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The Patron Saint Of Nursing


A woman of great courage and great devotion.

The Story Behind of The Patron Saint of Nursing – Saint Agatha of Sicily

A victim of repeated sexual assault and vicious torture including the cutting off of her breasts, Saint Agatha’s steadfast commitment to her covenant with God is a timeless inspiration.

St. Agatha was born in c.231AD to a rich noble family in Catania, a region in Sicily. Christianity was outlawed in the Roman Empire at that time, and the ruling emperor, Emperor Trajan Decius, even had Pope Fabian executed. St. Agatha was only 15 years old when she took a vow of virginity in the name of God.

St. Agatha is most notably the patron saint of wet nurses, breast cancer, rape victims, bellfounders, martyrs, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and bakers. She is also the patron saint of several European countries and regions, including Catania, Malta, San Marino, and Palermo, and an intercessor for those suffering from fires and against the volcanic eruptions of Mount Etna. The name Agatha comes from the Ancient Greek word for “good.” She is one of the most highly venerated Christian virgin martyrs. Here are 11 fascinating facts about the tragic and brave life of St. Agatha.

#1 Saint Agatha Died in 251 AD After Being Tortured
St. Agatha endured much suffering before finally succumbing to her wounds. It started when she rejected the many marriage proposals from a certain Roman magistrate, Quintianius, who had been sent by Emperor Decius to govern her district. She had rejected the proposals because she had already pledged her virginity to God. Bitter, enraged, and offended, Quintianius reported St. Agatha to the Roman authorities for being a Christian. He had hoped that the threat of death and torture would persuade St. Agatha to marry him, but he was wrong.

Quintianius had St. Agatha imprisoned for a month in a brothel owned by a woman named Aphrodisia. Quintianius had hoped that this would terrify and traumatize St. Agatha into changing her mind and agreeing to marry him. Even though she was assaulted and forced into sexual slavery in the brothel, St. Agatha did not break her covenant with God.

Quintianius sent for St. Agatha to try to persuade her to marry him, but she refused to give up her virginity, and so Quintianius threw her into prison. She was stretched on a rack where her body was torn with iron hooks, beaten, and had her breasts torn off with iron pincers. Still unwilling to yield to Quintianius, St. Agatha was tied up and prepared to be burned alive, but the rattle and chaos of an earthquake stopped it from happening that day. The Roman guards took the wooden stake down and threw her back into her cell.

While back in prison, St. Peter, who had died somewhere between 64 AD and 68 AD, appeared to her in a vision and healed her breasts. She was sent before a judge who was amazed to see this healing. Again, refusing to denounce God, she was rolled over hot coals and shards of glass. Another earthquake rattled through the region and tore down two walls. Fearing popular uprising, the judge sent St. Agatha back to prison so that she would die. She spent her final moments in great physical pain before she passed into Heaven.

#2 Saint Agatha Was “Canonized” Around 600 AD
St. Agatha was recognized as a saint by Pope Gregory I at some point during his reign. He was the bishop of Rome from 590 AD to 604 AD. This is considered to be equivalent to her canonization. She was never formally canonized, as she lived in a time called “pre-congregation,” which was before the creation of today’s formal process of canonization where the Catholic Church decides whether someone is worthy of universal veneration.

Complete text: The Story Behind of The Patron Saint of Nursing – Saint Agatha of Sicily – ConnectUS (