She was married at 12 (yes, 12!) to an awful man who was eventually killed.
Her two sons planned to avenge their father’s murder, but Rita knew that murder was wrong, so she prayed for her sons to die instead. They did.
While praying to suffer like Jesus, a thorn from a crucifixion figure fell from the crown of thorns and left a deep wound in her forehead. This wound never healed.
Originally she was wanted to enter the monastery, but she was denied because of her husband’s deserved reputation. She was transported into the convent (though locked doors) by her three patron saints, including John the Baptist. At that point she was allowed to stay.
The church itself is simple and lovely. I was particularly impressed with the steeple and the mural over the entry door. The address is 1403 South Ainsworth, Tacoma. The building was constructed in 1922 and is on the historic register.
The website Places of Worship states “A number of Jesuit parishes began as ministries to distinct ethnic communities. A good example is St. Rita of Cascia in Tacoma, Washington. Founded in 1922 to serve specifically the area’s Italian immigrants, it became a geographical parish in 1979. While the congregation is still predominantly Italian-American, it has welcomed a number of Vietnamese families. With 283 registered households, affording a real chance for members of the community to get to know one another, St. Rita has a genuine sense of a family.” http://www.companymagazine.org/v222/placesofworship.htm
The website includes more information about services and mission. http://www.stritatacoma.org/index.php
Note: The picture of Rita is not from the church.