(Sitha, Citha) (to seek) (13th century) In Christian legend, patron saint of domestic servants; venerated at Lucca, Italy.
Feast, 27 April.
Zita became a servant at the age of 12 and continued to be employed by the same family for some 48 years.
One saying ascribed to the saint is “A servant is not good if she is not industrious: Work-shy piety in people of our position is sham piety.”
However, the traditional saying seems to have been invented by her masters.
One legend of the saint in the Vita Sanctorum, a collection of saints’ lives, tells how Zita stayed too long at church and did not have time to make breakfast for her master. Zita rushed home and found to her joy that an angel had done the work for her. The bread was baked and ready to eat.
Another legend tells how Zita, touched with pity for the half-starved who came to her master’s house during a severe famine, gave them the beans from her master’s granary without asking his permission.
Not long afterward the master, Pagano, was taking stock and went to measure the beans. Zita was frightened and hid herself behind her mistress.
The master found the measure correct. Zita thanked God for restoring what had been taken. Zita is portrayed in Christian art as a serving maid.
Last updated: November 19, 2012 at 22:36 pm
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