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February 5th - St. Agatha

St Agatha
Feast Day: February 5th
Life: 231 AD - 251 AD (Sicily)
Patron Saint: Volcanic Eruptions, Fires, Breast Cancer Patients
Known For: Early Church Martyr

St. Agatha is one of seven women, along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, commemorated in Eucharistic Prayer I. This is for a very good reason. Prior to the Roman Empire officially adopting Christianity as its official religion, Christians were sought out and killed. They were used as scapegoats for various Roman problems. Some were simply made to be examples.

Agatha was born to a Christian family. Most Christian families really didn't have all that much money, but from a very young age, Agatha realized that she only wanted Christ. She didn't need wealth or fame. In her heart and mind she dedicated herself and her virginity to Christ. She desired, more than anything, to become a bride of Christ.

As a young adult, Agatha was discovered by a wealthy Roman citizen to be a beautiful gift on the eyes. He desired to have her hand in marriage. In hindsight, this would have been great for her family, but Agatha stayed true to her promise to remain a bride of Christ. Her suitor did not like this idea. To make matters worse, he was a pagan and very hostile to the Christian faith.

After her suitor spoke to a few governmental friends, Agatha was sentenced to a brothel. Despite being tortured, her virginity remained protected by the Lord. After realizing that this wasn't getting her to budge on her promise, she was sentenced to prison where she was tortured even more. Her suitor realized his defeat. He was never going to be able to get her to be his wife. With his pride shaken, he had her tortured and killed with the support of the government.

It was from St. Agatha's story that thousands of new converts came into the Church. Her story of the heroic virtue of courage spread so very quickly throughout the Roman Empire. Agatha's story, like the story of many Church martyrs, stood as testimony that there is indeed a life beyond the world that we see. Agatha's last breath promoted this truth and we remember her 1800 years later for it.