May 2015 - St. Athanasius and St. Rita of Cascia

St. Athanasius and St. Rita of Cascia. Photos: Catholic News Service St. Athanasius and St. Rita of Cascia. Photos: Catholic News Service

St. Athanasius

Young bishop defended the Incarnation

295–373
Feast day: May 2

This doctor of the church, famous for his understanding of and writing about the Incarnation, became bishop of his hometown, Alexandria, Egypt, when he was in his early 30s. As metropolitan patriarch for 45 years, he fought the heresy of Arius, a well-educated Alexandrian priest; ran afoul of three emperors and was exiled multiple times; and defended church unity despite longstanding difficulties with other bishops. He improved spirituality in his diocese, increased vocations, preached and wrote many letters, as well as a life of Antony of Egypt, a classic about ascetic and monastic life. Venerated from the time of his death in both East and West, he is the patron saint of hagiographers.

St. Rita of Cascia

Child bride became famous mystic 

1381–1457
Feast day: May 22

This Italian saint is patron of impossible and desperate situations for good reason. Born near Spoleto, Rita was married against her will at the age of 12 to a cruel man. They had two sons during an 18-year marriage that ended when her husband was killed in a fight. After both sons also died, she tried to join the Augustinian convent in Cascia, but was rejected three times because she wasn’t a virgin. Finally, in 1413, her early hope of becoming a nun was realized when the Augustinians accepted her as a novice. Famous for mystical experiences, Rita had a permanent wound on her forehead after hearing a sermon on Christ’s crown of thorns. She was canonized in 1900.

Northwest Catholic - May 2015