Zita lived in the thirteenth century near Lucca, in Tuscany. She was reared in a devout Catholic family and was a joyful person. When she was twelve years old she went to live with and serve the Fatinelli family of Lucca. Because Zita was so humble and sweet natured as well as very pious, she was well thought of by her employers. This did not make her popular with her fellow servants, however. Zita was not bothered by this though. 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. This did not go unnoticed and after a while, she gained their respect and even admiration. In fact, she was soon made the supervisor of all the household affairs and was in charge of the other servants.
Zita could easily have used her position of authority to seek revenge on those coworkers who in the past had persecuted her, but this was not her nature. Instead, she treated everyone with love and fairness. She was not tolerant of abuses or vices among the household staff and would rebuke them, but in a loving manner.
Zita ended up staying with the Fatinelli family for forty-eight years. She became like a member of the family to them. She was so trusted that she could take time to go to daily Mass and attend to the poor in the nearby villages. Her employers even allowed her to share food from their household with those who were poverty stricken. Zita came and went as she pleased, never neglecting her household chores or the needs of her employers, and still found time to help others. She 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.
Zita died on April 27, 1271. Numerous miracles were reported to have taken place by her intercession.
Zita’s tomb was discovered in 1580 in the Church of San Frediano. The area of Lucca is now referred to as Santa Zita in her honor. St. Zita is known as the patron saint of domestic workers.
Heavenly Redeemer, may we seek to serve You as St. Zita did, through service to her brothers and sisters on earth. We pray that we do not despise authority but in humility and love, seek to do Your Will by serving others. Amen.
Other Saints We Remember Today
St. Peter Canisius (1579), Priest, Doctor