The temple of Our White Lady of Marcilla welcomes faithful from the middle Navarre to celebrate Saint Rita.
After the pandemic, Saint Rita has not lost her convening power in Marcilla (Navarra) and in the nearby municipalities of this area on the middle bank of the Ebro. The convent of the Augustinian Recollects has been the center of irradiation of devotion to the Saint of Casia for almost a century.
Around the 30’s of the 20th century, a triduum began to be celebrated that became a novena and that, year after year, it has summoned thousands of devotees from the region until the pandemic cut off root displacements and mass meetings. In this 2023 of apparent normality, however, Saint Rita has reunited her devotees.
The novena opened on the 14th, with the noise of the First Communion children of the local parish, in which the Augustinian Recollects also serve, and the animation of the Eucharist main parish church, transferred for the occasion to the church of the convent.
Every working day of the following week there was a certain influx of faithful to the novena, although in smaller number. Members of the local Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity, whose titular patron saint is precisely Santa Rita, energized the liturgies.
On Monday, May 22, there was an incessant trickle of faithful in the Eucharistic celebrations scheduled for 8:30, 10:30 and 12:30; the majority were women of Marcilla and of the neighboring towns in Navarra and La Rioja.
In the afternoon the panorama changed radically. On a splendid sunny day, the tree-lined square that receives visitors to the Marcillese convent was a continuous bustle of people who entered and left the temple.
The main Eucharist, at 6:00 p.m., was presided over by Monsignor Eusebio Hernández, Augustinian Recollect and Bishop Emeritus of Tarazona. The bishop warmly greeted the crowd of faithful who filled the church to overflowing and proposed the example of the Saint of Casia, encouraging them to live the Christian life with enthusiasm.
A group of Augustinian Recollect novices from the Monteagudo novitiate (Navarra) were the acolytes and carried the image of the saint in the procession through the convent gardens, among the chants of the attendees.
This popular festival acquires overtones of pilgrimage and the spiritual appeal of devotion to the saint ingredients of a more profane nature are added. The main one is the missionary tombola organized by the Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity for the benefit of the mission of Lábrea, in the Brazilian Amazon. The sister Secular Fraternity of Lodosa contributed part of the objects raffled off in exchange for a missionary donation.
Another attraction was the visit to the cloister of the convent where you could see the exhibitions "We are prophets of the Kingdom", of a missionary nature, and "His things", a retrospective on the Secular Fraternity Saint Rita of Casia de Marcilla with some of the objects that showed the almost hundred-year existence of this Fraternity, perhaps the oldest of the Augustinian Recollect Family.