After these losses, Rita unsuccessfully tried to enter the convent where she originally had desired entrance as a young woman. Her attempt was not an effort to hide away, nor was she feeling like she was ‘finally free’ as if experiencing some kind of relief; she carried the pain of loss with her for the rest of her life. However, Rita’s pain fueled a deeper sense of mercy and understanding for all those who suffered, and therefore her desire to enter religious life was to immerse herself in prayer and service. She spent hours in contemplation before a crucifix, so that she could continue to grow in love for the God she knew had never left her side through every disappointment and setback.
©Michele L. Catanese
* I have written about St. Rita before. Last year at this time she was the topic of a post in which there is more about her life. Therefore I will not repeat what was said there, but rather refer readers back to that post if more information is desired. It can be found in the Archives on the right side of this page: click on May, 2017 and then on May 22, or click here.
** You can find more on Job by also going to my Archives. I wrote about Job on August 22, 2013. My style has evolved since those early days, but the information on Job midway through the entry might be helpful. You can click here to find it.
Note: Next entry will be June 4.
1. This is one of my photos, taken in Big Bend National Park, TX. I chose it for the beginning of the post because the location of the bird nest in the cactus seems like an impossible situation. It seemed to me that it was a good example of how we persevere and even can thrive in the midst of a tenuous situation.
2. This icon is called St. Rita of Cascia Patroness of the Impossible by Fr. William Hart McNichols. I especially like this icon because it depicts her suffering by the wound on her forehead as well as the crown of thorns behind her. But while it is clear she has suffered, her posture shows her receptivity. Her gratitude is observed in her hand which is raised in praise and prayer. You can find this icon at http://frbillmcnichols-sacredimages.com/featured/st-rita-of-cascia-patroness-of-the-impossible-206-william-hart-mcnichols.html.
3. This is another of the works of Fr. William Hart McNichols: Holy Prophet Job. It presents Job as stripped of everything, yet in a prayerful, reflective pose. He is trying to understand, and though he cannot, he has learned to accept with gratitude everything God sends. One can almost hear him saying: "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!" (Job 1:21) You can find this icon at http://frbillmcnichols-sacredimages.com/featured/holy-prophet-job-264-william-hart-mcnichols.html.
4. I took this photo on the beach at Port Aransas, TX. It is one 'lonely' little shell persevering in the rushing tide. It reminded me of how some things seem insurmountable, but that we can 'hang in' with the help of God's grace, even if we think we are being battered by the tides of life.
5. This is a painting by Frank Johnston (1951) called The Fire Ranger. I chose it for this place in the entry because it reminded me that God sees the big picture, just as the plane is seeing if there is any fire in the immensity of the wooded area. He can see from above what we might not see readily from below. Johnston was a Canadian artist, a member of the famous Group of Seven. You can find this work at https://www.wikiart.org/en/frank-johnston/the-fire-ranger-1920.
6. Finally, this is one of my photos of a lily pond taken at a public garden, a hidden gem in the middle of Washington DC. It seemed appropriate to have something beautiful at the end of this post. It shows a few flowers in the midst of all the lily pads, which could be seen as symbolic of beauty in the midst of all the water. We have brothers and sisters nearby, and thus we are not alone. And we can find Christ in them, just as we can in the saints.