Saint Rita: The Roses and the Thorns
The feast of Saint Rita of Cascia, Italy, is celebrated on May 22nd each year. Saint Rita, an Augustinian Nun, is the patron saint of impossible causes, sterility, abuse victims, loneliness, marriage difficulties, parenthood, widows, the sick, bodily ills and wounds. In the last 15 years of her life, Saint Rita bore the mark of the stigmata, the mark of Christ's passion as a thorn wound on her forehead. Near her death, Saint Rita asked for a rose from the garden of her parent's home. In January, when no roses bloomed, one appeared and was brought to Rita, who proclaimed thanks to God for this wonderful sign of His love. Thus, Saint Rita became known as the Saint of the Roses and the Thorns. It is often said that roses appear whenever a person prays through her intercession. Certainly, victims of child sexual abuse and vulnerable persons who have been abused can find comfort, love and consolation through the intercession of Saint Rita.
Many people use the phrase, "there is no rose without the thorns." The joys we experience in life give us glimpses of the Hope we find in heaven-all is perfect and well there… No thorns! But, all of us know that life isn't easy, and it is often difficult. Certainly, these very trying times we are enduring are proof of this. Celebrating the joys and getting through the sorrows seem the ebb and flow of life. The disappointments can outweigh the happiness and drag us down, but nothing is impossible with God on our side. Saint Rita taught us that vividly. Saint Rita's life and message are great inspiration for the times in which we live.
The thorns in our lives tempt us to stay there, counting them, accepting them, remaining in their midst. It is sometimes easier to stay where we are and not challenge ourselves. We blame, we accept roles unworthy of us, and we are afraid to change and pull ourselves through to a place of happiness. We get used to thorns, and it is less costly for us to befriend them, than it is to challenge them. May Saint Rita inspire us to look for the roses in life, to dwell there in their fragrant beauty.
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