Blessed by God, .
You turned aside from this value of .
Tears to seek wholeness for your hidden wounds.
In the great passion of Christ. . . .
You were not content with less than perfect healing,.
And so endured the thorn for fifteen years.
Before you entered into the joy of your Lord.
This poem was engraved on the casket of St. Rita and is one of the few contemporary sources that tell us about her.
St. Rita received he "hidden wounds" in an unfortunate marriage. For eighteen years she endured the abuses and infidelities of a violent husband. She also suffered the rascality of two sons who were strongly influenced by him. She was delivered from these miserable circumstances in a horrific way: one day her husband was brought home dead, brutally slashed by his enemies. Her rambunctious sons planned to get revenge, but died before they could obtain it.
Rita was then free to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a nun. She applied to enter the Augustinian convent at Cascia of Italy, in 1407. But her suffering was not over. Even though orders customarily received widows, the Augustinians three times refused Rita because she had been married. Only after 6 years did they acquiesce and install her as a nun.
The poem said Rita "sought wholeness" in the passion of Christ. In her meditations she preoccupied her imagination with his agony. On Good Friday, 1441, she prostrated herself before e a crucifix and begged Christ for some small share of his suffering. As though punctured by a crown of thorns, a single wound opened on Rita's forehead. For fifteen years it caused her daily pain and embarrassed her, as its putrid odor frequently offended her sisters. In 1450, when she was preparing to visit Rome for the jubilee year, the wound temporarily healed. But it reappeared when she returned to Cascia and remained until her death.
Rita died of tuberculosis on May 22, 1457.