At the National Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia, located in South Philadelphia PA, a relic of St. Rita and the pillow she laid here head are on display. Her incorrupt body resides in the chapel of Basilica of Santa Rita da Cascia in Umbria, Italy.
St. Rita is the patron of forgiveness and reconciliation and is known as being the peacemaker. Her feast day is May 22nd, the anniversary of her death. St. Rita had three patron saints that she followed throughout her lifetime. One was St. Nicholas of Tolentine, a friar committed to prayer for the faithfully departed. The other is St. Augustine and she became an Augustinian nun. The third patron saint but not the least is John the Baptist, who baptized Jesus.
St. Thomas of Villanova (1488–1555) is the patron of the friars who serve the National Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia. As St. Thomas was an Augustinian, most friars at the shrine are also Augustinians. At the age of thirty-six Rita pledged to follow the Rule of Saint Augustine.
Later in life at the age of sixty years, she was meditating before an image of Christ and received a stigmata, a small wound on her forehead, resembling a thorn as shown earlier. For the next fifteen years she bore this thorn. In spite of the pain she constantly experienced, she offered herself for the physical and spiritual well-being of others.
The enormity of this feast day can not be understated. There are thousands of roses distributed prior to the Masses that are brought up to the altar with faithful asking for intersessions. Roses are blessed after each Mass on the feast day which is May 22nd. Quite a celebration!