St. Rita of Cascia
Comforter of Sorrows; Fortitude
Born Margherita Lotti in Cascia, Italy, (1381 – May 22, 1457). The day after her infant baptism, white bees swarmed in and out of her mouth, which her family saw as a sign that she would be devoted to Christ. Despite St. Rita’s repeated pleas to be allowed to enter a convent, her parents arranged marriage when she was twelve to Paolo Mancini, who was rich, abusive, and immoral. Married eighteen years, she tried to convert her husband, and bore him two sons. Late in their marriage, Mancini did become pious, but was murdered by a member of a rival family. His sons wished to avenge their father’s death, but St. Rita prayed for God to take them before they could commit a mortal sin. Her prayers were answered when both sons died of dysentery shortly after their father’s murder. Now widowed, she again asked to join the monastery of St. Magdalene, and was refused. She prayed to her three patron saints for intercession, and was transported into the monastery’s courtyard by levitation in the night. She was allowed to stay. St. Rita developed a Stigmata on her forehead, and she practiced mortification of the flesh. A rose in the convent garden bloomed for her in January as she neared her death from tuberculosis.
Patron Saint of impossible causes, abused wives and broken-hearted women, sterility, loneliness, parenthood, widows, and the sick.
St. Rita gives us the gifts of patience and trust.
Speaker of truth; Virgin of bravery
Born c. 200, Alexandria, Egypt. Her father was a pagan of Greek descent and a magistrate. Apollonia converted to Christianity, and was admired by fellow Christians because she was chaste and charitable. During an uprising commemorating the founding of the Roman empire, she was arrested and her teeth were violently torn from her mouth. Her captors created a pyre outside the city gates, threatening to burn her alive if she refused to repeat after them impious words in blasphemy against Christ, or in an invocation to pagan gods. She requested a little freedom of movement as she stood before the fire. When it was granted, she leapt into the fire and was burned to death. Her relics and images (52 in England alone) of her are located in churches in many countries
Patron Saint of dentistry and dental problems
St. Apollonia gives us the gift of courage to take charge of our destiny.
St. Angelus of Jerusalem
Living our convictions every day
Born Jerusalem 1185; died Licata May 5, 1220 CE. Born into a devout Jewish household, Angelus and his twin brother converted to Catholicism when their mother did so. Both became ordained priests and Carmelite friars. Unlike his brother, Angelus retreated into the desert to a hermitage after his ordination into the Carmelites. He emerged when he was instructed to go to the Italian mainland to evangelize as well as to meet with Pope Honorius III to ask him to approve a new rule for the Carmelites. Along the way, he met Saint Francis of Assisi, foretelling
Saint Francis’s stigmata. He is said to have healed lepers and was successful at converting many Sicilian Jews to Christianity. He is said to have been struck by thugs in the employ of County
Berenger of Licita, Sicily with Count Berenger’s sword five times, because, when he denounced the Count’s incest with his sister, the sister repented and converted to Christianity. According to tradition, he asked for his assassin to be pardoned and urged the city’s Christians not to avenge his death.
Patron Saint of Licita, Sicily.
St. Angelus gives us the gift of learning how to forgive.
Green, growing hope for a weary world
Never have there been snakes in Ireland, but many pagans, and Patrick’s mission was to rid the country of all of them. Living in the late fifth century, CE, Patrick claimed to have been taken as a slave from Britain to Ireland. He escaped, went home, and then went back to Ireland, travelling the country preaching and eventually becoming a bishop. His most famous sermon was one in which he illustrated the meaning of the Holy Trinity by using a shamrock. Others who wrote about him maintained that he converted the sons of regional kings and wealthy women who then founded or joined convents. One legend says he thrust his ash walking stick into the ground where he preached. It took so long to get his lessons through to people that the staff took root. His life is celebrated on March 17, the supposed date of his death, although the year is uncertain. The 82-mile Saint Patrick’s Way pilgrimage follows in his footsteps from Armagh to his burial site in Downpatrick.
Patron Saint of barbers, barrel makers, blacksmiths, cattle, engineers, hairdressers, miners, and ophidiophobics. Protects against snakes, snakebites.
St. Patrick gives us the gift of exploring the transmutation of our Self.