St. Agatha, glorious Virgin and Martyr,
in the moment of torture, you refused to
betray the faith you had in Jesus Christ.
Help us that we may not fail
in our good resolutions through
self interest and human respect.
You kept yourself holy and pure in the
most dangerous and violent temptations.
Obtain for us from Our Divine Lord
the grace to resist with courage the
temptations of the devil.
Help us to be real followers of
the crucified Christ.
Help us to fulfil the purpose
for which God created us,
so that we may receive the
blessed crown of eternal life. Amen.
St. Agatha is the Patron Saint of the parish in North William Street. She is also the patron of nurses and of diseases of the breast. Because she was born in Sicily, Italy she is also prayed to for protection against earthquakes. The name Agatha means ‘goodness’.
Agatha was a woman of noble birth who lived in the 3rd century in Sicily. Like many of her contemporaries, Agatha had consecrated her
virginity to God. Having triumphed over many assaults on her chastity, she would not have bargained for the lustful designs of Quintianus,
the Roman Governor in Catania, Sicily.
She was a Christian and at that time, the Roman Governor, Quintianius was persecuting Christians. Having worked his way up from lowly origins, Quintianus hoped to marry Agatha both for her beauty and her wealth – she was of a rich and illustrious family. To shake off his intentions Agatha left Catania and went to Palermo. Quintianus tried unsuccessfully to seduce her.
He was enraged with her refusals and had her repeatedly tortured. This included imprisonment, beating, burning, cutting off her breasts and starvation. Her courage and commitment to her faith kept her strong. While she was praying in prison she is reputed to have had a vision of the apostle St. Peter who comforted her, healed all her wounds and filled her prison cell with a heavenly light. The story of St. Agatha is one of courage, tremendous spiritual strength, immaculate integrity and utter dependence on Christ.
She was martyred on 5th February 251.