St. Agatha

Friends in Christ, today is the Feast of St. Agatha.
St. Agatha was a Christian young woman who lived in Palermo, Sicily; at age 15, a very pretty young lady, many sought her hand in marriage. The Roman Proconsul Quintianus desired Agatha for himself, but she rejected his advances. As a result she was charged with being a Christian and brought before his tribunal. .agatha11She was ordered to deny her faith, but she would not. To make her change her mind, she was placed for one month in a brothel with other women who pressured Agatha to give up her chastity. After 30 days of this she was again interrogated by Quintianus; but she told him: ‘true liberty is to be a servant of Jesus Christ.’ He then had her stretched on the rack, her flesh torn with iron hooks and her skin burned with torches. Yet throughout these sufferings she maintained a heavenly cheerfulness.
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Quintianus became outraged; he then went so far as to have her breasts cut off. She rebuked him for his barbarism: “Godless tyrant, are you not ashamed to despoil a woman of that by which your own mother nursed you?” For this she was thrown into prison.
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That night, there appeared to her a venerable old man, the apostle Peter, who came and healed her. Thanking God she said: ‘I give you praise O Lord, because by your apostle you have restored my breasts”.
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Not impressed by the miraculous healings, the governor had her rolled over hot coals and sharp pieces of glass. As she was dying she said: O Lord, good Master, I give You thanks that You have given me patience to suffer, and have granted me victory. May I now dwell happily in Your never-ending glory.
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It is said that a young man in beautiful garments, along with a hundred youths in white, came and placed a plaque at her grave and then vanished from sight. It was the year 251 AD. The name of St. Agatha is still honored in Eucharistic Prayer I to this day. She is the patron saint of nurses, and of those with breast cancer.

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