St. Rita

Once upon a time lived a lady called Rita. She lived in Italy in a house with her husband, Benedetto and her two sons, Tino and Beppe. Rita's husband was killed in a fight. Tino and Beppe wanted to take vengeance or inflict harm in retaliation, but Rita prayed that they wouldn't kill those who had killed her husband.

When the boys were about seventeen years old, there was an epidemic of the flu in Italy. People were becoming extremely ill and dying from this. First to catch the flu in Rita's house were her sons Beppe and Tino. Rita nursed her sons for days, but sadly they both eventually died. Rita was very upset: she had lost her only children. Rita went every day to the church to ask the Lord to look after her boys whom he had taken from her. She was distraught, she knew that her family was in good hands but, no matter how hard she tried, this knowledge did not seem to help ease the pain.

Then one day soon after, Rita sold her house and most of her belongings and went to join the convent of Augustinian. There she knew she would remain until God felt that it was time for her to join her family. Rita never thought that she was good enough to become a nun. So, when she became one, she never really thought that she was very good at it. In fact, no matter how many times people told her that she was very good at serving God and listening to other people, she just could not believe it.

Then one night she received a sign from God. It was after she had been praying. Whilst she was praying she had asked God to let her feel some of the pain that he had felt when wearing the crown of thorns, suddenly she felt an extremely excruciating pain in the forehead. Later, once she had finished praying, she discovered that a bleeding sore had appeared on her forehead. The sore remained there for months and months unaffected by whatever the nurse at the convent put on it.

One day, Rita found out that some nuns from her convent were allowed to go to Rome to receive the Pope's blessing. Rita asked the Reverend Mother if she would be able to go with them. But Reverend Mother replied that she could not possibly go and meet the Pope with that sore on her forehead. Rita was very upset and that night, when she was saying her prayers, she asked the Lord if he would mind very much taking the sore away even though she had asked to have it.

The next morning, when Rita woke she found that the sore had vanished, so she was allowed to go to Rome, even though everyone now thought that she had been deceiving them.

Rita had a wonderful time in Rome, but the morning after she got back she woke to find that her sore had come back, and it stayed with her for the rest of her life.

One day, just before she died, Rita asked one of the nuns to go and get her a ripe fig and a red rose from the garden. All the nuns at the convent thought that she had lost her mind because it was the middle of winter. Then, later that afternoon, one of the nuns went outside and there in the middle of the lawn were two ripe figs and a red rose.

St Rita's day is on May 22nd. I think that she should never be forgotten for she was someone who in her lifetime went through a lot, but she never lost her faith in God.

Jennifer Delmaestro, Year 9
St. Michael's Convent School,
Barnet, North London.