Saint Rita of Cascia

st. Rita of Cascia is known and venerated throughout the world. You visit the cathedral in Budapest, Hungary, and you see a bas-relief Saint Rita; you go into a church in Buenes Aires, Argentina, and you find a statue of Saint Rita; you go to Lebanon, and you discover a great devotion to this woman, Rita. Truly Rita has no boundaries.

Rita was born in the year 1381 in the village of Roccapoerna, near Cascia, Italy. Her parents, Antonio and Amata Lotti, considered her birth a very special gift from God, because Rita was born to them when they were advanced in age. As a young girl Rita frequently visited the convent of the Augustinian nuns in Cascia and dreamed of one day joining their community. Her parents, however, had promised her in marriage, according to the custom of the day, to Paolo Mancini, a good man, though of a strong and impetuous character. Rita accepted her parents’ decision, resolved that this was God’s will for her.

The young couple was joined in marriage and soon twin boys were born to them. Rita found herself occupied with the typical concernsstrita of a wife, mother, and homemaker of Roccaporena, while Paolo was employed as a watchman for the town. In Cascia, as elsewhere, a great rivalry existed between two popular political factions, the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. As a minor official of the town, Paolo often found himself drawn into the conflict, and the strain which this caused probably accounts for the tension that he sometimes brought into the Mancini household. By her prayers, patience, and affection, however, Rita was able to ease the stress and worry her husband experienced, but she was not able to shield him altogether from the dangers to which society exposed him.

One day as Paolo was returning home from work he was ambushed and killed. The pain which this unexpected and violent death inflicted upon Rita was only compounded by the fear that her two teenage sons, moved by the unwritten law of the “vendetta,” would seek to avenge their father’s death. Rita’s only recourse was to prayer and persuasion. As it happened, the death of both boys from natural causes a short time later removed them from spiritual danger. Despite her great burden she could still thank God that they had died in peace, free from the poison of murder to which hatred and revenge might have otherwise drawn them.

Now alone in the world and without family responsibilities, Rita once more turned her thoughts to the desired vocation of her youth, that of joining the Augustinian nuns of Saint Mary Magdalene Monastery. Some of the religious of the community, however, were relatives of the members of the political faction considered responsible for Paolo’s death, and so as not to tempt the harmony of the convent, Rita’s request for admission was denied. Fortunately, she was not to be easily dissuaded from following what she knew to be God’s plan for her. She implored her three patron saints John the Baptist, Augustine, and Nicholas of Tolentino to assist her, and she set about the task of establishing peace between the hostile parties of Cascia with such success that her entry into the monastery was assured.

At the age of thirty-six Rita pledged to follow the ancient Rule of Saint Augustine. For the next forty years she gave herself wholeheartedly to prayer and works of charity, striving especially to preserve peace and harmony among the citizens of Cascia. With a pure love she wanted more and more to be intimately joined to the redemptive suffering of Jesus, and this desire of hers was satisfied in an extraordinary way. One day, when she was about sixty years of age, she was meditating before an image of Christ crucified as she was long accustomed to doing. Suddenly a small wound appeared on her forehead, as though from a thorn from the crown that encircled Christ’s head had loosed itself and penetrated her own flesh. For the next fifteen years she bore this external sign of stigmatization and union with the Lord. In spite of the pain she constantly experienced, she offered herself courageously for the physical and spiritual well-being of others.

During the last four years of her life Rita was confined to bed and was able to eat so little that she was practically sustained on the Eucharist alone. She was, nevertheless, an inspiration to her sisters in religion and to all who came to visit her, by her patience and joyful disposition despite her great suffering.

One of those who visited her some few months before her death, a relative from her hometown of Roccaporena, was privileged to witness firsthand the extraordinary things wrought by Rita’s requests. When asked whether she had any special desires, Rita asked only for a rose from the garden of her parents’ home. It was a small favor to ask, but an impossible one to grant in the month of January. Nevertheless, on returning home the woman discovered, to her amazement, a single brightly colored blossom on the bush where the nun said it would be. Picking it, she returned immediately to the monastery and presented it to Rita who gave thanks to God for this sign of love. Thus the saint of the thorn became the saint of the rose, and she, whose impossible requests were granted her, became the advocate of all those whose own requests seem impossible. As she breathed her last, Rita’s final words to the sisters who gathered around her were, “Remain in the holy love of Jesus. Remain in obedience to the holy Roman Catholic Church. Remain in peace and fraternal charity.”

Having faithfully and lovingly responded to God’s many invitations to her in the course of her seventy-six years, Rita returned to God in peace on 22 May 1457. Her body, which has remained incorrupt over the centuries, is venerated today in the shrine at Cascia, which bears her name.

The universal Church celebrates her feast on the anniversary of her death, 22 May.

Rotelle, John, Book of Augustinian Saints, Augustinian Press 2000
Stained glass “St. Rita at Prayer” from the St. Rita Shrine in Philidelphia, PA..
Saint Rita Shrine, Philidephia, PA

Blessed Simon Fidati of Cascia

The characteristics of Blessed Simon Fidati’s holiness are love of contemplation, gospel simplicity, and religious obedience.

Simon was born in Cascia, Italy, about the year 1295, and entered the Augustinian Order in his youth. Initially he dedicated himself to blessedsimonfidatiofcasciathe study of the natural sciences, but later gave up this interest to devote all of his energy to purely religious concerns. He became a renowned preacher with a reputation that attracted large crowds wherever he spoke. His words had a powerful effect on the social and public affairs of his day, though personally his preference was always for a life of solitude, prayer, and study. Simon was also a much sought after master of the spiritual life who consequently became a prolific letter writer as well, spending many of his nights engaged in the spiritual guidance of others by correspondence.

His love for simplicity and gospel poverty was evident in his style of life as much as in his preaching and writing. He continually avoided every position of authority both inside and outside the Order, and is known to have severely reprimanded a friend who had been influential in having him nominated for a bishop’s see. He considered religious obedience, however, as the greatest of all virtues, provided that it was not in opposition to the demands of charity.

Simon was also an accomplished theologian and excellent student of sacred scripture. His most important writing, The Works of Our Savior (De Gestis Domini Salvatoris), is, in fact, a life of Christ written almost entirely as a commentary on scriptural passages. His other more popular work, The Order of the Christian Life, is an invitation to a more perfect conformity to Christ, and is considered one of the first writings in the Italian language.

Simon died in Florence during the great plague of 1348, on 2 February 1348. His remains, however, were later transferred to Cascia, where they were originally kept in the church of Saint Augustine. More recently, they have been preserved in the Basilica of Saint Rita, where they are now venerated in a crypt chapel. The Augustinian Family celebrates Blessed Simon’s feast on 16 February.

Rotelle, John, Book of Augustinian Saints, Augustinian Press 2000
The Madonna delle Libere by Pier Paolo Agabiti (1470-1540) depicts Blessed Simon of Cascia (1285-1348) and Saint Rita of Cascia (1381-1457) with Mary and the child Jesus, Monastery of Saint Rita of Cascia, Italy.

Brothers Max, Robert & Philip

Max

Bro. Maxime Villenueve, OSA, earned his Bachelor’s  Degree in Religious Studies at San Diego State University. While there I was very involved in the leadership of the SDSU Newman Center. After graduating he entered the Diocese of San Diego priestly formation program in a year of discernment. During that year he studied philosophy at the University of San Diego and was able to discern that he didn’t fit the independent model of diocesan life. He left the diocesan program and worked for two years as Director of Faith Formation at Blessed Sacrament Church in San Diego. During that time Fr. Mark Menegatti, OSA began inviting him to dinner at the Augustinian Friary at St. Augustine High School where “I felt the warmth and feeling at home of the friars in that community pulling me toward the Augustinians.” Through their guidance he contacted Fr. Tom Whelan, OSA who invited him to a Province of St. Augustine discernment retreat. Within a short time he asked Fr. Tom about entrance into the Province of St. Augustine formation program, telling him what his experiences were telling him.

During the Fall Retreat of 2011 he was accepted as a pre-novitiate candidate and entered the St. Rita of Cascia Augustinian community  in San Francisco, CA. While there he completed his undergraduate philosophy requirements at the University of San Francisco and the University of Steubenville Distance Learning Program. He also volunteered at the San Francisco Food Bank throughout the year and was asked to begin his Novitiate in August of 2013.

“During the summer before my Novitiate I helped Fr. Kirk Davis, OSA, and other members of the province, chaperone students from St. Augustine High School during the 2013 World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with Pope Francis. We also attended Augustinian Youth Encounter (“AYE”), meeting students from around the world with similar ties to the Augustinians.

Now, having lived my year of novitiate, and professing my vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience for one year, I am beginning my study of graduate theology at CTU, living with fellow Augustinian students in the St. Augustine Friary, in Chicago.

Robert

Bro. Robert Baiocco, OSA, is from Batavia, NY, which is near Buffalo, NY. His family moved to Palm Beach Gardens, FL in the 1980’s. Robert speaks of being involved in church activities, social groups, and having a supporting family. After high school he studied hotel management for two years at Palm Beach State College and began a career working in many US cities and several foreign countries. This first career was pursued for approximately seventeen years. During that time Robert speaks of spiritual discoveries and a growing focus on God and where he felt God was calling him to grow. “It was then that I began to surrender to a dominant missionary spirit and desire to serve God that had been developing within me. During this time St. Augustine came into my life. The Confessions of St. Augustine, a book filled with words and feelings, spoke to the deepest reaches of my being.”

During his time of discovering God at work in his life, Robert speaks of working with migrant farm workers in New York, who are confined to rural camp areas. “I gave up the successful life I had been living, moving further away from having possessions to giving to others.” He speaks of meeting Fr. Jim Clifford, OSA where Fr. Jim was pastor of the parish where he had become involved in Southern Oregon. “Fr. Jim suggested that I attend an Augustinian discernment retreat in San Diego. There I discovered the ministries in which the Augustinians of California are involved, especially Hogar Infantil Orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico. I helped there for four months after the retreat and then became involved with the Missionaries of Charity in the Philippines and India. These experiences led me  to discern that I was being guided by the Holy Spirit to investigate joining a religious order. My experience with the Augustinians drew me to enter their Pre-Novitiate community in San Francisco, where daily prayer, and daily Mass, helped me realize I was growing in my response to God, and where God is calling me.”

Bro. Philip Yang, OSA, became acquainted with the Augustinians while studying graduate theology at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago IL as a Maryknoll student. Becoming friends with Augustinian graduate theology students he felt a tug from the Holy Spirit to Philipinquire about the Augustinian Villanova Province. During his novitiate year he felt another tug to request permission to enter the Province of St. Augustine in California, allowing him to live near his parents in the Los Angeles area. During the 2015-2016 school year during the summer, Philip is studying Spanish in a intense course at a language school in Monterey, CA. In the Fall he will be assisting at a Korean/Catholic Church in San Diego, and learning the liturgical formats and customs of Catholic Koreans in the United States.

OSA Saints

Canonized and Beatified Augustinians

Augustinian Mural at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church – Los Angeles, CA.

Blessed Stephen of Bellesini. O.S.A. St. Thomas of Villanova, O.S.A. St. Rita of Cascia, O.S.A. St. Monica Our Mother of Good Counsel St. Augustine St. Clare of Montefalco, O.S.A. St. Nicholas of Tolentine, O.S.A. St. John Stone, O.S.A.

Click on a saint’s image to go to a biography of that saint. In order, left to right, they are:
Bl. Stephen Bellesini, St. Thomas of Villanova, St. Rita of Cascia,
St. Monica, Our Mother of Good Counsel, St. Augustine,
St. Clare of Montefalco, St. Nicholas of Tolentine, and St. John Stone.

Art work created by Isabel Piczek (2008).

Click here for larger images of the mural

Parts of this text with graphics are from the Book of Augustinian Saints,
John Rotelle ᴏsᴀ, editor, Augustinian Press 2000.

Holy Augustinians of recent note:

John McKniff ᴏsᴀ

Bill Atkinson ᴏsᴀ

Augustinian Saints and Blesseds

NameStatusDetailsFeast Day
Fulgentius of RuspeSaintBishop (462-527)01/03
Christine of S. Croce sull'ArnoBlessed01/04
Ugolino of Gualdo CattaneoBlessed(early 13th Century-1260)01/08
Veronica of BinascoBlessed(1445-1497)01/13
Christine of L'AquilaBlessed(1480-1543)01/18
Josephine Mary of Saint AgnesBlessed(1625-1694)01/23
Anthony of AmandolaBlessed(1355-1460)01/29
Stephen BellesiniBlessedPriest (1774-1840)02/03
Angelo FurciBlessed(1246-1327)02/06
Anselm PolancoBlessed(1881-1939)02/07
Christine of SpoletoBlessedAugustinian Laywoman02/13
Julia of CertaldoBlessedSecular (1319-1370)02/15
Simon of CasciaBlessedPriest (1295-1348)02/16
Jerome of RecanatiBlessed(d. 12 March 1350)03/12
Ugolino ZefferiniBlessed(1320-1367)03/22
Mariano de la Mata AparicioBlessed(1905-1983)04/05
Andrew of MonterealeBlessed(1397-1480)04/18
Simon of TodiBlessed(d. 1322)04/20
Helen of UdineBlessedAugustinian Laywoman (1396-1458)04/23
Our Mother of Good Counsel04/26
Marie Catherine of Saint AugustineBlessed(1632-1668)05/08
Our Lady of Grace05/08
Gregory CelliBlessed(1225-1343)05/11
William TirreyBlessedMartyr (1608-1654)05/12
Our Lady of Help05/13
Alypius of ThagasteSaintBishop (late 5th Century)05/16
Possidius of CalamaSaintBishop (late 5th Century)05/16
William of ToulouseBlessed(1297-1369)05/18
Augustine of TaranoBlessed(d.1390)05/19
Clement of OsimoBlessed(d. 1291)05/19
Rita of CasciaSaintReligious (1380-1456)05/22
James of ViterboBlessedBishop (1255-1307)06/04
John of SahagunSaintPriest (1430-1479)06/12
Philip of PiacenzaBlessed(d.1306)06/20
Peter of FriedhofenBlessed(1819-1860)06/23
Peter James of PesaroBlessed(d. 1496)06/25
John and Peter Bechetti of FabrianoBlessed(d. 13th Century)07/02
Magdalene AlbriciBlessedVirgin (1415-1465)07/17
Anthony della TorreBlessed(1427-1494)07/24
Lucy Bufalari of AmeliaBlessed(d. 1350)07/27
John of RietiBlessedReligious (1299-1316)08/02
Clare of the Cross of MontefalcoSaintVirgin (1268-1308)08/17
Ezekiel MorenoSaintBishop (1848-1906)08/19
The Martyrs of GafsaMartyrs08/26
Monica, Mother of AugustineSaint(331-385)08/27
AugustineSaintBishop and Doctor (354-430)08/28
Our Mother of Consolation09/04
Angelo Conti of FolinoBlessed(1256-1312)09/06
Nicholas of TolentineSaintPriest (1250-1305)09/10
Alonso de OrozcoSaintPriest (1500-1591)09/19
The Augustinian Martyrs of JapanMartyr(early 17th Century)09/28
Angelo Scarpetti of San SepolcroBlessed(mid-13th Century)10/03
Sante of CoriBlessedmid-14th Century-139210/05
Anthony PatriziBlessed(early 13th Century)10/09
Thomas of VillanovaSaintBishop and Patron of Studies in the Order (1486-1555)10/10
Elias del Socorro NievesBlessedPriest, Martyr (1882-1928)10/11
Maria Terese FasceBlessedreligious10/12
Gonzalo of LagosBlessedPriest (1360-1422)10/14
Magdalene of NagasakiSaintvirgin, martyr (1611-1634)10/20
William the HermitSaintReligious (12th Century)10/23
John the GoodBlessedReligious10/23
John StoneSaintMartyr ( - 1539)10/25
Peter of GubbioBlessed(d. 1306-1322)10/29
James of CerquetoBlessed(approx. 1284-1367)10/31
Gratia of KotorBlessedReligious (1438-1508)11/07
Frederick of RegensburgBlessedReligious ( - 1329)11/29
Martin of Saint Nicholas and Melchior of Saint AugustineBlessed12/11
Cherubin Testa of AviglianaBlessed12/16

Directory

Province 2015

Photo by Michele Briley

Provincial Office

Very Rev. Kevin C. Mullins ᴏsᴀ
Augustinian Provincialate
3180 University Avenue, Suite 255
San Diego, CA 92104-2045

Telephone: (619) 235-0247
FAX: (619) 231-2814
Email: Provincial Office


Province Council


The members of the current Provincial Council  standing are: Councilor and Province Treasurer Bro. Michael Bube ᴏsᴀ,  Councilor Rev. Michael McFadden ᴏsᴀ, Councilor and Vicar Provincial Rev. Robert Gavotto ᴏsᴀ, and Councilor and Province Secretary Rev. Alvin Paligutan ᴏsᴀ. Seated are: Very Rev. Kevin C. Mullins ᴏsᴀ, Prior Provincial, Most Rev. Alejandro Moral ᴏsᴀ, Prior General of the Order, and Very Rev. Joseph Farrell ᴏsᴀ, Vicar Provincial of the Order.

Photo by Dominic Smith ᴏsᴀ.

 

 


Vocation Director

St. Rita House

Rev. Thomas J.F. Whelan ᴏsᴀ
108 Cole Street
San Francisco, CA 94117-1116

Telephone: (415) 387-3626
Email: Vocation Director

Formation Director

St. Augustine Monastery

Rev. Gary Sanders ᴏsᴀ
3266 Nutmeg Street
San Diego, CA 922104

Telephone: 619-282-2028

Augustinian Guild

3180 University Avenue, Suite 255
San Diego, CA 92104-2045

Telephone (619) 235-0247

 


Communities of the Province


1. Our Mother of Good Counsel Parish

OMGC

2060 North Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027-1919

Telephone: (323) 664-2111
Parish Website

Directions to the Parish


Rev. W. Thomas Davis ᴏsᴀ, Associate Pastor, Procurator, Guest Master
Rev. Mark Menegati ᴏsᴀ, in residence
Rev. James Mott ᴏsᴀ, Administrator
Rev. James Retzner ᴏsᴀ, in residence, Prior, Hospital Chaplain


2. SF-Bay/Southern Oregon Region


All.Souls.Church

All Souls Catholic Church

P.O. Box 810
Myrtle Creek, OR 97457-0116

Telephone: (541) 863-3271
FAX (541) 863-6759

Rev. William Ryan ᴏsᴀ, Pastor

Directions to Parish

Augustinians – St. Rita House

cole.street
108 Cole Street
San Francisco, CA 94117-1116

Telephone 415-831-2595

Rev. Thomas J.F. Whelan ᴏsᴀ, Vocation Director
(415) 387-3626 Email: Vocation Director
Rev. Greg Heidenblut, ᴏsᴀ, resident

Directions to Monastery

 

Rev. James Clifford ᴏsᴀ

Region Superior
P.O. Box 5150
Central Point, OR 97502

Home Telephone: (541) 665-1911
Work Telephone: (541) 732-6840

 


3. St. Augustine Monastery

st.aug.monas
Community Webpage

3266 Nutmeg Street
San Diego, CA 92104-5199

Telephone: (619) 282-2028
FAX (619) 282-2233

Rev. Thomas Behan ᴏsᴀ, de familia
Rev. Ronnie B-Sy Custorio ᴏsᴀ, de familia
Rev. Ray Elam ᴏsᴀ
Rev. Robert W. Gavotto ᴏsᴀ
Danish George, Pre-Novice
Rev. John Grace ᴏsᴀ, Procurator
Bro. Barnaby Rowett-Johns ᴏsᴀ
Emmanuel Isaac, Pre-Novice
Rev. Carlos Medina ᴏsᴀ
Very Rev. Kevin C. Mullins ᴏsᴀ, Provincial
Rev. Harry Neely ᴏsᴀ
Bro. Nick Porter ᴏsᴀ
Rev. Paul Quante ᴏsᴀ
Rev. Gary Sanders ᴏsᴀ Prior, Province Formation Director
Bro. Dominic Smith OSA
Bro. Philip Yang OSA

Directions to Monastery

 

 

St. Augustine High School

saints

Saint Augustine High School Website

3266 Nutmeg Street
San Diego, CA 92104

Telephone: (619) 282-2184
FAX (619) 282-1203

Rev. Kirk Davis ᴏsᴀ
Rev. Bro. Richard Hardick ᴏsᴀ
Mr. Edwin Hearn, President
Mr. James Horne, Principal
Bro. Barnaby Rowett-Johns ᴏsa

Directions to School

 


4. Austin House Community

austinhouse
1605 – 28th Street
San Diego, CA 92102-1417
Telephone: (619) 233-9141

Rev. Kirk Davis ᴏsᴀ, de familia
Rev. Bro. Richard S. Hardick ᴏsᴀ
Rev. John D. Keller ᴏsᴀ, Prior, Province Director of Education
Rev. Michael McFadden ᴏsᴀ de familia
Rev. Gary Rye, ᴏsᴀ

Directions to Monastery

 

St. Patrick’s Church

Parish Website

3585 – 30th Street
San Diego, CA 92104-4196

Telephone: (619) 295-2157
FAX (619) 688-1225

Rev. Kirk Davis ᴏsᴀ, in residence
Rev. Michael McFadden ᴏsᴀ, Pastor
Rev. Carlos Medina ᴏsᴀ, Associate Pastor

Directions to Parish

 


5. St. Thomas of Villanova Community

Bro. Michael Bube ᴏsᴀ, Procurator
Rev. Fernando Lopez Castillo ᴏsᴀ
Rev. Alvin Paligutan ᴏsᴀ, Prior
Rev. Thomas Verber ᴏsᴀ

 

St. Thomas Aquinas Church

St.Thomas.Ojai

Parish Website

185 St. Thomas Drive
Ojai, CA 93023-2399

Telephone: (805) 646-4338
FAX (805) 646-5928

Rev. Thomas Verber ᴏsᴀ, Pastor
Rev. Fernando Lopez Castillo ᴏsᴀ, Associate Pastor

Directions to Parish

 

Villanova Preparatory School

VPS View

Villanova Prep Website

12096 Ventura Drive
Ojai, CA 93023-3999

Telephone: (805) 646-1464, (805) 656-2272
FAX (805) 646-4430

Bro. Michael Bube ᴏsᴀ
Nancy O’Sullivan, Headmaster
Rev. Alvin Paligutan ᴏsᴀ

Directions to School

 


Additional Addresses

 

Augustinian Novitiate

ca-novices
4339 Douglas Avenue
Racine, WI 53402-2956
262-681-3221

Novice Mauricio Morales
Novice Arturo Renteria

 Directions to Parish/Novitiate

 

 

St. Augustine Friary

2016friary
5413 S.Cornell Ave.
Chicago, IL 60615
(772) 358-6500

Bro. Robert Baiocco ᴏsᴀ
Bro. Sarfraz Alam ᴏsᴀ
Bro. Adnan Ghani ᴏsᴀ
Bro. Maxime Villeneuve ᴏsᴀ

Directions to the Monastery

 


Hogar Infantil La Gloria

orphan_pix
San Antonio de los Buenos
Baja California, MEXICO
Telephone 011-526-636-1110
Hogar Infantil Website

Mailing Address:
Hogar Infantil, Inc.
c/o The Augustinians
1605 – 28th Street
San Diego, CA 92102