St. Zita is the patron of servants and domestic workers. Such was her own station for forty-seven years of service from the age of twelve until her death – to a wealthy family in Lucca, Italy. Early on, Zita, a member of the Third Order of St. Francis, was recognized for her unusual piety – a cause for derision among many of the household staff. She rose in the night for prayer and always attended the first Mass in the morning. But apart from such devotions, Zita considered her work itself to be an expression of her spiritual life: ” A servant is not good if she is not industrious; work-shy piety in people of our position in sham piety.” Gradually her qualities won respect and admiration. Her employer even overlooked her generosity to the poor. In her later years, she devoted increasing time to visiting the sick and those in prison. She had a special devotion to those under sentence of death; for these, she prayed without ceasing.
Zita died on April 27, 1278, at the age of sixty. She was canonized in 1696. Among other things, she is often invoked for help in finding lost keys.