The Magic of Siquijor  (Black Magic Mary)

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Saint Rita




AKA Black Magic Mary


The Myth

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be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of

“Time Asia” (May 27, 2002/Vol. 159 no. 20) (Short Cuts)
May 20, 2002 (Monday)

    "BLACK MAGIC MARY" Siquijor Island is one spooky place. It's riddled with abandoned churches and unexplored caves and known throughout the Philippines for its black magic and mangkukulam, or traditional healers. The real hair-raiser is a statue of the Virgin Mary in the village of Maria, a winding 15-km drive through the mountains from the main port of Larena. In her right hand she clutches a skull and in her left an inverted crucifix. Leave before dark: word is she's a nightwalker."


"Island of Faith and Mystique"

by Lawrence D. Casiraya , BusinessWorld Online Reporter

    “But what I was looking for really – a desire most likely shared by other curious travelers who have heard the story – was the mysterious statue of Sta. Rita, a woman wearing the same clothes as that of the Virgin Mary but holding a skull in one hand. According to local legend, the skull belongs to the woman’s husband whom she killed for reasons nobody in the island seems to know.” “Much to our dismay, my friends and I only saw how the statue looks like in a picture. Even so, the image is very haunting. There is actually a story behind the decision not to display the statue anymore. Believed to be made of gold, the statue was stolen a few years ago. Months after it disappeared, the statue was recovered in the province of Bohol, the body about to be sawed in half.”

Saint Rita of Cascia

Dispelling the Myth

   No one really knows how some myths originate. It has been said, “myths and legends are born out of foolishness”. Personally I believe that the origin of a lot of myths are strictly due to misconceptions or ignorance of the truth.

    When I first learned about the statue’s existence and the stories surrounding it, I was determined to find Sta. Rita. After a considerable amount of time and effort, I did eventually find the statue of Sta. Rita. I remember being captivated by the eyes. Also I can recall being surprised by its petite size. Much to my disappointment the few photos that I took to memorize the occasion were lacking the quality that I had hoped for.

    The following year I returned to Maria in an attempt to photograph the statue of Sta. Rita again. During that trip I met Rev. Fr. Henry B. Hisona. I was informed that the bishop had removed most of the church’s artifacts. Due to numerous instances of vandalism and theft, the removal was necessary to protect the artifacts.

    During our conversation, the father expressed how displeased he was with the falsehoods being told about Sta. Rita especially in Tourist Guide books.  He said that she was a Saint and that someone should debunk the erroneous evil stories.  The Father insisted that I hear the truth and told me the story of Sta. Rita.  I promised him that I would print the truth.

   In honor of my promise, here are two articles that I found on the Internet.

Siquijor Gary

. . . . . . . .


    Rita Lotti was born in 1381 in the tiny hamlet of Roccaporena, near Cascia, in the Province of Umbria, Italy. Her parents Antonio and Amata looked upon their only child as a very special gift from God since she was born to them as they were already getting on in years.

    The Lottis were a devout Christian couple, offering their daughter the witness of strong faith in God and a practical example of Gospel living, especially in their role as official peacemakers or reconcilers among their fellow citizens. It should not have been surprising then that Rita, who shared her parents strong faith and religious devotion, would have desired to dedicate her life to God as a nun. Unexpected, rather, was the response of Antonio and Amata, who preferred to see Rita married, and who, in fact, had arranged a suitable husband for her.

    Though initially disappointed, Rita understood this choice to be the expression of God’s will for her and so she consented. Both the civil and ecclesiastical climates at the time were not healthy ones - frequent conflicts and family rivalries were routinely settled by the rule of vendetta on the social level - and the scandal of antipopes and their rival bishops dominated the life of the Church. The only child of aging parents would have been far safer under the protection of a good husband, they thought, than she would be behind the unguarded walls of a convent.

    Thus Rita was married to Paolo Mancini, a good man though of strong and impetuous character. Their marriage was blessed with two sons,perhaps twins, and Rita’s days were soon filled with the typical concerns of wife, mother and housekeeper, while Paolo was employed as a watchman for the town. As a minor civil servant, Paolo often found himself drawn into the conflicts that existed between rival political factions, and this may account for the tragedy which eventually touched the Mancini family. One day as he was returning from work Paolo was ambushed and killed. The pain which this unexpected and violent death inflicted upon Rita was only compounded by the fear that her sons would seek to avenge their father’s death.

    Her example of forgiveness, her words of instruction and pleading, her prayers for their change of heart, were unable to move the two boys to forego any act of retaliation, and so Rita entrusted the cause totally to God, asking him to handle the situation which was beyond her control. As it happened, both sons died within the year.

    Now alone, Rita gave herself to works of charity and to a more intense life of prayer. Eventually the desire to enter the convent once more grew in her, but her request for entrance among the Augustinian Nuns of Cascia was refused, not once but three times. Though Rita was known to the nuns of the Monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene, her good character and religious spirit were outweighed, in the judgment of the community, by the violence that surrounded Paolo’s death. The nuns were afraid of tempting the peace of convent life, possibly because one of their members belonged to the family responsible for Paolo’s murder. But Rita felt deeply that this was the vocation to which she was called and she turned to her three patron saints to intercede for her. After the third refusal of the nuns, Rita recognized that she herself must put their fears to rest. She approached Paolo’s family as well as their rivals, and persuaded them to put an end to their hostility and to live in peace.

    The example of her own forgiving spirit, no doubt, was an inspiration and - perhaps an embarrassment to them. The families were reconciled. They signed a document to this effect, and when Rita presented the document to the nuns, they no longer had reason to refuse her. Rita Lotti Mancini now became Sister Rita.

    For the next forty years Rita lived the life of an Augustinian Nun, according to the Rule of the saint she had chosen years before as her spiritual father, Saint Augustine of Hippo. His was a gentle Rule which invited the members of the community to strive in every way possible to achieve communion of mind and heart with God and one another. Her days were spent in prayer and contemplation, in service to the sick and the poor, and in activities necessary to support the life of the small community.

    After twenty-five years of religious life, Rita was given what she considered a most treasured and singular gift from God. Always devoted to Jesus crucified, her desire constantly grew to share in his great act of love for her and for all humanity by helping to carry his cross. One day as she knelt in prayer, her forehead was pierced by a violent wound, a thorn from the crown that covered Jesus’s own head. She bore this wound for fifteen years until the day of her death.

    For the last several years of her life Rita was confined to bed. The last of the many crosses she was presented in life was now the humbling condition of an invalid, totally dependent upon the charity of her sisters. Finally, on May 22,1457 Rita’s life on earth came to an end. The various crosses she had born as wife, widow, mother and nun were now
put aside once and for all as she met the embrace of her Risen Lord.



"Saint Rita" also known as:
Margarita of Cascia; Rita La Abogada de Imposibles

    Daughter of Antonio and Amata Lotti; known as Peacemakers of Jesus, they had Rita late in life. From her early youth, Rita visited the Augustinian nuns at Cascia, and showed interest in a religious life. However, when she was twelve, her parents betrothed her to Paolo Mancini, an ill-tempered, abusive individual who worked as town watchman, and was dragged into the political disputes of the Guelphs and Ghibellines. Disappointed but obedient, Rita married him when she was 18, and was the mother of twin sons.

    She put up with Paolo's abuses for eighteen years before he was ambushed and stabbed to death. Her sons swore vengeance on their father's killers, but through Rita's prayers and interventions, they forgave the offenders.

    Upon the deaths of her sons, Rita again felt the call to religious life. However, some of the sisters at the Augustinian monastery were relatives of her husband's assassins, and she was denied entry for fear of causing dissension. Asking for the intervention of Saint John the Baptist, Saint Augustine of Hippo, and Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, she managed to bring the warring factions together, not completely, but sufficiently that there was peace, and she was admitted to the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalen at age 36.

    Rita lived 40 years in the convent, spending her time in prayer and charity, and working for peace in the region. She was devoted to the Passion, and in response to a prayer to suffer as Christ, she received a chronic head wound that appeared to have been caused by a crown of thorns, and which bled for 15 years.

    Confined to her bed the last four years of her life, eating little more than the Eucharist, teaching and directing the younger sisters. Near the end she had a visitor from her home town who asked if she'd like anything; Rita's only request was a rose from her family's estate. The visitor went to the home, but it being January, knew there was no hope of finding a flower; there, sprouted on an otherwise bare bush, was a single rose blossom.

    Among the other areas, Rita is well-known as a patron of desperate, seemingly impossible causes and situations. This is because she has been involved in so many stages of life - wife, mother, widow, and nun, she buried her family, helped bring peace to her city, saw her dreams denied and fulfilled - and never lost her faith in God, or her desire to be with Him.

1386 at Roccaparena, Umbria, Italy

22 May 1457 at the Augustinian convent at Cascia of tuberculosis

1 October 1627 by Pope Urban VIII

24 May 1900

abuse victims, against loneliness, against sterility, bodily ills, desperate causes, difficult marriages, forgotten causes, impossible causes, infertility, lost causes, parenthood, sick people, sickness, sterility, victims of physical spouse abuse, widows, and wounds.

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