St. Agatha’s family lived in Sicily and were very rich and important. Young, beautiful and rich, she lived a life dedicated to God. St. Agatha refused marriage proposals from all the men who asked. Quintian the magistrate believed himself to be of high enough rank to be worthy of her affection, but she refused him also.
When Decius announced the edicts against Christians, Quintian tried to profit by Agatha’s sanctity; he planned to blackmail her into sex in exchange for not charging her for being a Christian. She still refused him. He then turned Saint Agatha over to a brothel, but she refused to accept customers. After rejecting Quintian’s advances, she was beaten, imprisoned, tortured, and St. Agatha’s breasts were crushed and cut off. She told the judge, “Cruel man, have you forgotten your mother and the breast that nourished you, that you dare to mutilate me this way?” God gave her the relief she needed in the form of a vision of Saint Peter who then healed her wounds.
Imprisoned further, then rolled on live coals, she was near death when an earthquake struck. In the destruction, the magistrate’s friend was crushed, which frightened the magistrate and he fled. Brave, Saint Agatha thanked God for an end to her pain, and died.
Catania, Sicily is the location of the martyrdom of Saint Agatha as well as her birthplace.
She is their patron saint. Legend says that carrying her veil, taken from her tomb in Catania, in procession has averted eruptions of Mount Etna.