Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ma and St. Rita by Margaret Ullrich

Okay... mind wandering time again.
I'm over 60.  It happens.

A lot of Malta's special recipes are tied to our holy days.
That's HOLY days, not holidays.
Ma's Dead Man's Bones recipe was traditional for All Souls' Day.
November 2, All Soul's Day, a holy day when we remember our dead.

On All Soul's Day we remember our not quite hallowed friends and family.
Catholics are big on the 'helping others' way.
Remember the Kennedys and the Peace Corps?
Our 'All Souls' are dead, so duh, they need our help.
What goes around, comes around.
When we need a hand, we ask the Halloweds for some help.

We Catholics spend quite a bit of time talking to dead folks.
We're not morbid.
We just like to keep in touch.

Some Saints have gotten a huge reputation for being great at helping.
Hey, miracles happen.
When I was born, there were complications.
The doctors told my parents to prepare for the worst.
They did.
And, wallah, I survived, and was christened Margherita.
Did you catch the RITA bit at the end?

Ma had absolute faith that her prayers would be answered.
How do I know?
She prayed to St. Rita.
St. Rita was a nice Italian girl.
Since Ma knew I'd survive, she wanted me to have a nice Mediterranean name.
Something that would go with Sultana.

For problems that didn't involve names for her children, Ma turned to St. Jude.
St. Jude is huge in Catholic circles as a mega star at helping.
There's a prayer to St. Jude which, according to our prayer books, is said:
when problems arise or when one seems to be deprived of all visible help, 
or for cases almost despaired of. 
Don't take my word for it.
Danny Thomas prayed to St. Jude when he feared his career was going nowhere.
Danny also made a promise.
Opportunites opened up for Danny Thomas.
In gratitude, Danny, with Dr. Diggs, founded St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
St. Jude hospital was founded on the premise that "no child should die in the 
dawn of life".

St. Jude helped Danny.
Danny helped kids.

Like I said, Catholics are big on the 'helping others' way.


  1. Love this post, Marg. It shows how our spirit, determination and faith can really affect outcomes.

    And I love your exotic name! Margherita Sultana. Makes me think of a drink made from raisins! Is there such a thing?

    May your giving spirit never diminish. You are truly a gem. So glad that St. Rita answered your mother's prayers.

  2. Hi, Doreen. Yes, Faith can move mountains. But, as the saying goes, "Pray as if everything depends on God. Work as if everything depends on you."

    As I mentioned in my next post
    We were also taught
    Miracles do happen, but sometimes, well, there is that line
    "if it is God's desire for us"
    If it isn't, strength to bear the problem is a blessing, too.

    The problem may be part of a bigger picture we can't see.
    It may lead to a greater good than we can imagine.
    It may even be a blessing in disguise.
    How many times have we said, "Who knew?"

    Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad St. Rita answered Ma's prayers, too.

    A drink made from raisins... Well, yes there is. Just don't let the grapes dry out. Press and process them to make wine!


All comments are moderated. Spam will not be posted.