St. Agatha, Virgin & Martyr

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St. Agatha

Today, February 5th, the universal Church honors St. Agatha, her name meaning “good,” one of the most highly honored virgin martyrs in Christian antiquity.

Agatha lived in the third century, having been born of a wealthy and noble family in Sicily.  At some time in her very early life, Agatha dedicated herself to Our Lord Jesus Christ.  At or about the age of 15, Agatha spurned the attempted amorous advances of Quintianus, the Roman prefect of Catania.  Because of this rejection, Quintianus made sure she was persecuted for her Christian faith.  St. Agatha prayed the following prayer before her persecution began:

Jesus Christ, Lord of all, thou seest my heart, thou knowest my desires.  Do thou alone possess all that I am.  I am thy sheep:  make me worthy to overcome the Devil.

Accordingly, he sent Agatha to Aphrodisia, the madame so to speak, of a house of prostitution.  Agatha refused to work and present herself as a prostitute because of her pledge to Jesus that she had devoted herself to Him.  Quintianus then had her come before him, putting her in prison.

We must keep in mind the fact that this occurred during the reign of the Roman Emperor Decius, who hated Christianity and Christians.  Not only was it his desire to eliminate all Christians by torture and/or death, he wanted to completely eliminate the religion of Christianity.  Of course then, this policy was also adopted by the officials of Rome.  Quintianus then subjected Agatha to interrogation, wherein all along, Agatha declared that she was the servant of Jesus Christ.  Therefore, Quintianus made sure that she was to experience the most hideous and cruel tortures, which included but was not limited to having her breasts cut out.  But St. Peter appeared to her consoling her wherein she was miraculously healed.  She nevertheless remained in prison.

Before she died, she said this beautiful prayer to Jesus:

Lord, my Creator, thou has always protected me from the cradle; thou has taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer.  Receive now my soul.  

She died in prison in 253 A.D., succumbing to the continual torture and abuse.  Our dear St. Agatha is mentioned in the canon of the Mass.  In contemporary times, she is known as the patron saint of women who suffer from breast cancer.

Again, we study about a beautiful lady with nerves and a will of steel because she never abandoned her Faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ, no matter what the torture.  What she went through for Jesus we cannot ever imagine.  Her loyalty to Our Lord never ceased, which is a quality severely wanting in today’s society.  Because of your specific torture dear St. Agatha, I ask your intercession before the Triune God to help all women throughout the world who are suffering from breast cancer; please ask Our Lord to heal them and bring them rest and peace.  We honor you today dearest young lady, and pray that in our lives, we will live it with similar loyalty, courage, determination and love!

Respectfully,

Joan

Sources:  One Hundred Saints, Bulfinch Press; Vatican website; Butler’s Lives of the Saints, edited by Michael Walsh; Catholic Encyclopedia; Wikipedia

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0 responses to “St. Agatha, Virgin & Martyr

  1. Thank you, Joan, for teaching us about this remarkable young woman, St. Agatha the Good. What an utterly evil and despicable man this Roman prefect Quintianus was, to inflict such horrific torture on Agatha. If anyone still has doubts that, as followers of Christ, we are called to and are in spiritual warfare, the persecution endured by saints like Agatha should dispel all doubts.

     
  2. Thank you Joan, for challenging us once again with another of the Lord’s dear saints. In wondering how anyone could stand firm, kid St. Agatha, I was reminded of a story I heard about Corrie ten Boom.

    Corrie ten Boom, a girl famous for hiding Jewish refugees from Hitler’s SS during WWII, was troubled about how to face death if she was captured. Her father told her, when we are going to travel, I don’t give you your ticket until just before boarding the train. He said, the grace of God to face abuse or death is like the train. The grace to face it is not with you unless and until that moment comes.

    “Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. “Corrie,” he began gently, “when you and I go to Amsterdam-when do I give you your ticket?”
    I sniffed a few times, considering this.
    “Why, just before we get on the train.”
    “Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things, too. Don’t run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need-just in time.”
    ― Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place

     
  3. Thanks Joan, for letting us know who St. Agatha is. My wife’s mom is from St. Agatha, Maine, the northernmost part of New England. When she was in kindergarten, my wife spoke only Parisian French, which presented some problems for a little girl in the South Boston area.

     
  4. Thank you Joan. I have two friends who just finished their rounds of chemo for breast cancer. I will ask St. Agatha to pray for them.

     

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