About St Agatha Image
About St Agatha

St Agatha of Sicily was a beautiful young woman who consecrated her virginity to Christ; she rebuffed advances by a high-ranking official named Quintianus, who had her tortured and killed. She is the patron saint of those suffering from breast cancer, and of nurses.

Read the full St Agatha novena on the novena page. You can also learn more about novenas here.

What Happened to St Agatha?

St Agatha of Sicily was a beautiful young woman who consecrated her virginity to Christ; she rebuffed advances by a high-ranking official named Quintianus, who had her tortured and killed. She is the patron saint of those suffering from breast cancer, and of nurses.

Agatha was born in 231 in either Catania or Palermo, Sicily to a wealthy family.

From childhood, the lovely Agatha was devoted to God. She became a consecrated virgin to offer herself unreservedly to Christ.

But a high-ranking official, Quintianus, wanted her to violate her vows and marry him. She refused him so he publicly charged her with being a Christian (a crime due to this being the time of the persecution under Decius).

Agatha was tried in a court but maintained her faith and prayed: “Jesus Christ, Lord of all, you see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am. I am your sheep. Make me worthy to overcome the devil.”

Quintianus threw her into a brothel in an attempt to have her purity violated. She remained steadfast, so Quintianus imprisoned her then had her tortured on the rack, torn with iron hooks, burned, and whipped.

All these diabolical tortures failed, so he had her breasts cut off.

He put her back into prison, but God miraculously cared for her wounds, and St. Peter came to personally comfort her.

Quintianus, further enraged that she had not died, had her tortured over hot coals, and she died once put back into prison. The year was 251.