For fidelity to chastity I was ordered to be stretched on the rack; help me, O Lord, in the torture of my breasts. – God has chosen her, and forechosen her. He has made her to dwell in his tent.
Agatha was born in Sicily of noble parentage and martyred at Catania during the persecution of Decius. When Quintian, the Praetor of Sicily, vainly tried in every possible way to seduce her, he had her arrested on the charge of “the Christian superstition”.
She was beaten, racked, tortured with white hot metal, and her breasts were cut off. That night while she was in chains, St Peter appeared and healed her.
At her second appearance before the praetor, she would not recant, and was rolled on shards and burnt with live embers.
A violent earthquake then shook the entire city, and because he feared a riot, Quintian ordered the half-dead Agatha secretly returned to prison. There she died a short time later on the Nones of February.
– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964