|St. Rita at Chris Hart Studio|
St. Rita is one of my favorite saints. She is the Patron Saint of Impossible Dreams and Difficult Situations. She is the saint to pray to for challenging circumstances, infertility, victims of spousal abuse, the forgotten, widows, against loneliness and bodily ills. She is usually painted in a black nun's habit holding the crucifix with a small red dot called a stigmata on her forehead As St. Rita meditated on the image of Christ, a small wound appeared on her forehead as if the Crown of Thorns encircled her head. For 15 years she bore the stigmata, the symbol of her dedication to the Divine. Throughout her life she saw her prayers granted under terribly painful circumstances but she never lost faith.
|St. Rita Statue from Chris Hart Studio|
In spite of wishing to become a nun, St Rita married a very cruel man and had twin sons. She prayed for her husband to stop abusing her. Her beatings ended when her husband was killed in a violent murder. Her sons were obligated to avenge their father’s death but St. Rita prayed that her sons would not commit the sin of murder. She convinced them to join the army and go far away. It was during this time they contracted the flu and both died. It was after these events that St. Rita was finally accepted as an Augustinian nun. So in a sense, St. Rita got what she wanted....Her husband stopped beating her. Her sons were not murderers. She became a nun. Her prayers were answered but her dreams were shattered. That’s what my mom meant when she warned “Be careful what you wish for.....”
It is so easy to want things to be different and to pine away for things you don't have without any regard for what may happen once you get them. That's why I keep St. Rita near my bed. At the end of my day she is a reminder to not casually wish for things to be different, for people I am upset with to be silenced, for big changes in job or relationships. She reminds me to be in the moment, grateful for what is and hopeful for the future. To wish for something else diminishes where we are. It exposes us to the potential of unintended consequences that significant change can bring. Sometimes the gain is tiny while the losses are huge and sometimes the risk and pain are worth it. Wishes are prayers, not to be taken lightly. St. Rita makes us thoughtful and aware of what comes to us when our dreams collide with reality.