Christianity was illegal during Agata’s life in the early 3rd Century AD. So, when she refused the advances of the Roman prefect Quintianus, he arrested her and condemned her to a brothel as punishment. Having sworn herself to God, she protested participating in the activities of the brothel. As a result, Agata was thrown into jail (They say, at this site, Bastione del Santo Carcere, photographed, which I visited in January.). The virgin was then subjected to torture, which included the amputation of her breasts. She resisted the violence against her–legend says that she proudly and loudly prayed to Christ for support. Her prayers were answered, and St. Peter visited her in a vision, offering her comfort and healing her wounds.
Hearing of her unwavering faith, the furious Quintianus ordered Agatha to be stripped and rolled over hot coals and then burned at the stake; however, an earthquake interrupted the ceremony, and she was spared from that grim fate. Still her wounds were many, and once she returned to prison, Agata prayed to God to be taken peacefully. She died soon after. The year was 251 AD.