Oil dedicated to St Rita on prayer cloth
The Oil dedicated to St Rita on prayer cloth is dedicated to Saint Rita of Cascia who was born Margherita Lotti in Roccaporena, Italy in 1381. When she was baptised, Rita was surrounded by a swarm of white bees. The bees which went in and out of her infant mouth without hurting her. Rather than being alarmed, her family believed she was marked to be virtuous and devoted to God.
Her family arranged for her to be married to a cruel man named Paolo Mancini. Young Rita became a wife and mother at only twelve years of age. Her husband was a man of violent temper.
A feud between the Mancini and Cascia family grew turbulent and one of Paolo’s allies betrayed and killed him. Following her husband’s death, Rita gave his murderers a public pardon.
Both of her sons were determined to revenge their slain father. Rita prayed to God, asking Him to take her sons before they lost their souls to the mortal sin of murder. One year later, her prayers were answered when both of her sons fell prey to dysentery and died.
When Rita tried to enter the convent the nuns told her she could join if she could find a way to mend the wound between the Chiquis and Mancinis. After asking John the Baptist, Augustine of Hippo, and Nicholas of Tolentino to help her in her task, she attempted to end the feud.
The bubonic plague had been spreading through Italy at that time, and when Bernardo Mancini became infected, he finally abolished the feud with the Chiqui family.
Rita enters the convent
Once the conflict was resolved, Rita was allowed to enter the monastery at the age of thirty-six. It is said that she was transported into the monastery of Saint Magdalene through levitation at night by the three patron saints she appealed to.
While at the monastery, Rita performed her duties faithfully and received the sacraments frequently. Rita had a great devotion to the Passion of Christ, and one day, when she was sixty-year-old, she asked, “Please let me suffer like you, Divine Saviour.”
After her request, a wound appeared on her forehead, as if a thorn from Christ’s crown had pierced her. It left a deep wound, which did not heal, and it caused her to suffer until the day she died.
She passed away four months later, on May 22, 1457.
Following her death, she was buried at the basilica of Cascia, and was later discovered to be incorrupt. Her body can be found today in the Saint Rita shrine at Cascia.
Tradition of oils
The tradition of anointing with sacred oil is very old indeed. It is used in sacraments and also as a devotional practice. The sick person is invited to apply oil on the part of their body they want healed. As they do so, they are asked to pray to whomever the oil is dedicated to. The Irish blessings oils do not have miraculous power. It is God who has the power to heal. Applying the oil while praying are important ways for us to express our faith in God’s power. Moreover, by doing so we place our trust in God.