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February 5
Memorial of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr

St. Agatha

Patroness of Nurses

This year, the feast of St. Agatha falls on a Sunday and so we won’t get a chance to officially “celebrate” her until next year.  Oh well, these things happen.  However, her life (what little we know of it) deserves a quick examination.

Agatha was a Roman noblewoman who embraced Christianity in the third century.  According to the sources, she was approached by a Roman senator (some name him as Quintanius) who desired her beauty (to put it mildly).  When she resisted, having consecrated her virginity to God, he had her tortured.  She is not the first, nor is she the only young woman to undergo torture like this for the same reasons during the persecutions.  According to almost all sources, the torture included, among other things, the cutting off of her breasts.  A little bit hazier in fact, another legend says that she was then thrown on hot coals but that an earthquake shook the town.  Fearing an uprising from the people, the senator had her returned to prison.  She succumbed to her wounds.

Catacomb of St. Agatha

Today she is remembered as the patron of nurses and invoked as a patron for breast cancer patients.  With all that’s gone on lately with the Komen foundation and it’s links, un-links, and re-links with Planned Parenthood (the largest abortion provider in the world), there has been a focus on breast cancer research lately.  My own sister is a breast cancer survivor.  To say nothing of the physical side of things, we would all do well to offer prayers to this holy woman on behalf of all those afflicted with this scourge.