Rita of Cascia, born Margherita Lotti, (1381 – 22 May 1457) was an Italian widow and Augustinian nun venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. After Rita’s husband died, she joined an Augustinian community of religious sisters, where she was known both for practicing mortification of the flesh and for the efficacy of her prayers. Various miracles are attributed to her intercession, and she is often portrayed with a bleeding wound on her forehead, which is understood to indicate a partial stigmata.
Pope Leo XIII canonized Rita on 24 May 1900. Her feast day is celebrated on 22 May. At her canonization ceremony, she was bestowed the title of Patroness of Impossible Causes, while in many Catholic countries, Rita came to be known as the patroness of abused wives and heartbroken women. Her incorrupt body remains in the Basilica of Santa Rita da Cascia.
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