Saint Agatha’s Breasts
In paintings a young Saint Agatha is often portrayed carrying her breasts on a plate before her. In more graphic depictions her breasts are being torn from her body with pincers. A consecrated virgin who lived in the 3rd century, Agatha was tortured for defending her purity and Christian beliefs by not giving in to the advances of the governor of Sicily, Quintanus who, in retaliation, ordered for her breasts to be cut off.
Today, a martyr, Saint Agatha is honoured in her birth town of Catania, Sicily, with a festival every year in February. First created by Sicilian nuns, Saint Agatha Rolls also known as mini di virgini are baked for the occasion. Made from sponge cake, ricotta and marzipan, the small round rolls are topped with a red cherry and covered in shiny pale pink icing.
A prayer to Saint Agatha:
Oh St. Agatha, who withstood the unwelcome advances from unwanted suitors, and suffered pain and torture for your devotion to Our Lord, we celebrate your faith, dignity and martyrdom. Protect us against rape and other violations, guard us against breast cancer and other afflictions of women, and inspire us to overcome adversity. Oh St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr, mercifully grant that we who venerate your sacrifice, may receive your intercession. Amen