25 May 2017
St. Rita’s Retreat & Conference Centre
Ottery Moor Lane, Honiton, Devon EX14 1AP
Tel: 01404 42635.
St. Rita’s Day 2017.
Dear Friends of St. Rita,
We have just had a wonderful celebration of the Life of St. Rita on her feast day. Bishop Mark O’Toole, Bishop of Plymouth was the main celebrant at Mass. He was ably assisted by Fr. Gerald Wilson O.A.R. Prior of St Rita’s, Honiton, several members of the Order of Augustinian Recollects and priests from the Diocese of Plymouth.
The 1,500 roses of every colour that you can imagine were beautifully arranged by an amazing team of very talented flower arrangers, filling the marquee in which the Mass was celebrated, with a wonderful scent of roses. It reminded me of the description in the story of St. Rita when she died: ‘her room was filled with the scent of roses’.
In addition to the roses, a local Catholic Primary School filled the marquee with the sound of angels as they sang, Here at This Table, during the distribution of Holy Communion. It was wonderful to see the joy on the faces of the children as they sang conveying to all of us the reason for our Mass – to celebrate joyfully the feast day of a remarkable woman; a saint for our time.
As well as the 300 plus people who came to Honiton to join our celebration, many more were able to join us live on YouTube. The Mass and a video are available to watch on You Tube if you have access to a computer, tablet or android phone.
This year we have compiled a book of letters from people stating how St. Rita has helped them with their seemingly hopeless situation. It is interesting to read and humbling to realise just how many people St. Rita is still helping 570 years after her death. Our Book of Prayer is very popular, don’t forget if you need prayers we can add your name to the book; you will be prayed for everyday at St. Rita’s Shrine.
A small army of volunteers come to St. Rita’s Centre every year to help us prepare for the feast day and to help us on the day. This year some members of the Knights of St. Columba came to help; we are very grateful to them for their contribution.
In June 2016 we travelled to Cascia in Italy to visit the places known to St. Rita. How sad we were to hear of the earthquakes in the Umbria Region of Italy and the destruction of so many buildings. The Nuns from St. Rita’s Convent reported last November: ‘We are all fine and, thanks be to God, the earthquake did not claim any victims, we have now had to make difficult decisions given the fact that our community is also comprised of very elderly nuns with health problems. To protect and care for our sisters in difficulty, this morning we decided to move a good part of the community to another monastery outside Umbria, which offered us welcome and will host us in the coming days. Despite this very difficult decision for us, in order to continue to ensure comfort and support to all those who are in need, several of us will remain here in Cascia.’
We will keep all of them in our prayers.
Administrator, St Rita’s Centre, Honiton