Saint Brigid Religious Education
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West Hartford, CT 06110

St. Agatha

Feast day: February 5

Although we have evidence that Agatha was venerated at least as far back as the sixth century, the only facts we have about her are that she was born in Sicily and died there a martyr.

In the legend of her life, we are told that she belonged to a rich, important family. When she was young, she dedicated her life to God and resisted any men who wanted to marry her or have sex with her. One of these men, Quintian, was of a high enough rank that he felt he could force her to agree to marry him. Knowing she was a Christian in a time of persecution, he had her arrested and brought before the judge, himself. He expected her to give in when faced with torture and possible death, but she simply affirmed her belief in God by praying.

Legend tells us that Quintian imprisoned her in order to get her to change her mind. Quintian brought her back before him after she had suffered a month of assault and humiliation, but Agatha had never wavered, proclaiming that her freedom came from Jesus. Quintian sent her to prison intending to make her more afraid, but when she continued to profess her faith in Jesus, Quintian had her tortured. He refused her any medical care but God gave her all the care she needed in the form of a vision of St. Peter. When she was tortured again, she died after saying a final prayer.

Because she was asked for help during the eruption of Mount Etna she is considered a protector against the outbreak of fire. She is also considered the patroness of bell makers.

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