St. Agatha's Bravery

By: Kenisha Alemao

St. Agatha was known for her immense faith and love of God. She is also known for remaining pure and chaste when men pursued her. I guess the slogan “Modest is hottest” was popular back then too!

The only true known fact was that St. Agatha was born in Sicily, and died a martyr. St. Agatha was born in a wealthy and important family. She dedicated her life to God, and refused to have sexual intercourse with men who lusted for her. Quintian, a high ranked official, felt that he could have sexual relations with Agatha, by blackmailing her. At that time, under the rule of Decius (ca250-253), Christians were persecuted for their faith. Quintian first had her arrested and brought her to the judge. He thought Agatha would cave in, both of them knowing that she would face torture, and even death. But she dedicated her to God and she affirmed her belief and prayed:

"Jesus Christ, Lord of all, you see my heart, and you know my desires. Possess all that I am. I am your sheep: make me worthy to overcome the devil."

Quintian was furious and imprisoned her in a brothel, where men could sexually assault her for paying a small fee. She suffered through one month of assault, and humiliation, but she never gave up hope, she knew her freedom came from Jesus. With this, Quintian sent her to prison, instead of the brothel, which made Agatha so relieved. Quintian thought she would be afraid, but Agatha continued to profess her faith in Jesus. He then had her tortured, refusing to give her medical care. God gave her a vision of St. Peter, which gave her all the care she needed. Tortured again, she died after saying a final prayer: "Lord, my Creator, you have always protected me from the cradle; you have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Receive my soul."

In one of the stories, she was tortured by having her breasts cut off, and she is often depicted carrying her breasts on a plate.

She is the patron saint of Catania, Spain, Molise, San Marino, Malta, and Palermo. She is also considered a protector against the outbreak of fire. She is the patron saint of bell-founders because of the shape of her severed breasts, and another theory being that bells are often used as fire alarms. She is also the patron of bakers, whose loaves were blessed at her feast day. She is also considered a protector against the outbreak of fire. More recently, she has been venerated as patron saint of breast cancer patients.

Let us pray:

Saint Agatha, you suffered injustice, sexual assault and indignity because of your faith. Please pray that all those who are survivors of sexual assault may be healed and protect those women who are in danger. Help those who also suffer from sexual temptation. Help us women to become pure and chaste, like you, and to dedicate our lives to our living and loving God. Amen.