The saint we celebrate today is one of the countless early martyrs of the Church. From the fifth century onwards Agatha was held in great veneration by the people of Sicily, and her cult spread across Europe very rapidly. She is one of the saints mentioned in the Roman Canon – the first Eucharistic prayer. As well as being a martyr she is honoured as a virgin.
Although we know little for certain about her, the evident devotion to her is an eloquent testimony of her holiness. Later accounts of her martyrdom are particularly brutal but they key point is that through all her sufferings Agatha trusts in Christ as her saviour.
Although it is highly unlikely that we will be called to die for our faith we are certainly called to live it. And this is our challenge. But as ever we need to remind ourselves that we are not alone. We have the whole company of heaven praying for us and urging us on. May St. Agatha pray for us that we, like her, may be faithful witnesses to Christ. PD