The Flight

Rita, left alone after the death of her husband Paolo and her two sons, knocks on the door of the Augustinians of St. Mary Magdalene, asking the Abbess to be able to enter their monastery. But she is turned away on several occasions, perhaps because one of the nuns is a relative of her husband and is called Sister Caterina Mancini (according to a deed of 1445).

Welcoming the widow Rita Mancini into their midst might cause difficulties in the monastery. According to the biography of Rita by Pietro Cavallucci in 1628, it is at this point that help comes from her patron saints: St. John the Baptist, Saint Augustine and Blessed Nicholas of Tolentino (who will be canonised in 1446).

The year is 1417. Tradition has it that, gathered in prayer, Rita suddenly heard herself being called: "Come Rita, my dear, it is time that you realise your desire to enter the Holy Order (that is, the Augustinian Order), in the monastery from which you have been driven away many times". The voice is that of St. John the Baptist, indicating that she should follow him to the Rock of Roccaporena. There, all three of her beloved protectors appear. Together, they lead her in flight right into the monastery, into the oratory where the nuns would be going at dawn to sing the praises of the Lord.

This story probably indicates the fervent prayer of Rita who, by entrusting herself to the intercession of her three patron saints, is finally able to obtain permission from the Abbess to join the monastery. In this way, Rita becomes a nun.

back