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Catholic Activity: St. Zita, the Little Cook

April, the month of showers and spring flowers, is also the month of St. Zita, a little-known saint who should have particular appeal for hard-working ladies of the kitchen.

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A humble soul who lived in Italy in the thirteenth century, Zita remains humble to this day, being one of the lesser-known saints. Our research disclosed that she earned for herself the nickname "The Little Cook." It all started when she worked for a wealthy family. The other servants in the household shunned her because her hard-working example put them to shame. They treated her miserably, piling more and more chores on her, but she never complained. Each day she rose early while the household slept and went to hear Mass. On her return, her first duty was to make bread for the family. One morning she became so absorbed in prayer that the hour for bread-making was long past. Full of self-reproach, she hurried home, where to her surprise she found the loaves of bread laid out on the table all ready for the oven. She questioned every one, but no one would admit preparing the bread. It was soon evident that no human hands had shaped the loaves. A delicious fragrance surrounded them, and Zita became aware that angels had been at work while she prayed.

You'll be glad to know that eventually Zita's selfless example won over the other servants, and they ceased to resent her industry. When she died (in 1272), it is said a bright star appeared above her attic room at the moment of her passing.

Best not to depend on angels to bake your bread — meet the challenge yourself, and bake a loaf in honor of "The Little Cook." Her feast is mentioned in the Roman Martyrology for April 27, although it does not appear on the General Roman Calendar.

Activity Source: Cook's Blessings, The by Demetria Taylor, Random House, New York, 1965

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