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St. Agatha

St Agatha healing GLanfranco

Saint Agatha is one of the early church martyrs. The governor of Sicily wanted to have her although it is unclear to me from all of the different accounts whether he thought he was in love with her or if he just lusted after her. Be that as it may, it seems that if he were living today he'd be considered an abusive man. Because Agatha preferred to be a virgin for Christ, he sent her to a brothel where she suffered humiliation. Reading between the lines there she was probably raped and abused, but she did not give in. The account of her persecution continues:

After being tortured, "Agatha went to prison radiant with joy and with head held high as though invited to a festive banquet. And she commended her agony to the Lord in prayer." The next day, as she again stood before the judge, she declared: "If you do not cause my body to be torn to pieces by the hangmen, my soul cannot enter the Lord's paradise with the martyrs. She was then stretched on the rack, burned with red-hot irons, and despoiled of her breasts. During these tortures she prayed: "For love of chastity I am made to hang from a rack. Help me, O Lord my God, as they knife my breasts. Agatha rebuked the governor for his barbarity: "Godless, cruel, infamous tyrant, are you not ashamed to despoil a woman of that by which your own mother nursed you?"

This is why she is the patroness of breast cancer patients. I was with my sister when she came out of surgery following her double mastectomy. Despite the miracles of modern anesthesia and pain killers, she was in a lot of pain. Seeing that gives me all the more respect for what Agatha endured.

The painting above illustrates the rest of the story.
In the night there appeared to her a venerable old man, the apostle Peter, with healing remedies. Agatha, ever delicately modest, hesitated to show him her wounds. "I am the apostle of Christ; distrust me not, my daughter." To which she replied: "I have never used earthly medicines on my body. I cling to the Lord Jesus Christ, who renews all things by His word." She was miraculously healed by St. Peter: "Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, I give you praise because by Your apostle You have restored my breasts." Throughout the night a light illumined the dungeon. When the guards fled in terror, her fellow prisoners urged her to escape but she refused: "Having received help from the Lord, I will persevere in confessing Him who healed me and comforted me."

Shortly thereafter she was martyred.
From Catholic Culture

St. Agatha is also the patroness of fire prevention.

Agatha is one of the saints mentioned in the first Eucharistic prayer.

Remember, Lord, those who have died and have gone before us marked with the sign of faith, especially those for whom we now pray, {names deceased loved ones whom the celebrant or parishioner wishes to offer before God}. May these, and all who sleep in Christ, find in your presence light, happiness, and peace. [Through Christ our Lord. Amen.]

For ourselves, too, we ask some share in the fellowship of your apostles and martyrs, with John the Baptist, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, [Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia] and all the saints. Though we are sinners, we trust in your mercy and love. Do not consider what we truly deserve, but grant us your forgiveness. Through Christ our Lord.


St. Agatha, woman of valor, from your own suffering we have been moved to ask your prayers for those of us who suffer from breast cancer. We place the name (s) before you, and ask you to intercede on their behalf. From where you stand in the health of life eternal- all wounds healed, and all tears wiped away- pray for ____________________, and all of us. Pray God will give us His holy benediction of health and healing. And, we remember you were a victim of torture and that you learned, first hand, of human cruelty and inhumanity. We ask you to pray for our entire world. Ask God to enlighten us with a “genius for peace and understanding.” Ask Him to send us His Spirit of Serenity, and ask Him to help us share that peace with all we meet. From what you learned from your own path of pain, ask God to give us the Grace we need to remain holy in difficulties, not allowing our anger or our bitterness to overtake us. Pray that we will be more peaceful and more charitable. And from your holy pace in our mystical body, the Church, pray that we, in our place and time will, together, create a world of justice and peace. Amen.


St. Agatha links on del.icio.us

Comments

Jean Heimann said…
Hi Elena,

I remember getting the measles as both a child and as a young adult. They weren't fun -- but no big deal. People nowadays get overly agitated about the wrong things.