the sisters learned of how she entered, they could not turn her
away. One day, while living at the convent Rita said, "Please let me suffer like you, Divine Saviour". Suddenly, a
thorn from a figure of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ fell from the crown of thorns and wounded Rita's forehead. As
a result, depictions of St. Rita show a forehead wound to represent this event. She remained at the monastery, living
by the Augustinian Rule, until her death. She is Patron Saint of Lost and impossible causes, sickness, wounds,
marital problems, abuse, mothers, and recently ... Baseball.
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