Spain - Monachil

The Art of Devotion in Monachil.

In Spain, there are many places where devotion to St. Rita is flourishing. The place where it may be present the most is Monachil, a town near Granada at the foot of the natural park of the Sierra Nevada.  Here there is a convent of Augustinian Recollects (a mendicant order of Spanish origin, Ed.), with the Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel, where a beautiful image of St. Rita is found, the work of José Navas Pejos, a sculptor from the Granada school. The faithful who attended the convent church soon developed a great devotion which gradually spread to the surrounding area.  Today, busloads of faithful from all over Spain arrive at the Monachil convent!

The review “Saint Rita and the Christian people” is published here which began in 1905.  It is distributed throughout Spain with a circulation of almost 19,000 copies.  Many send their letters to the editorial staff and tell about their sufferings or ask for prayers or give thanks with immense joy for obtaining what they hoped for from the Saint.  It seems that among the reviews of popular devotion this one has the widest circulation in Spain.

It is not hard to imagine that May 22nd is a feast day that enjoys extraordinary participation.  Many buses filled with faithful from the different Spanish regions make an appointment in Monachil, faithful full of devotion who go to the Saint to present their needs to her.  An overflowing crowd, which is never lacking throughout the day, fills the church where the friars celebrate the Eucharist every hour followed by the blessing of the roses.

In Monachil, more than 5,000 people come to the appointment. The feast reaches its climax in the evening with the solemn Mass.  This takes place in a tent made available by the city because the church of the Augustinian Recollects cannot hold the immense assembly.  Many devotees with tears in their eyes pray to St. Rita. 

Afterward, the procession winds through the streets of Monachil. This is one of the most moving moments of the entire day.  While the accompaniment of the municipal band resounds, Rita's image carried on some devotees' shoulders passes through the streets of the town surrounded by her devotees who with great joy and devotion sing and praise their patron saint.  Precisely because of this great devotion to Rita, the city of Monachil is in twinship with Cascia.  May St. Rita bless us! (by Fr. Iván Merino Padial)


Testimony also published in No. 2-2011 of From the Bees to the Roses.