Birth and personal life
St. Agatha was born around 231 in Sicily to a rich and noble family. She was a beautiful woman who dedicated her life to God at an early age. She made the decision to become a consecrated virgin, meaning she chose to practice celibacy in a life of deep prayer and service.
Men admire St. agatha
Although she lived a celibate life, this did not stop men from desiring and making advances towards her. At the time, Quintianus was the governor of Sicily under the emperor Decius. He had heard about the wealth and beauty of Agatha. He thought that his high-ranking status could persuade her to turn away from her celibate life.
After turning down his numerous proposals, he had her arrested (during the persecution of Christians under Decius) and brought before the Judge (Quintianus himself). He sent her to multiple prisons and holdings, in an attempt to scare her into submission.
The torturing of St. agatha
Enduring all that was thrown at her, Agatha never lost hope and confidence in God. Internally, she suffered assaults that tried to get her to abandon her faith and virtue. She was brought to Quintianus again and again. She boldly stated,
To be a servant of Christ is to be truly free.
Quintianus had her imprisoned in a brothel. After hearing her claim her strength, he became enraged and sent her to prison. She continued to proclaim her faith and to ask for strength from the Lord. Finally, Quintianus ordered for her to be tortured.
Quintianus ordered for her to be stretched on a rack and torn with iron hooks, burned with torches, and whipped. Agatha bravely endured all of the pain with a sense of cheer. Quintianus then demanded ordered that her breasts be cut off: the worst form of torture. She was sent back to prison with no food or medical attention. The Lord became her Sacred Physician and protector; her wounds were miraculously healed by St. Peter.
St. Agatha's death
After four days, Quintianus ordered for her to be stripped naked and roll over hot coals that were mixed with sharp shards. Upon her return to the prison, she prayed to the Lord,
Lord, my Creator, you have ever 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.
St. Agatha's Patronage
St. Agatha is believed to have passed away around the year 251 at the age of 20. Her feast day is celebrated on February 5. She is the patron saint of the following: Sicily, bellfounders, breast cancer patients, Palermo, rape victims, fire prevention, single laypeople, and torture victims. Her symbols include breasts on a dish, loaves of bread on a dish, pincers, shears, tongs, and a veil.
Lord, through the intercession of St. Agatha, heal all of those who are suffering from sexual assault. Give them the strength and protection like you did with St. Agatha to help them live in your image. Amen.