Church will celebrate its namesake with special event

| May 16, 2011 | 0 Comments

Photo courtesy The Church of St. Rita

Roses, petunias, hibiscus, and an abundance of greenery on St. Rita Church grounds at 8694 80th Street, Cottage Grove, won the parish the commercial green garden award in 2009, but landscaping was not just about beautifying the premises. The Church honored its namesake, St. Rita of Cascia, Italy, by doing what she loved, planting flowers. When Sister Rita was very ill during a cold and snowy winter, she asked God to give her a rose from her childhood garden. She begged her cousin to bring one. The dubious cousin, desiring to ease Rita’s suffering, went to Roccaporena. When she returned with a red rose, Sr. Rita thanked God for letting her know her husband and sons were in heaven. Today in Cascia, the residents honor Rita’s love of the sick by giving them blessed roses. She is known as the “Saint of the Impossible.”

Each year the Cottage Grove parish has given roses to those attending Mass on her feast day. This year is different, however. The feast falls on Sunday, so the parish is celebrating in a very special way. There will be roses for the altar, of course, but celebrating with the parish will be the Most Reverend Lee A. Piche, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He will say the 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass on May 22. After the service, parishioners dressed to represent the saint’s three life stages of daughter, mother, and nun, will answer questions about St. Rita’s life. A reception follows.

Before St. Rita entered the convent, she was married. Her husband was murdered and her two sons died of the plague. Rita forgave the family that killed her husband in a vendetta, then helped to reconcile the warring factions.

To imitate the saint’s virtue, St. Rita parishioners took on various peacemaking activities this Lent. They learned about Rita’s life of forgiveness and did peace projects. Among those efforts were collecting new infant items for the needy, working on pro-life causes, praying for peace intentions here and abroad, and giving alms for various causes.

As a reminder to the parish and visitors, a life-size St. Rita’s bronze statue, designed and cast by parishioners, the Bonnette family, stands outside the front entrance of the church in the midst of a garden, reminding the faithful that St. Rita is always ready to intercede. The Lord readily hears her prayers. He showed great favor to St. Rita for living a holy life. After 554 years, her body is still partially incorrupt, encased for viewing in Cascia’s basilica.

Category: Local News