There’s no doubt that men dominate the annual activities of Catania’s Feast of Sant’Agata. The rituals that I’ve explained over the past few days are designed to display devotees’ physical strength and fortitude in tribute to the virgin martyr – – through expressions of traditionally male strength. However, in the past few years, women have claimed their place in the streets too. I was so happy to meet these young Catanese pictured, who were dressed in the white tunics and black velvet caps that had traditionally been reserved only for men. They welcomed me into the flock with open arms as we celebrated the saint and her exemplary life and tragic death (That’s me, second from the right) . Now, I can’t imagine these sisters shrinking in the face of adversity, having grown up knowing the strength their patroness exemplified. Most likely, they simply express their strengths through different means.