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St. Agatha

Saint Agatha

Virgin & Martyr

Agatha was born to a wealthy noble family in Sicily around the year 230. The cities of Catania and Palermo both claim to be her birthplace. Agatha had consecrated her virginity to Christ, but during the Decian persecution, in the year of Our Lord 251, her beauty attracted the nefarious attention of Quintianus, the Roman governor. He had Agatha sent to a brothel in the hope of weakening her resolve against his advances, but the young virgin maintained her faith and chastity, and the frustrated governor first imprisoned her, then ordered her tortured. Agatha was stretched on the rack and scorched with hot irons, but she remained steadfast, and Quintianus angrily ordered that her breasts be cut off. Thrown back into prison, Agatha was consoled by a vision of St. Peter himself, who healed her wounds. The confounded governor had Agatha thrown onto hot coals and shards of pottery, after which lengthy torture she finally expired and received her heavenly crown, as an earthquake shook the city. Due to her tortures, she is a patroness of wet-nurses, those who make or ring bells, and against breast cancer, and she is named in the Canon of the Mass.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for February 5th

AT Catania, in Sicily, in the time of the emperor Decius and the judge Quinctian, the birthday of St. Agatha, virgin and martyr. After being buffeted, imprisoned, tortured, racked, dragged over pieces of earthenware and burning coals, and having her breasts cut off, she consummated her sacrifice in prison while engaged in prayer.

In Pontus, during the persecution of Maximian, the commemoration of many holy martyrs, some of whom had molten lead poured over them, others had sharp pointed reeds thrust under their nails, and were oftentimes horribly tormented in many other ways. Thus, by their glorious passion, they deserved at the hands of God palms of victory and unfading crowns.

At Alexandria, during the persecution of Decius, St. Isidore, martyr, who was beheaded for the faith of Christ by Numerian, general of the army.

In the kingdom of Japan, the passion of twenty-six martyrs, who, by being crucified for the Catholic faith, and pierced with lances, gloriously died in praising God and preaching that same faith. Pius IX canonized them in 1862.

At Vienne, blessed Avitus, bishop and confessor, whose faith, labors and admirable learning protected France against the ravages of the Arian heresy.

At Brixen, the holy bishops Genuinus and Albinus, whose lives were illustrious for miracles.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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