"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Santa Rita

Saint Rita of Cascia

This statue of Saint Rita of Cascia is on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.
Saint 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. Rita was a child bride, married before the age of 12. The marriage lasted for eighteen years, during which she is remembered for her Christian values as a model wife and mother who made efforts to convert her husband from his abusive behavior. Upon the murder of her husband by another feuding family, she sought to dissuade her sons from revenge.

Rita subsequently 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 May 22. At her canonization ceremony she was bestowed the title of Patroness of Impossible Causes, while in many Catholic countries, Rita came to be known to be as the patroness of abused wives and heartbroken women. -- Wikipedia
 Conservation of this santo revealed red marks representing blood and a faded trace of a thorn on the figure’s forehead beneath layers of paint. These are symbols of St. Rita, who spent her days meditating on Christ’s sacrifice at the Monastery of the Hermits of Saint Augustine in Casia, Spain. This santo is meant to be dressed with textiles representing her habit. Her arms have been lost and she no longer wears a wig. The figure was found in a peasant home in the rural district of Minillas in San Germ├ín, Puerto Rico. In its early colonial years, Puerto Rico had very few priests and it was difficult for those who lived in remote areas to attend church. As a result, rural Puerto Ricans worshiped at home before altars filled with santos, such as this Santa Rita -- Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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