AGATHA, VIRGIN AND MARTYR
By Richard Mc Brien
Agatha (d. 251) was a martyr widely venerated in Sicily. Although facts are few and her entire life is shrouded in legend, Agatha’s cult developed very early in the history of the Church. Her historically dubious biography indicates that she was born into a wealthy family and made a vow of virginity, which the Roman consul attempted to violate; upon her refusal, she was subjected to torture, including the cutting off of her breasts; subsequently, however, she was healed by a vision of the Apostle Peter [ June 29]. She is said to have died in prison as a result of her sufferings. She is patron saint of nurses and fi refi ghters.
In spite of the dearth of reliable information about her, she continues to be one of the most frequently invoked saints in the Church and her feast remains on the General Roman Calendar.