The Thorn

Stigmata are the sign of a true love that gives life freely and completely for friends and enemies, for neighbours and those far away. “As it was in Christ, the supreme model, so it was in Rita. She suffered and loved: she loved God as well as men; she suffered because of God’s love and suffered because of the men” (John Paul II).

The epitaph on the solemn case: XV years suffered the thorn.After having gone through grief over the death of her loved ones, inside the walls of the Monastery, Rita raises her pain to the suffering of Christ for humanity: as a token of love, she asks and obtains from the Beloved to share even more in His suffering.

The year is 1432. One day while at prayer, perhaps mindful of the preaching on the Passion of Christ by Friar James of the Marches in 1425 in the church of Saint Mary and, more importantly, trained in Augustinian spirituality centred on Christ’s love for humanity (which finds its highest form of expression in the Passion), she asks the Lord to make her part of his sufferings. We do not know what happened in that moment, a light, a flash, a thorn detached from the Crucifix penetrates her forehead and soul.