St. Agatha, Bride of Christ
Fr. Scott Haynes
In the legend of her life, we are told that St. Agatha belonged to a noble family. When she was young, she dedicated her life to God and resisted any men who wanted her, because she had decided to give herself as a bride to Christ. One of these men who pursued Agatha was name Quintian. He was of a high enough rank that he felt he could force her to acquiesce. Knowing she was a Christian in a time of persecution, he had her arrested and brought before the judge. Guess what? He was the judge.
He expected her to give in to when faced with torture and possible death, but she simply affirmed her belief in God by praying:
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.
Tradition tells us that Quintian imprisoned her in a brothel in order to get her to change her mind. Quintian brought her back before him after she had suffered a full month of sexual assault and humiliation in the brothel, but Agatha had never wavered, proclaiming that her freedom came from Jesus and maintain her purity. This time, Quintian sent her to prison—trying to fill her with fear.
When she continued to profess her faith in Jesus, Quintian had her tortured. He refused her any medical care, but God gave her all the care she needed in the form of a vision of St. Peter. When she was tortured again, she died after saying this final prayer:
Lord, my Creator, you have always protected me from the cradle; you have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Receive now my soul.
Saint Agatha is a true patroness to those who today suffer the indignity of sexual assault. And she is a model of chastity and of fidelity to Our Lord Jesus Christ. May St Agatha obtain for us all a deep love for Our Lord and a purity of mind, body and heart, because by our baptism, we are consecrated unto God. Amen.