St. Agatha

Image may contain: one or more people

St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr

One of the most celebrated Christian heroines who, on account of their faith, have suffered with most invincible fortitude, is the saintly virgin Agatha. She was born at Palermo, or, according to others, at Catania, in Sicily. She was of illustrious parentage, and was piously educated in the Christian faith. When Quintianus, Governor under the Emperor Decius, was commanded to uproot Christianity in Sicily, he repaired to Catania. Soon after his arrival he was informed that a noble lady, of the name of Agatha, resided there, who, for wealth and beauty, had no superior, and who was also the most fervent of all the Christians. The Governor caused her to be brought before him, and, on first seeing her, he fell so deeply in love with her that he hesitated not to try to induce her to listen to his shameful designs. Agatha, who united with beauty the most angelic chastity, was terrified at his wickedness, and would have preferred death rather than allow the least liberty with her person. Quintianus, who would not use force, deprived her of her liberty, under the pretext that she was a Christian, and gave her into the charge of Aphrodisia, an infamous old prostitute, who had led her own daughters into the path of shame and wickedness, and lived by means of their vices. He supposed that Agatha, living with a person so vile, would, by her persuasions, lose her love of chastity, and, at the same time, abjure her faith. But he soon found that he was mistaken. The chaste virgin, armed by the thought of God’s presence, by prayers and by fasting, bore a mighty shield against all flatteries, persuasions, and promises. For thirty days she had to remain upon this dangerous field of battle; but God gave her strength, and she conquered. Aphrodisia herself had at last to confess this to Quintianus, and would have nothing further to do with the maiden.  Continue reading