St. Agatha

St. Agatha

One of the Catholic Church's most honored virgin martyrs is St. Agatha, also called Agatha of Sicily. She is thought to have been born into a wealthy and aristocratic family in Catania or Palermo, Sicily, in the year 231.

The strikingly attractive Agatha devoted her life to God at a very young age. She became a consecrated virgin, a position in life in which young women opt to remain celibate and devote themselves entirely to Jesus and the Church through prayer and service. This didn't stop men from wanting her and approaching her in an inappropriate way.

Nevertheless, Quintianus, one of the men who lusted after Agatha, believed he could coerce her into breaking her promise and forcing her into marriage due to his high diplomatic position. When Quintianus realized that Agatha was a Christian during Decius' persecution and that she had continuously rejected his constant advances, he had her imprisoned and brought before the judge. It was he who was the judge.

In the face of torture and the threat of death, he expected her to submit to his demands, but she merely prayed to God to confirm her belief in him: "Jesus Christ, Lord of all, you see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am. I am your sheep: make me worthy to overcome the devil." With tears in her eyes, she prayed for courage.

Quintianus put her under house arrest- in a brothel- in an attempt to get her to reconsider. Agatha endured a month of abuse and attempts to persuade her to break her vow to God and compromise her morality, but she never lost faith in God. After learning of her quiet might, Quintianus commanded that she be brought before him once more. She told him during her questioning that her real freedom was as a servant of Jesus Christ.

Furious, Quintianus sent her to prison rather than the brothel, which was presumably a huge relief to her even if it was meant to make her even more terrified.

Agatha persisted in praising Jesus as her Lord, Saviour, Hope, and Life. Quintianus gave the command to torture her. He had her stretched out on a rack to be lashed, burned with torches, and ripped with iron hooks. Observing that Agatha was cheerfully bearing all the torment, he ordered that she be put through even more agony. This wicked man gave the order to amputate her breasts.

He then sent her to prison, ordering that she not be given any food or medical assistance. But all the care she required was provided by the Lord. He served as both her guardian and Sacred Physician. Agatha saw the apostle St. Peter in a vision, and with his intercession, he soothed her and cured her wounds.

Quintianus disregarded her wounds' amazing recovery after four days. He had her stripped naked and placed her over hot coals laced with jagged pieces. "Lord, my Creator, you have protected me from the cradle; you have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer: receive now my soul," prayed Agatha as she was brought back to prison. Around the year 251, Agatha is believed to have died and entered heaven.

In religious art, she is frequently portrayed as holding shears, tongs, or plates of breasts. She is the patron saint of Sicily, bellfounders, breast cancer patients, Palermo, rape victims, and against fires. Her feast day is celebrated on February 5.

Other Saints of the Day
Saint Avitus
Saint Modestus
Saint Leo Karasuma
Saint Gonsalo Garcia
Saint Adelaide of Bellich

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