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August 17, 2010

Patron saint's relic finds home in Sta. Rita

Patron saint's relic finds home in Sta. Rita

IT'S indeed a historic Sunday for the sleepy Sta. Rita town.

It's a religious celebration, as the relic of Sta. Rita de Cascia comes home to this small municipality in the heart of the province. The religious and devotees of the "Patroness of the Impossible" will sure catch a glimpse of the said relic to be permanently installed in the parish church.

Who is Saint Rita?

St. Rita is a 14th century Roman Catholic saint, also known as Margarita of Cascia and Rita La Abogada de Imposible, and the patron saint of the impossible.

According to Catholic tradition and history, St. Rita was born in the year 1381 in the village of Roccaporena near Cascia, Italy. Her parents, Antonio and Amata Lotti, considered her from birth a very special gift from God, for Rita was born to them as they were already advancing in age.

As a young girl, Rita frequently visited the convent of the Augustinian nuns of Cascia and dreamed of one day joining their community. She lived in the days when Italy was in turmoil from warring families. His husband died in a feud while her sons died of natural causes.

St. Rita's life was marked with hardship and struggles. She entered the Augustinian convent were at the age of 60 she received the stigmata on her forehead.

St. Rita Today

St. Rita's body is on display in a glass case in the Basilica of St. Rita in Cascia, Italy. Her body has been seen in different positions in the glass case in which her remains are displayed and her eyes have opened and closed unaided.

St. Rita is the patron saint of abuse victims, against loneliness, against sterility, bodily ills, desperate causes, difficult marriages, forgotten causes, impossible causes, infertility, lost causes, parenthood, sick people, sickness, sterility, victims of physical spousal abuse, widows and wounds.

The Augustinians brought the belief on Saint Rita in the Philippines consecrating many parishes and barangays after her tutelage. One of which is Sta. Rita town here where the town and the parish have been named after the saint.

The Relic

It took Monsignor Gene Reyes quite sometime before being able to request for the relic. Being a diplomat for 12 years in the Vatican, he knew the Archbishop Ricardo Fontana of Spoleto Norsia in Italy. He wrote to the archbishop for a relic to Santa Rita town here in Pampanga.

The first attempt was unlucky since the nuns who presently oversee the body of the saint would not allow extraction for "first-class relics." A first class relic is a piece of the saint's body either a bone, a hair or lock of hair or a piece of flesh. Saint Rita's relic in question is from her flesh ("ex-carne" in Latin).

But refusing to give up hope, the monsignor urged the archbishop for help. Owing to a little miracle, the archbishop of Spoleto Norsia wrote to the Vatican Vicariate General where it was found out that there are still three remaining "first-class relics." Two of which have been scheduled to be given somewhere in Africa while the third happens to be available.

"And the rest was easy. Fortunately will be the second place in the Philippines to have a relic of the saint," Reyes said. Another relic is said to be in the care of the Augustinian Contemplative Nuns in Cebu.

The (first-class) Relic of Saint Rita de Cascia, Patroness of the Impossible Cases, is arriving in the Parish of Santa Rita de Cascia in Pampanga on 17. The sacred relic will stay and be enshrined in the Parish Church where people may come, visit and venerate it.

"Through her sacred relic - which comes from her incorruptible body - Saint Rita is not only spiritually present, but will also now be physically present in our midst, just as she is in Cascia (Italy) where her intact and incorruptible body is kept," Reyes said.

He added that it is more than a worthy blessing for the town, which has been named after the saint since the Spanish times.

San Fernando Pampanga Archbishop Paciano Aniceto will accompany and entrust to us the relic. (IOF)

Source: Sunstar, Pampanga
Date: 17 August 2008


Antiquechess said...

It is good to know this that there is also a relic in Sta. Rita, Pampanga. Here in Sibalom, the Mother Abbess and the Sisters of Cascia Italy has given the Sta. Rita de Cascia Parish Church of this town the exact replica of the body and reliquary of Sta. Rita de Cascia with the blood relic pinned on her robes. It was given in 1970 and has since become the Church Shrine of Sta. Rita de Cascia. So there is also another relic of the Saint in Cebu. It is nice to know of this info.

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