Published: 28 May 2018
On Saturday 26 May 2018 the annual blessing and distribution of roses took place at the Augustinian Spirituality Centre dedicated to St Rita in Incheon, South Korea.
This was the Saturday after the feat day of St Rita on 22 May. It is now over twenty years since this ritual was inaugurated before the time of the Centre and previously in the community chapel in Cheon Dong, Incheon.
After the development of the Order’s central House in early 1990’s each Saturday Mass has been allocated as a day of devotion to one of the Augustinian saints, St Augustine’s Mass for students, St Monica’s Mass for conversion and those who have strayed from the faith, St Rita’s Mass for families, and St Nicholas’ Mass for the faithful departed.
These regular monthly Mass Guild liturgies have been attended by local Catholics and those from even farther afield. The construction of the Spirituality Centre in 2005 allowed for more space and enabled accommodation of more of the faithful. The Mass of St Rita celebrated on 26 May 2018 attracted over 150 people who remained after the liturgy for the blessing and distribution of roles beside the statue of St Rita in the courtyard. The faithful are invited to take the blessed roses to the sick and homebound. Printed prayer cards with prayers and a novena to St Rita are also available.
The custom is adapted from the ceremony conducted each year in the major shrine of St Rita in Cascia. Korean lay supporters have also undertaken pilgrimages to Cascia in Italy and participated in the annual event in that Umbrian town. Some years ag Fr John Sullivan OSA also reported and sent photos of the Korean event to the contemplative sisters of Cascia for publication in their magazine.
Devotion to St Rita, knowledge of her life in the fourteenth century, and the taking of that Christian name are not common in Korea; even so, the universal witness of her appeal as a woman who lived in the three states of life, marriage, widowhood and religious life, also resounds in the Korean faith culture.
The multipurpose hall of the spirituality centre is decorated with wall painting of the Augustinian saints and the upper windows of the building are adorned with symbols of St Rita, a rose, a bee, a dove bearing an olive branch, and a grape vine.
For details on the life of St Rita, go to the following web pages:
Augnet (Augustinian reference site):
The website of the St Rita of Cascia Shrine in Italy: