For everyone not existing in the realm of domestic violence, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!! (For everyone else who is, Good Morning and welcome to another fun-filled day…) Sadly for those who lives are touched by domestic violence every day is Halloween minus the costumes (sometimes) but for those suffering, I bring you help and hope in warding off the evil of DV; may I introduce you to Saint Rita of Cascia, the patron saint of domestic violence.
Even if you’re not Catholic, everyone knows that a saint is a good person – or a better then good person, a holy person – but there’s a misperception that goes along with that: that saints never do anything wrong, never commit any sins or are so blessed by God that nothing bad can happen to them. A good case in point to shatter this misperception is Saint Olga, who is described as “a cruel and barbarous woman (she scalded her husband’s murderers to death in 945 and murdered hundreds of their followers) until she was baptized at Constantinople in 957”. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=427 Saint Olga really is living proof that one can turn his/her life around if he/she so chooses!
For those not familiar with Catholicism and the saints, a patron saint is a person who once lived and became venerated (honored) by the Catholic Church post-mortem for works achieved in his/her lifetime. Patron saints are considered as protectors or guardians representative of a cause, condition, occupation or place, ie: Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland; Saint Peter, the patron saint of fishermen; Saint Denis, the patron saint against headaches; Saint Rita, the patron saint of domestic violence. It’s believed that if you pray to the patron saint, he/she will intervene or intercede on your behalf to answer your prayer so if I felt a headache coming on, I might say a prayer to Saint Denis asking him to help get rid of it.
Why am I going on about saints? Because tonight – All Hallow’s Eve (hallow means holy) – is the day before All Saints Day, celebrated by Catholics on November 1st so I thought now would be a good time to tell you about Saint Rita.
Saint Rita was born Margherita in a small town in Italy in 1381. Customary of the times, she was placed into an arranged marriage at the age of 12 but her parents didn’t choose wisely because Rita’s husband was known to be a violent, abusive and womanizing man. Rita had two boys and spent her days as a homemaker, raising her children, enduring her husband’s abuse and praying. Rita’s praying paid off because her husband eventually turned away from violence but it came a little too late: shortly after converting, her husband was murdered as a result of an outstanding family vendetta.
Now teenagers, Rita’s sons set out to avenge their father but both died a year later due to illness. All alone, Rita turned to a convent but was given a hard time in trying to join because she had been previously married. One of the tasks Rita was given by the mother superior was to tend a dead stick. Rita planted it and watered it daily; some years later the stick turned into a living grapevine that’s still alive today! The grapes from this vine are turned into wine for the Pope’s consumption.
When Rita was about 60 years-old, she was praying before the crucifix and asked Jesus that she be allowed to suffer like He did. The story varies here as to how it came about but the end result is the same: from that prayer, Rita received a deep wound on her forehead that did not heal.
Toward the end of her life, Rita was visited by a cousin at the convent. The cousin said she would be visiting Rita’s old home and wanted to know if she wanted anything from there. Rita asked for a rose from the garden, but since it was January, the cousin didn’t hold out much hope for being successful but surprisingly, when the cousin went to Rita’s garden there was a single rose in bloom so in pictures of Saint Rita, a rose is often nearby.
Because of her status as a domestic violence survivor, Saint Rita represents the condition of domestic violence and we actually have a sweet little chapel in Nanakuli named after her. //stritananakuli.org/
All Saints Day is a Holy Day of Obligation (meaning all Catholics are supposed to attend Mass) to honor and thank the saints for their intercessions but feel free to thank (and call on them) anytime!
For more info about the saints and their causes, click here: //www.catholic.org/saints/ If you’re interested in a movie about Saint Rita’s life, click here: http://www.catholiccompany.com/saint-rita-dvd-p4003742/