The Bees

Most ancient tradition connects the bees to the first miracle attributed to Rita in life: the healing of a farmer.

On the fifth day after her birth, while the little Rita was sleeping in her crib in the garden of the family home, bees begin to enter and come out of her mouth, without stinging her.
A farmer, harvesting in a field nearby, cuts his hand deeply with his scythe. The man begins to lose a lot of blood and stops working immediately to seek help. Passing by the little Rita, he notices the bees buzzing around her face and makes a gesture with his hand to chase them away. Pulling back his hand, he realises with astonishment that he has been healed.

This is a simple popular belief, full of symbology. In particular, the choice of the bees is linked to the need to communicate the importance of the figure of Rita from a very early age. There is a sacredness in honey, which has ancient roots. The mediaeval Church used bees as a symbol to represent the social hard work, diligence and efficiency typical of these insects. In one of the first sermons on the virtues of bees, St. Ambrose (bishop of Milan from 374 to 397) proposed them to the faithful as a life style.

The hardworking insects that symbolise Saint Rita inspired Blessed Mother Fasce when she gave the name to the Beehive of Saint Rita the project to support children in need (Little Bees and Wildflowers).
The name of the monastery’s magazine, From the Bees to the Roses, is also a tribute to the symbology of Rita.