Photo by Alan M. Dumoff
Parishioners of St. Rita Parish, Bellmawr, walk in procession with a statue of St. Rita on May 22, the saint’s feast day. St. Rita was born in 1381 in a small town near Cascia, Italy. She was an only child and told her parents she wanted to be a nun. Instead, a marriage was arranged for her, and she became the mother of two boys. Following the death of her husband and sons, Rita gave herself to works of charity and to a more intense life of prayer. She asked to join an Augustinian convent in Cascia but was refused three times before being permitted to join. For the next 40 years Rita lived the life of an Augustinian nun. St. Rita was canonized in 1900. St. Rita Parish was formed last year from the merger of Mary, Mother of the Church, Bellmawr; St. Francis de Sales, Barrington; and St. Gregory, Magnolia.