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St. Agatha of Catania

III Century
Once among the most highly regarded of virgin martyrs, Agatha is said in legends to have been born into a noble family in Palermo or Catania. A consul named Quintian fell in love with her and was unable to dissuade her from her faith. He took her to a house of prostitution, where she preserved her virginity. She was then subjected to interogation and torture. Her breasts were cut off, and St. Peter is said to have appeared to her and healed her. She died later as a result of the various tortures. She is reported to have prevented an eruption of Mt. Etna shortly after her death.

Her name is included in the martyrologies of Carthage and of Jerome, and she is mentioned in the Carmina of Venantius Fortunatus. The Latin version of her life dates from the V Century. Her relics were translated c. 1126 from Constantinople to Catania, perhaps the place of her death.

Karen Rae Keck

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