PARKLAND, Fla., Feb. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Now that pitchers and catchers are making their annual pilgrimage to spring training, many fans in the know are looking to a 14th-century nun to deliver a triumphant season. Yes, there really is a Patron Saint of Baseball, and her story has inspired faith, hope, and dreams for those who believe in miracles. "The connections between Saint Rita of Cascia and the baseball world are too uncanny to ignore," explains Andy Castellanos, founder of St. Rita Believe, an organization dedicated to empowering people through baseball and faith. "Her spirit has manifested again and again, on the field and off, for more than 100 years."
Castellanos, a lifelong baseball enthusiast, wants as many people as possible to know about the Patron Saint of Baseball. His goal is to encourage fans to support the organization by purchasing a $15 St. Rita Believe Band—a simple gesture that he says "will help make miracles large and small come true." St. Rita Believe supports a variety of charities including the Clemente Museum, the Leadership Learning Center, and Developing Faces.
Who was Saint Rita and how did she make her mark in the baseball world? Saint Rita, born under the name of Margherita Lotti in a small Italian village in 1381, dedicated her life to faith and service. Canonized hundreds of years later, she was known as Saint Rita, Patron Saint of Impossible Causes.
The story then transcends to 1920 in Big Lake, Texas, where desperate attempts to strike oil failed repeatedly. When people of Big Lake prayed to Saint Rita for intervention, the well miraculously came to life.
Fast-forward to the 1980s. Ever since the Texas oil boom, Big Lake locals had been spending their free time on the baseball field. The town would produce several Major League players over the years. Among them is Jim Morris, subject of the inspiring 2002 film, The Rookie. Morris was known to wear a Saint Rita necklace for good luck, and it seems she intervened, helping him to overcome incredible disappointments and injuries before finally being signed to the Tampa Bay Rays at age 35.
But the Saint Rita-baseball connection doesn't stop in Big Lake. It could be said her spirit was at the Polo Grounds with the New York Giants when all seemed lost in 1951. In one of baseball's greatest moments, Bobby Thomson's legendary "shot heard around the world" clinched the National League pennant from the Brooklyn Dodgers at the bottom of the ninth. The miracle ball was caught by Sister Helen, a Felician nun who later adopted the name Sister Helen Rita in honor of baseball's patron saint. The 2012 documentary Miracle Ball tells the story of that history-making home run.
Castellanos, a healthcare professional specializing in wound care, discovered the power of Saint Rita when searching for a spiritual component to his patients' healing process. Inspired by her story, he founded St. Rita Believe with the idea of giving the baseball community a chance to make a big difference through a small purchase. Partial proceeds from the sale of St. Rita Believe bracelets support a variety of nonprofit initiatives such as after-school programs for disadvantaged children, fundraisers to fight cancer, and surgical care for babies in developing countries with facial abnormalities.
The durable St. Rita Believe bracelet, designed by Andy Castellanos, is made from 100% silicone. To order yours today, visit https://www.baseballbelieve.com/product/believe-band/.
For additional information and photos of the St. Rita Believe bracelet, please contact [email protected].
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SOURCE St. Rita Believe