Saint Agatha has been venerated as a virgin and martyr since the time of her death in AD 251. Besides the Blessed Virgin Mary, she is only one of seven female Saints commemorated in the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer 1) and as early as the fifth century had two churches in Rome dedicated to her.  Born in Catania, Sicily to a wealthy and noble family, Agatha was a devout Christian. As a young, beautiful and wealthy woman she would attract the attention of Quintian, a Roman governor. Following the anti-Christian edits of the Roman Emperor, Decius, Quintian tried to blackmail Agatha into a sexual relationship in exchange for not prosecuting her for her religious faith. Agatha rebuffed him and, as a result, was thrown into a brothel but refused to accept customers. She was then put in prison and endured brutal interrogations and tortures that included being stretched on the rack and having her breasts cut off.  She would reproach her prison guard by telling him: “Cruel man, have you forgotten your mother and the breast that nourished you that you dare to mutilate me in this way?”  That night St. Peter would appear to her in a vision and miraculously heal her.

Four days later upon further interrogation, she was condemned to death by rolling her naked body in broken glass and hot coals.  Unshaken to the end in her devotion to God she thanked Him for an end to her suffering and died.  St. Agatha’s feast day is February 5th.