There are multiple origins and meanings for the name:
1. Diminutive form of the personal name Margaret ("pearl")
2. Sanskrit (Hindu) given name (रीता) meaning - "worshipped; honest; luminous; brave; faith; water"
3. Rita of Armenia (10/11 January 1278 - July 1333) was a daughter of king Levon II of Armenia and Queen Keran. She was the wife of Byzantine co-emperor Michael IX Palaiologos, making her a junior empress-consort of the Byzantine Empire. In 1317, she became the only empress upon the death of the senior empress, Irene of Montferrat. She was known as Maria in Constantinople.
Saint Rita of Cascia is an Italian Augustinian Saint.
St Rita was born in the year 1381 in the village of Roccaporena, near Cascia, in the Diocese of Spoleto, Italy. She was a daughter of Antonio and Amata Lotti, known as Peacemakers of Jesus; they had St Rita late in life. As a young girl St Rita frequently visited the convent of the Augustinian nuns of Cascia and showed interest in a religious life. Saint St Rita wanted to become a nun, but in obedience to her elderly parents, she married. Her husband, Paolo Mancini, was the source of much suffering as he was cruel to her, but she repaid his perfidy with prayer and kind attention to him: he was converted in time, becoming most considerate of others and God-fearing. When St Rita was 18, she was the mother of two sons, twins. Paolo was employed as a watchman for the town.
Paolo often found himself drawn into the conflicts that existed between rival political factions One day as he was returning from work Paolo was ambushed and killed. The pain which this unexpected and violent death inflicted upon St Rita was only compounded by the fear she felt that her two teenage sons, moved by the unwritten law of the "vendetta" would seek to avenge their father's death. St Rita's only recourse was to prayer and persuasion. But 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 St 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, She applied for admission to the Augustinian convent at Cascia, but, being a widow, she was refused. Prayer, fasting, penances of many kinds, and good works filled her days. Unsuccessful at first because she was a widow, St Rita eventually succeeded. she was able to become a nun and entered the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene at Cascia at age 36 and stayed there until her death.
In 1442, during the night of Holy Friday, she received the stigmata from a thornbush of the crown of the Crucifix, that according to the tradition, embedded itself in her forehead. St Rita of Cascia died on May 22, 1447. The incorrupt body of this “patron Saint of hopeless cases” can be seen at the Basilica of St St Rita in Cascia, Italy. It is also publicly known that her body has been seen in different positions in the glass case, as well as eyes have opened and closed unaided. Her symbol is the rose petal, which she shares with St Therese of Lisieux.
St Rita was beatified by pope Urban VIII in 1627 and canonized on May 24, 1900 by Pope Leo XIII.