Famous as the patron of hopeless situations, St. Rita of Cascia is immortalized in this wonderful, deeply moving film about this beautiful woman who lived in Italy in the 14th century. Starring Vittoria Belvedere and Martin Crewes, this powerful story combines high drama, great love, deep betrayal, senseless tragedy, profound forgiveness and strong faith as it tells the story of this brave and loyal woman who married her knight, helped him overcome his dark past and convert to faith, happily bore him two childern, and later endures immense pain as she loses everything in her life. She finds peace and new hope through generosity of a nearby convent of sisters, and with their help she develops a deep union with Christ that greatly inspires all who near her.
St. Rita was born at Roccaporena near Spoleto, Umbria, Italy. She married at age 12 to Paolo Mancini. Her parents arranged her marriage, despite the fact that she repeatedly begged them to allow her to enter a convent. Mancini was a rich, quick-tempered, immoral man, who made many enemies in the region. St. Rita endured his insults, abuse, and infidelities for 18 years, and bore two sons with Mancini, Giangiacomo Antonio and Paolo Maria. Although she tried to raise them with Catholic values, her sons were unholy for most of their lives.
Toward the end of her husband's life, St. Rita helped convert him to live in a more pious manner. Although Mancini became more congenial, his allies betrayed him, and he was violently stabbed to death. Before his death, he repented to St. Rita and the Church, and she forgave him for his transgressions against her.
After Mancini's murder, her sons wished to exact revenge on their father's murderers. Knowing murder was wrong, she tried to persuade them from retaliating, but to no avail. She, instead, prayed to God for Him to take away the lives of her sons instead of seeing them commit such a terrible sin. In religious history, God heard St. Rita's words and her sons died of natural causes a year later.
After the deaths of her husband and sons, St. Rita desired to enter the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene at Cascia but was spurned for being a widow, as virginity was required for entry into the convent. However, she persisted in her cause and was given a condition before the convent could accept her; the difficult task of reconciling her family with her husband's murderers. She was able to resolve the conflicts between the families and, at the age of 36, was allowed to enter the monastery.
However, her actual entrance into the monastery has been described as a miracle. During the night, when the doors to the monastery were locked and the sisters were asleep, St. Rita was miraculously transported into the convent by her patron saints Saint John the Baptist, Saint Augustine, and Saint Nicholas of Tolentino. When she was found inside the convent in the morning and the sisters learned of how she entered, they could not turn her away.
She remained at the monastery, living by the Augustinian Rule, until her death.