Anne's Blog

Santa Rita’s Red Roses – Always

Date: May 23, 2020 - categories: , , , , , , - Leave your thoughts

On May 22nd, the feast of the beloved 15th-c. Umbrian saint, Santa Rita di Cascia, I always take red roses to our farm neighbor Rita to celebrate her onomastico (“name day”). Rita had her roses this year, too:

In Cascia on May 22nd for la Festa di Santa Rita, a few years ago, everything was “coming up roses” – as I had written on my blog.

I thought about the people of Cascia this May 22nd and their passsione for their beloved Saint, evidenced in the Festa di Santa Rita pageantry and religious ceremonies:

COVID-19 has annulled that Cascia pageantry in 2020, though I know that red roses were given to many a “Rita” all over Italy on May 22nd.

The day before la festa di Santa Rita, I thought about the past Cascia splendor as I picked our red roses for Rita….

….and set them in a vase on our table for the evening:

On the Festa morning, I picked additional roses,….

…deciding I’d take them to the Augustinian convent in Spello where locals leave the Saint roses on her day (and where one can also take home one or two of the blessed roses).

After my stop at Rita’s,…

…I headed to Spello.

Red roses filled the roundabout near the highways exit – as if planned for May 22nd:

I passed other roses – pink ones – that blended in with Spello’s pink limestone medieval city hall on the town’s main piazza, forlornly empty.

I’d called the Augustinian sisters for chapel opening hours and they’d assured me it would be open all day on May 22nd.

The chapel was closed – but the heavy wooden door leading to the nuns’ convent, il Monastero Santa Maria Maddalena, opened when I pushed on it..

Just inside the entrance was a 15th-c fresco of a Crucifixion. I left my bouquet of roses at the foot of the cross, quite sure that the bouquet would eventually end up in the chapel near the Santa Rita statue.

I looked back as I left: Mary Magdalene seemed to be gazing at the red roses in startled surprise.

Now “on the Saint Rita trail,” I headed back to Assisi for a quick stop in the Assisi Baroque church with her image, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva.

And May 22nd, 2020 was certainly “coming up roses” for me: all the way back to Assisi from Spello, I noticed their splendor, stopping for photographs now and then:

Roses greeted me just outside Assisi’s medieval arch, Porta Nuova….

….and added swatches of color to the medieval buildings of local limestone:

The main square, Piazza del Comune, was hauntingly empty, the 14th century bell tower rising like a solemn, silent sentinel.

The 1st-c. B.C. Roman Temple to Minerva flanking the bellower is now a Baroque church, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

I climbed the steps to enter, stopping to read the COVID-19 poster with red heading affixed to the entryway: admission to only two persons at a time in this church.

I entered into the Baroque splendor. Empty. A bottle of sanitizing gel sat on the wooden offerings box.

The statue of St. Rita was in a niche near the gel, lit candles and vases of roses at her feet.

Prayer cards were near the roses at her feet: I took one home for Rita.

Hopefully, on May 22, 2021, when I bring Rita her red roses, she’ll be about to leave for Cascia for the glorious Festa di Santa Rita.….

Click here for more on Santa Rita di Cascia

Read about la Festa di Santa Rita di Cascia

Read about an Assisi COVID-19 springtime

Click here to read about – and see!- our Easter Monday picnic during lockdown

Read about seeking floral splendor during lockdown

Read about Assisi’s superb medieval festival, Calendimaggio, cancelled due to COVID-19

Click here for the recipe for a tasty pasta dish – and ours on Good Friday during COVID-19

Read about a floral tribute to Gubbio and their May 15th festival, Corsa dei Ceri – during lockdown

Read about a “lockdown liberation” for April 25thla Festa della Repubblica (and so very linked to Gubbio, as well)

Read about newborn goats as a coronavirus diversion

Read here about culling the wool of our cashmere goats – a perfect coronavirus distraction

Read here about Pino’s goat cheese

Click here to read about – and see! – a favorite Orvieto eating spot (to ward off CPA)

Read about – and see! – Assisi during coronavirus lockdown

Read about a Pino feast on March 8th as coronavirus distraction 

Click here to read about – and see!- our Easter Monday picnic during lockdown

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