St. Agatha of Sicily (+251 )
Commemorated on February 5
St. Agatha was the 15-year old daughter of rich and respected Christian parents from the city of Palermo (formerly Panormos) in Sicily. During the persecution under the emperor Decius (249-251), the city prefect of Catania, Quintianus, heard about Agatha's beauty and wealth and sent his soldiers after her to bring her to trial as a Christian.
To urge her to sacrifice to the pagan gods, St. Agatha was tempted with fine clothes, amusement, and entertainment. She was resolute and refused. She prayed that she might soon face martyrdom. Under Quintarius, St. Agatha was not persuaded by the flattery nor by the threats. She was subjected to cruel torments. They also tried to remove her breasts with metal tongs, and when this failed, they used knives.
The holy Apostle Peter appeared to her in prison and healed her wounds. Quintianus was amazed to see St. Agatha completely healed, with no trace of cutting. Then the torture began once more when an earthquake took place in the city, and many buildings were destroyed. The terrified inhabitants rushed to Quintianus, demanding he put an end to Agatha’s tortures. Quintianus, fearing a revolt by the people, sent her back to prison where she offered thanks to God and peacefully surrendered her soul to the Lord.
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