For the next three days in Catania, Sicily’s second largest city, devotees of Sant’Agata will feverishly celebrate the virgin martyr who is identified by iconography where she is carrying her breasts on a plate. The city’s patroness (pictured as Roman soldiers attempted to burn her at the stake in this painting photographed in Scicli, Sicily) died in 251 AD.
Legend is that she was the beautiful daughter of a wealthy family from this port city that was colonized by the Greeks. A faithful Christian, Agatha (or Agnes) swore herself to Christ. Important to know, during her lifetime, Christianity was illegal under Roman rule. So, when the strong-willed young woman refused the advances of Quintianus, a Roman prefect, he arrested her on account of her religion. As punishment, she was condemned to a brothel.
Last year I wrote extensively about the feast, which I attended in 2016. To learn more about Agata and the fascinating feast celebrated annually from February 3-5, start with the post on February 1, 2017.
Long live Sant’Agata!