Roccaporena, birthplace
of St. Rita

Roccaporena

The places

The House where St. Rita was born

The acts of the beatification process do not furnish specific details concerning the house where Rita was born. The first to mention the «House where the Blessed was born» was Father Nicola Simonetti from Maltignano, one of the first biographers of the Saint.

The Family House

Rita moved here after her matrimony to Paolo Mancini and she lived here until the day she was allowed to receive the habit in the Order of St. Augustine. Inside there is the famous painting that depicts Rita at the moment when she receives the thorn; it dates back to the middle of the seventeenth century and was commissioned to the painter Luca Giordano by Cardinal Fausto Poli of Usigni.

The Lazzaretto

The Lazzaretto, also known as the old Hospital, during the time of the Saint was placed under the protection of Our Lady of the Conception. The foreigners who passed through the village could find hospitality. According to an ancient tradition, Rita often came here to assist the sick.

The church of St. Montano

The church of St. Montano, XII century, had a very important role during the thirty-six years that Rita Lotti lived in Roccaporena: here she received her religious education, she participated at the Mass and other celebrations, and she got married to Paolo Mancini. The tradition says that St. Montano came to Roccaporena from the faraway land of Licia (Asia Minor) to preach the Gospel. He died in Roccaporena in a fame of sanctity; the people proclaimed him their protector and named the parish church after him.

The Garden of the miracle

The Garden of the miracle is linked to the last days of Rita’s earthly life, portrayed in the bronze sculpture by Rodolfo Maleci made in 1941. The statue represents the Saint gravely ill with her cousin. She listens the feeble voice whisper her last desire: «Bring me a rose and two figs from my little garden in Roccaporena »! In January it is not possible to find a rose blossoming and two figs. The cousin, going into the Garden, really finds what Rita had desired. A writing from the 1600’s mentions the event.

The Rock of prayer

The “ Rock ” of Roccaporena is 827 meters high. It is the “secret ” of Rita: a life like all others yet capable of elevating herself, an existence marked by hardships yet capable of blossoming like a perfumed rose and of producing very sweet fruits. Today the “Rock” is the symbol of St. Rita’s spirituality in Roccaporena. The chapel on top dates back to 1919; it was renovated in 1941 and in 1979 completely reconstructed after a violent earthquake of that same year.

The Sanctuary

Designed by architect Oreste Della Piana, it was consecrated and opened to the faithful in 1948. Within the square before the façade there is a statue of St. Rita dressed as a peasant woman, made by the sculptor Venanzo Crocetti (1968). Inside the Shrine one can see the mantle of the Saint. The mosaic of the apse represents: the Crucified Lord, the Sorrowful Mother, St. Augustine, St. Nicholas of Tolentino, St. Rita, St. John the Baptist and St. Montano.