Saint Rita of Cascia was born with the name Rita Lotti in Roccaporena in the province of Umbria, Italy, in 1381. Her parents, Antonio and Amata, were aging parents living in the diocese of Spoleto who looked upon her birth as a gift from God.

She was betrothed at age 12 by her parents to Paolo Mancini and was married at age 18. She bore him two sons. Paolo often found himself drawn into the conflict, and the strain that this caused probably accounts for the tension, which he sometimes brought into their household. She was a good wife and mother who put up with the abuse for 18 years. Her husband was murdered, and their sons swore vengeance on their father’s killers. Through St. Rita’s prayers and intervention, they forgave the offenders and died a few years later of natural causes.

After her sons died, St. Rita joined the Augustinian Nuns. Her days were spent in prayer and contemplation in the service of the sick and poor.

St. Rita is well known as a patron of desperate, seemingly impossible causes, abuse victims, and difficult marriages. Her feast is celebrated on May 22nd the anniversary of her death.