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April 27

Saint Zita - April 27

Saint Zita

Layperson

(1212 – 1272)

“A servant is not pious if she is not industrious.

Saint Zita

Saint’s Life Story

Her Early Life

Zita was born in Tuscany in the village of Monsagrati, not far from Lucca, Italy. She was reared in a poor, devout Catholic family and was a joyful person. Her elder sister became a Cistercian nun and her uncle Graziano was a hermit whom the local people regarded as a saint. 

Live as a Servant

Zita was only 12 years old when she went to work as a servant for the Fatinellis, a family of well-to-do wool merchants in Lucca, Italy. She found time every day to attend Mass at the Church of St. Frediano and recite her many prayers, as well as carry out her household duties so punctiliously that she earned the resentment of other servants. She was not interested in pleasing man, but God; and by serving God, she naturally would be serving others in humility. She maintained her joyful character even when mistreated by her fellow workers and sometimes her employers as well.

At first, her employers were upset with her lavish gifts of food to the poor.  With the passage of the years, Zita’s fellow servants and the Fatinellis came to realize that she was not a hypocrite or a cheat, but a genuine saint. They were completely won over by Zita’s patience and goodness. The family made her in charge of the house, entrusted with its keys and eventually governess of the Fatinelli children.

Stories of Kindness

There is a story of Zita giving her own food or that of her master to the poor. On one morning, Zita left her chore of baking bread to tend to someone in need.  Some of the other servants ensured the Fatinelli family was aware of what happened; when they went to investigate, they claimed to have found angels in the Fatinelli kitchen, baking the bread for her.

Another recorded event was just as dramatic, if not more so. On Christmas Eve, Zita had given away a prized and treasured family cloak to a shivering man at the doorway of St. Fredaino, the local church. While the elder Fatinelli was in the midst of a fit of fury, an elderly man came to the door and returned the heirloom. When townsfolk heard of the event, they decided that the man must have been an angel. From that point on, the doorway of the St. Fredaino church in Lucca has been called the “Angel Portal”.

Zita ended up staying with the Fatinelli family for forty-eight years. She became like a member of the family to them. Her employers even allowed her to share food from their household with those who were poverty stricken. Zita not only helped the poor but also visited the sick and those in prison, giving all hope and spreading the gospel message. She became well known in the Lucca area for all her works of charity and her joyful nature. It is said that she also had heavenly visions.

Her Death

Zita died peacefully in the Fatinelli house on April 27, 1272. Numerous miracles were reported to have taken place by her intercession. Her body was exhumed in 1580, discovered to be incorrupt   St Zita’s body is currently on display for public veneration in the Basilica di San Frediano in Lucca. In 1748, Pope Benedict XIV added her name to the Roman Martyrology. To this day, families bake a loaf of bread in celebration of St. Zita’s feast day.  

Beatified:          1652 by Pope Innocent X

Canonized:        September 5, 1696 by Pope Innocent XII

Feast Day:          April 27

Patron Saint:     Domestic Servants, Household Chores, Lost Keys, Maids

Sources:

Reflection

Most of our lives are not filled with activities like starting a new Catholic religious order or going off as a missionary to proclaim the Good News as some saints you have read about. Instead, we are faced with daily chores like cleaning the house or cooking dinner which at face value do not seem like saintly tasks. Saint Zita shows us through her life as “lowly” household servant, doing similar tasks that you or I do every day, that you can be an example of Christ on Earth in the humble and patience way we interact with others. No task is too small to offer up to God to fulfill his will.

Prayers

Lord God, you showered heavenly gifts on Saint Zita as she completed her daily household tasks while also serving the poor and the sick. Help us to imitate Saint Zita’s virtues during our earthly life in our daily household tasks and enjoy eternal happiness with her in heaven.

Saint Zita, pray for us. Amen. 

Saint Links 

All Saints & Martyrs – All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Zita of Lucca

Anastpaul – Saint of the Day – 27 April – St Zita of Lucca

Angelus News – Saint of the day: Zita of Lucca

Catholic Culture – St. Zita

Catholic Fire – St. Zita of Lucca

Catholic Ireland – April 27 – St Zita (1212-72)

Catholic News Agency – St. Zita

CatholicSaints.info – Saint Zita of Lucca

Independent Catholic News – St. Zita

Saint Mary Press – Saint Zita (1212-1272)

Saint of the Day – St. Zita

uCatholic – Catholic Saint of the Day – Saint Zita

Wikipedia – Zita

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