Spirituality for Today – Apirl 2008 – Volume 12, Issue 9

Saint of the Month

St. Zita – April 27

Zita was born around 1218 in a small village in the northern part of Italy. She came from a poor family and was probably illiterate. When she turned 12, her family sent her out to work. She found a job as a servant in the house of the Fatinelli family, wealthy textile manufacturers who lived in the nearby city of Lucca. She acquired a reputation for her sensitivity and compassion, especially for the poor. At first, her fellow servants were unkind to her because they thought her piety false. But her steadfastness and good cheer led them to see that she was sincere, and she became much admired.

Zita was eventually placed in charge of the Fatinelli household. She was so generous that she often gave away bread and other food from the family larder.

Several miracles were reported involving her generosity to the poor. In one account, the household food pantry was miraculously replenished after she had doled out much of it to beggars. In another, her master's fur coat reappeared after she had given it to a poor person in winter.

Zita not only gave to the poor, she also cared for prisoners and the sick in Lucca. She was a hard worker who accepted her position in life without bitterness. After her death in 1278, her body was moved to San Frediano Church in Lucca, where it remains to this day.

Her cult spread across Europe, and she was especially venerated in England under the name Sitha during the Middle Ages.

Hear us, Lord, Holy Father,
almighty and eternal God;
and graciously send Your holy angel
from heaven to watch over,
to cherish, to protect, to abide with,
and to defend all who dwell in this house.
Through Christ our Lord.

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives