Wednesday 18 August 2021

Rita of Cascia - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston - CTS Great Saints

Rita of Cascia
CTS Great Saints
Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860825316
eISBN 9781784694180
CTS Booklet B711

This is the ninth volume from the pen of Glynn MacNiven-Johnston that I have read. Her books seem to be either biographies or prayer and devotional books. I have now read a few of each type, and they are all excellent reads. I have been trying to work through all the volumes in the CTS Great Saints Series. I am a huge fan of the Catholic Truth Society’s books and booklets. I have read many volumes from the CTS Great Saints Series, CTS Biographies, and also Saints of the Isles Series. And have loved almost all of them. I have read over 200 books from the Catholic Truth Society over the last few years. I have loved most, and benefited from all of them. This volume was originally published in 2009 and the eBook edition was released in 2017. The description on the back of the book is:

“St Rita spent 18 years in a difficult marriage before entering a convent to lead a life of poverty and great charity. She is invoked by those in desperate situations: women having difficulties in their marriages or problems with their children; anyone trying to make peace with family or neighbours; and by those who are ill, frustrated in their hopes, or who cannot see a way forward. These are all things she had to face in her life, and she is known as a powerful intercessor.”

And the chapters in the volume are:

Love of God and neighbour
Life of Saint Rita
Miracles and canonisation
Devotions to St Rita

This volume begins with these words:

“Why should we read the lives of the saints? What help can they be to us? They can seem almost inhuman in their reactions to suffering and evil, so impossibly pious that we really do not even want to imitate them. And yet it is because they are human and because their experiences are exactly like ours that we can find inspiration, help and comfort in the accounts of their lives. We can see how it is possible to be Christ-like, to love as he loves. We can see that with Christ it is possible to forgive, to accept suffering for the sake of other people, to seek the good of others and to know and love God. Perhaps the saints’ lives are extreme and perhaps the penances they imposed on themselves are not so easy to understand at this distance but their lives reflect something of Christ’s. St Rita’s life was one of love of God and love of neighbour – perseverance, forgiveness and wisdom.”

This is a fascinating little biography. I was familiar with the name but not really any details before beginning this book. But what I loved most was the wide range of prayers at the end of the books. The prayers in the chapter Devotions to St Rita are:

Prayer to St Rita
Collect from the Lauds of St Rita
Prayer to St Rita in Suffering
Prayer to St Rita in Illness
Chaplet of St Rita
Prayer of the Roses
Novena to St Rita
Litany of St Rita
Hymn to St Rita

Some of this story was not easy to read. The part of a festering wound, and maggots. But the miracles attributed to this Saints intervention, even dating back to before she was laid in a casket are amazing. The cult and devotion around her has endured. And even Pope Saint John Paul II on the centenary of her canonisation stated:

““The mortal remains of St Rita, which we venerate here today, are a significant sign of what the Lord accomplishes in history when he finds humble hearts open to his love. Here we see the frail body of a woman who was small in stature but great in holiness, who lived in humility and is now known throughout the world for her heroic Christian life as a wife, mother, widow and nun. Deeply rooted in the love of Christ, Rita found in her faith unshakeable strength to be a woman of peace in every situation. 

In her example of total abandonment to God, in her transparent simplicity and in and in her unflinching fidelity to the Gospel, we too can find sound direction for being authentic Christian witnesses at the dawn of the third millennium.”

And further on:

“Today, 100 years after her canonisation, I am pleased to offer her again as a sign of hope, especially to families. Dear Christian families, by imitating her example, may you also know how to find in your fidelity to Christ the strength to fulfil your mission of service to the civilisation of love!”

And that is what I come away from this small volume with, an appreciation of a woman who lived and loved for God. Whose life was one of service, prayer, and sacrifice. We can turn to her in prayer, and look at her as a symbol of faith.

Another excellent read in the CTS Great Saints Series. A book I was blessed by reading and one I am certain you will be as well. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Glynn MacNiven-Johnston:
Maria Goretti Teenage Martyr
Pier Giorgio Frassati Inspiration for Students
Father Damien Apostle to the Lepers
Martin de Porres

Rita of Cascia 

Prayer Books:
Handbook of Novenas for Feasts and Seasons
Devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour
The Infant of Prague
Handbook of Novenas to the Saints: Short Prayers for Needs & Graces
Handbook of Scriptural Novenas: For Various Needs and Intentions
Devotion to St Jude: Patron of Hopeless Cases

A Book of Novenas

Books in the CTS Great Saints Series:
Antonio Rosmini - J.B. Midgley
Bernard of Clairvaux - J.B. Midgley
Benedict Patron of Europe - J.B. Midgley
Charles Borromeo - J.B. Midgley
Dominic - J.B. Midgley
Elizabeth of the Trinity The Great Carmelite Saint - Jennifer Moorcroft
Francis de Sales - J.B. Midgley
Gemma Galgani Gem of Christ John Paul Kirkham
George: Patron of England - J.B. Midgley
John Baptist de La Salle - J.B. Midgley
John of the Cross - Jennifer Moorcroft
John Vianney - J.B. Midgley
Louis Marie de Montfort His Life, Message and Teaching - Paul Allerton SMM
Martin de Porres - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
Patrick Missionary to the Irish - Thomas O’Loughlin 

No comments: