|“Christ alone is my life and my salvation!”
Agatha was born in 231 A.D. in Sicily to a rich and noble family. She died a virgin martyress at the age of 20 in 251 A.D. She is one of seven women, along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.
When Agatha was fifteen, she dedicated her virginity to God, denying all men and their advances. One man--Quintain, a Roman prefect, felt he could force her acquiesce. He had her arrested and brought before a judge—himself. He expected her to give in when faced with torture and possible death, but she simply affirmed her belief in God by praying: “Jesus Christ, Lord of all things! You see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am—you alone. I am your sheep; make me worthy to overcome the devil.”
Agatha endured abuse at both a brothel and prison, but she continued to profess her faith. Quintain denied her medical care, but Agatha found all the care she needed when God, in His merciful way, sent St. Peter to appear before her in prison and to heal her wounds. Following her final bout of torture, Agatha recited this prayer before welcoming death: “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.”
St. Agatha is honored for her courage in suffering and staying pure for the sake of God and trusting in His mercy.