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Lay for the Day 22nd May

St Rita of Cascia’s day. She was born in 1377 in Umbria, and wished to become a nun, but in deference to her parents’ wishes, she married instead. Her husband was a violent philanderer, who was eventually horribly murdered in a vendetta. Her two sons also died, before they could avenge their father’s death. Rita became a nun, and meditated on the Passion of Christ so intensely that a wound appeared on her forehead as though she had been pierced with a crown of thorns.
To quote David Farmer, from the Oxford Dictionary of Saints: “The recent popularity of her cult in Italy seems to be caused by her reputation (like that of Jude) as patron of desperate cases. These, especially matrimonial difficulties (which have not been diminished by a lack of violent or unsatisfactory husbands) have made Rita a much-sought-after patron.”

An old moon looks on me
shadow-bit deep
You’re no more keen
to die than I am dear
He loves me not
I’m counting on this single petal


John Gibbens
from Simples

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar

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