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Zita, St.


Virgin; b. Monsagrati, near Lucca, Italy, 1218; d. Lucca, April 27, 1278. At 12 Zita, reared religiously by poor, devout parents, entered the service of the Fatinelli family of Lucca, where she remained until her death. She performed her duties faithfully, and in addition rose at night for prayer, daily attended early Mass, fasted often, and distributed her portion of food to the poor. Although mistreated by her fellow servants, she at length overcame their envy by her humility and charity and became a friend and adviser of the whole family. She was buried in the church of San Frediano at Lucca. About May 1278 public veneration to Zita was authorized by the bishop of Lucca. Her coffin, opened in 1446, 1581, and 1652, revealed her body intact. Innocent XII confirmed her cult Sept. 5, 1696. She was declared patroness of domestic workers Sept. 26, 1953.

Feast: April 27.

Bibliography: Acta Sanctorum (Paris 1863) 3:502532. benedict xiv, De servorum Dei beatificatione et beatorum canonizatione, v.17 of Opera omnia, 17 v. in 20 (Prato 183947) bk. 2, ch. 24, sec. 25. h. delehaye et al., eds., Propylaeum ad Acta Sanctorum Decembris (Brussels 1940) 158159. j. l. baudot and l. chaussin, Vies des saints et des bienheureux selon l'ordre du calendrier avec l'historique des fêtes, ed. by the Benedictines of Paris, (Paris 193556) 4:675679. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, rev. ed. h. thurston and d. attwater (New York 1956) 2:173174. e. reggio, A Saint in the Kitchen; A Story of Saint Zita (Notre Dame, Ind. 1955).

[m. g. mcneil]

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