Saint Rita (1381 , 1457) was an Italian Augustinian saint and like many young girls , was married at a young age. When 12, Rita was married to a man named Paolo Mancini, which was arranged by her parents. However, Rita had other plans and endlessly pleaded with her parents to permit her entry into a convent. Sadly, the man she married (Paolo) was wealthy, but had a quick temper and treated those around him in a brute manner and was known for his uncontrolled actions. All through the region, her husband was known for making quite a few enemies.
As a wife, Rita took many insults and abuse during her marriage to Paolo, who was quite unfaithful to her for the 18 years that they were married. She gave birth to two sons and was met with great heartache, as they grew up to become carbon copies of their father. Before his death, Paolo attempted to change his life and become a better Catholic. By his side , Rita assisted this transformation. As a result, his character became softer. In the end, his allies betrayed his trust and sent people to take his life. They were successful in killing him one night , meeting his end with several violent stab wounds.
Before his death, he is believed to have repented to the Church for all of his sins and made amends with Rita for how he treated her. She granted him forgiveness. After his death, Rita was left to care for their sons, who were consumed with thoughts of revenge. Rita desperately tried to convince them that killing his conspirators was murder. She spent a great deal of time praying that they did not carry out their revenge.
In the end, her sons James and Paul would die of natural causes , both begging for the forgiveness of their mother. With the passing of her husband and children, Rita wished to enter a monastery named Saint Mary Magdalene at Cascia, but was turned away for being a widow. One of the requirements to becoming part of the convent was to be a virgin. She kept asking for entry on more than one occasion and was given the chance if she was able to succeed in one thing. If she could reconcile her family with the men her murdered her husband, then she would gain entry.
Rita spent a lot of time and hard work trying to reach this objective and following the reconciliation of both clans , she was allowed to enter. Rita was now 36 years old. Legend has it that despite locked doors, Rita’s patron saints of Saint John the Baptist, Saint Augustine, and Saint Nicholas of Tolentino transported her into the convent through the movement of miracles while all of the sisters were asleep. When Rita was discovered in the morning, the sisters had no choice but to accept her when they concluded how she came to be in their presence.
While at the convent, it is believed that a thorn detached from the crown of thorns associated with Christ and found a place upon her forehead. This is why when you encounter depictions of St Rita , she is seen with a head wound. At the monastery, Rita lived by the Augustinian Rule (which was based upon the 109th letter of St. Augustine) until her passing in 1457.