Thursday, 5 February 2015

Feast of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr

Martyrdom of St. Agatha

Having recently posted on St. Agnes, we are again celebrating the Feast Day of another of the Church's glorious Virgin Martyrs, St. Agatha, on whom I last posted a couple of years ago.

Like Agnes, Agatha refused to take up the marriage proposal of a vindictive suitor, having dedicated herself to God, and, like Agnes, was thrown into a brothel in revenge. Even this did not affect her resolve, and so she was killed in a particularly vicious way, which apparently included having her breasts torn off.

At a time when we hear so much in the news about barbaric killings of hostages and others, perhaps it is an opportunity to pray for St. Agatha's help for women who are victims of such crimes.

Sancta Agatha, ora pro nobis

A rather graphic image of St. Agatha - Martyrdom isn't gentle or pretty
I note that St. Agatha is invoked as Patron Saint for many causes, as this interesting article tells us, so please ask for her prayers if any of these are important to you at the moment
"Patron saints are chosen as special protectors or guardians over different aspects of life. Because saints led holy lives and are close to God in heaven, we feel that their prayers are particularly effective. Often we ask particular saints to pray for us if we feel they have a particular interest in our problem.

For instance we might ask Saint Agatha, patron saint for breast cancer to pray for a friend or relative who is inflicted with this disease. The giving of a St. Agatha medal might help to comfort someone whose patron saint is St. Agatha.

Agatha is the patron saint of of Ali, Sicily, bellfounders, against breast cancer, bakers, Catania, Sicily, against fire, earthquakes, eruptions of Mount Etna, fire, jewelers, martyrs, natural disasters, nurses, Palermo, Sicily, rape victims, single laywomen, sterility, torture victims, volcanic eruptions, wetnurses, and Zamarramala, Spain.

Saint Agatha is one of the seven women excluding the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.

Saint Agatha patron saint of Malta, her intercession is reported to have saved Malta from Turkish invasion in 1551.

St. Agatha is the patron saint of Catania. This village in Sicily is the location of the martyrdom of Saint Agatha as well as her birthplace. Legend says that carrying her veil, taken from her tomb in Catania, in procession has averted eruptions of Mount Etna.

St. Agatha's patronage is honored and celebrated on February 5. Feasts for Saint Agatha include the blessing of the bread. This tradition may have originated due to misconceptions that renditions of St. Agatha with her breasts on a platter were mistaken for her presenting a platter of bread.

We have all known many "saints" in our lives and we are all called by God to be saints. By remembering and honoring the faith of our patron saints, we can reflect upon our own faith and service to God."

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