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October 18, 2006

Szent Rita statue in Szent Istvan’s Cathedral, Budapest

Szentritalemontree The main religious attraction of Szent Istvan's is the relic of the Holy Hand, but it also has a couple of really beautiful artworks. In one nave there is a gorgeous and moving painting of the Crucifixion, and the sun shines directly on it through the window on the opposite side of the church, showing it in an amzing light.

There is also an incredibly beautiful and melancholic statue of Saint Rita. Rita is the patron saint of abuse victims, difficult marriages, loneliness, and of impossible causes. Although she lived in the 1300s and was beatified in 1627 by Pope Urban VIII, she was not formally recognised as a saint until 1900.

Like most visual representations of her, the statue in Szent Istvan's shows her holding a crown of thorns and with roses. The crown of thorns symbolises that she apparently had a miraculous wound on her head in the shape of the crown of thorns from the passion, which bled for some 15 years. The roses reflect the story that on her deathbed her last wish was for a rose from her home estate in Umbria, Italy. Despite it being January, a rose was found in bloom and brought to her.

We were really struck by how sad this statue seemed on our first visit to the cathedral earlier this year, so on this visit I took the time to make sure we got a decent photograph of it.

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