紀念日 / Memorial date
Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr
St. Agatha was martyred in Sicily in the third century, probably during the time of Decius. Her name appears in the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I).
Agatha was born in the first part of the third century into a wealthy and noble Christian family in Catania, Sicily. She was a beautiful young virgin, and at the age of 15 Agatha expressed her desire to live a life consecrated to God.
In the years 250 to 253 AD, Roman Emperor Trajan Decius ordered the persecution of all Christians. The prefect of Catania at that time was a man named Quintianus. Legend says that he, upon seeing Agatha, fell madly in love with her. It is more likely, though, that his true desire was to gain control of her family’s property and lands.
When Agatha turned away his advances he sent her to a brothel as punishment. She refused to accept customers and was sent back to Quintianus. Agatha was then imprisoned, suffered repeated tortures, and then brutally had her breasts cut off.
It is said that she responded to this horrible mutilation by saying to Quintianus, “Cruel man, have you forgotten your mother and the breast that nourished you, that you dare to mutilate me this way?”
Quintianus ordered that she be forced onto a bed of hot coals. While she lay burning on the coals her red veil stayed miraculously intact. Agatha died a few hours later on February 5, in the year 251.
May the Virgin Martyr Saint Agatha
implore your compassion for us, O Lord, we pray,
for she found favor with you
by the courage of her martyrdom
and the merit of her chastity.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
English text: Daily Roman Missal, 2011