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2008-02-23 - 8:52 p.m.

I received an e-mail from my DAD entitled "There ARE No COINCIDENCES"

He wrote that he just happened to come across this bio of St. Rita, who is the saint I picked to be named after at my Confirmation. I wonder if he recalls that my Religion teacher that year told me I could not use the name RITA as my confirmation name and that I REFUSED to change it. The teacher told me I could not be confirmed. I told him I would wait and see what the BISHOP had to say about that. I told him that I felt he really had no authority over my confirmation, nor did the school and that if he didn't support me I would still go to be confirmed whether he liked it or not. I told him not only was I ready, but that I was SURE I UNDERSTOOD CATHOLIC THEOLOGY BETTER THAN HIM. (And I did. He made a number of theological errors that year which I had been eager to debate him on.) He certainly thought I was a "lost cause" as I was always challenging him (but he was in fact a DISGRUNTLED CATHOLIC who wore a pink hankie folded in his shirt, was somewhat effeminate, and the nephew of the Principal who I swear couldn't get ANOTHER job at the time... so he was not exactly teaching Catholic theology with the zeal I had at the time.)

He then told me that the name we pick has to be of a saint. HE said "There is no Saint Rita."
I brought in Butler's Lives of the Saints and shared with him St. Rita's bio. When he asked why I was so insistent on the name of Rita I told him it was the name of my favorite aunt.

What I think is most fascinating is that today there is in fact one order I have heard of (I believe the Benedictines) in which they are now currently allowing widows to become nuns. That is still a barrier which I am surprised hasn't really been overcome, especially in light of the dramatic decline in vocations. Funny. I have had that fleeting thought "In my old age I want to become a nun!"

I think it would be wonderful if in this day and age they actually considered that question of whether a DIVORCED woman could become a nun! Wouldn't that open up possibilities!

Here is St. Rita's bio:

St. Rita of Cascia

Feast day May 22

Augustinian nun, also called Margarita. She was born in Roccaporena, near Spoleto, Italy, in 1381, and expressed from an early age the desire to become a nun. At the age of 18 she was forced to marry an ill-tempered, abusive man. She lived under his physical and verbal abuse for 18 years until he was stabbed in a brawl. She had two sons, and was finally widowed when her husband was killed. Both sons also died, and Rita, still anxious to become a nun, tried unsuccessfully to enter the Augustinians in their convent at Cascia. She was refused because she was a widow and because of the requirement that all sisters should be virgins. Finally, in 1413, the order gave her entry, and she earned fame for her austerity, devotion to prayer, and charity.

In the midst of chronic illnesses, she received visions and wounds on her forehead which resembled the crown of thorns. She died on May 22 at Cascia, and many miracles were reported instantly. Canonized in 1900, she is honored as the patron saint of abused women and as a patron saint of hopeless causes.

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