After the First World War, while the devotion to St. Rita began to spread throughout the world, Roccaporena began to see the necessity to build a road, that would welcome pilgrims and would renew the charity of that woman through beginning a Society that would carry her name. In 1939 the then Bishop of Norcia, Msgr. Settimio Peroni, began the Society of St. Rita with the aim of promoting the devotion to the saint, to take care of and make known the memories of her in Roccaporena, to do charitable works following her example by beginning an orphanage (today’s Education Center) for boys who are poor and those with difficult family situations. These goals were shared by a volunteer group of people and among these we must remember the parish priest of Roccaporena, Fr. Giacomo Antonelli, and Hon. Prof. Gerardo Bruni from Cascia who dedicated his service to the society and his journalist experience by beginning the bulletin “From the Rock of St. Rita”, today called “The Rock of Roccaporena”. It is truly amazing the work that was done during the 1940’s: notwithstanding the wars, all of the shrines and memorable places of St. Rita were completely renovated, a new sanctuary was built (1946), plus the first nucleus of the orphanage (1947) by welcoming the first 12 boys. Since then up until now more than 1500 boys have been housed and educated in Roccaporena. In 1950 the road that connects Roccaporena to Cascia was finally inaugurated measuring around 5 km. The road has permitted that evermore pilgrims and visitors come starting from the year 1950, holy year, and the 50th anniversary of the canonization of St. Rita. During the following years other important tasks were brought to completion such as the orphanage, the House of pilgrims (present day Hotel Roccaporena), the house for elderly priests. Next to this corporal charity are the spiritual works of the education of the young boys, of welcoming the visitors, of sharing the spiritual experience of the Saint. In order to fulfill this aim better, a convention hall was built, with a large auditorium, which offers, to those who desire, the possibility to study and to reflect in a place with many possibilities, immersed in a wonderful landscape and in the company of Rita, humble woman of the people and a reference point for an incredible number of people.
Roccaporena, the Society begun
in the name of Rita