May 22nd is the feast of St. Rita of Cascia, the patron saint for hopeless causes … and the patron saint of baseball, thanks to the Disney movie, The Rookie.

In the 1920s, a community of religious women in west Texas invested in an oil well that didn’t produce. Unable to get their money back, their bishop advised them to pray to St. Rita, the patron saint for hopeless cases. The sisters did, the oil well began to gush, and they got their money back … and more.

While the workers waited for that well to produce, they built a ballfield nearby and played baseball to pass the time. When St. Rita answered the sisters’ prayers, the ballplayers soon began to wear St. Rita medals whenever they played. The incident was featured in The Rookie.

St. Rita was born in Italy in 1386 to older parents known for they charity. As a little girl, she dreamed of entering the Augustinian convent in Cascia. But her parents wanted her to marry, and promised their 12 year-old daughter in marriage to the local town watchman. Although her husband was abusive and unfaithful, Rita stayed married to him for 18 years, and the couple had twin sons. When her husband was murdered, she tried to prevent her sons from avenging his death. Through her prayers, her sons learned to forgive their father’s killers.

Rita eventually entered the Augustinian convent at Cascia. She died of tuberculosis on May 22, 1457. She was canonized on May 24, 1900.

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.