Every good catanian inhabitant is devoted to Sant'Agata and admires in her the ideal of every human and Christian virtue. Agata belonged to a noble and wealthy family. When she was only a girl, she was asked in bride by the consul Quinziano that had fallen in love because of her beauty, but all of its applications were firmly rejected by the young girl that had consecrated his virginity to Christ. Consul Quinziano's love was transformed then in blind hate and so he submitted Agata to the cruellest tortures. It also tried to taint her with the help of a perverted woman: Afrodisia, but all of its attempts failed. This immoral woman was introduced to Quinziano and told him: "It is easier to soften the stones that to fold up the soul of this Christian girl". The young girl resisted to all the traps and torments; it suffered the rack and the cut of the breasts and with great courage reproached his jailer: "Impious and cruel tyrant are you ashamed to tear in a woman what you have sucked one day from the breast of your mother?". In the jail she was consoled and restored by the apostle S. Pietro. It suffered then the martyrdom of the fire and of the burning carbons. During this martyrdom a woman covered her with his veil that didn't burn: it is the so-called << Veil of Sant'Agata >> of dark red color that several times, during the centuries, stopped the incandescent lava of the Etna. The last miracle was in 1887, when the prodigious veil, brought to Nicolosi by the Servant of God Archbishop Cardinal Dusmet, got the grace to stop the lava in the proximities of the town as it attests the niche built on the place to testimony the prodigy. The Virgo martyr died the 5 February 251 after having suffered the martyrdom of the fire. The Actions tell in this way: <<Then Sant'Agata entered again the jail, widened his arms and said: God that have created me and guarded me by my infancy, and that in the youth have made me act virilely; that removed from me the love of the century, that preserved my body from the contamination, that made me win the executioner's torments, the iron, the fire and the chains, that gave to me, among the torments, the virtue of the patience; now I beg you to welcome my spirit: because it is already time that I leave this world for your command and reach your mercy: said these words in presence of many persons, died >>. The relics of the Saint, stolen in 1040 by the general Byzantine Giorgio Maniace, were brought to Constantinople where they remained till 1126. In this year, the Bishop of that time Maurizio tells that Sant'Agata appeared many times to a French officer Giliberto, that was in Constantinople and she ordered to him to take her body and to bring it to Catania. Called in help, the friend Goselino, together with << praiseworthy theft >> they abducted it and after varied circumstances redelivered it to Catania to the Bishop Maurizio: it was August 7 th 1126, when the sacred relics finally entered triumphally the Cathedral in Catania among the exultation of the catanian people; because of this year, on August 17, the cheerful memory of this great event is renewed in Catania. Today the sacred limbs of the martyr Sant'Agata are preserved in 9 shrines: one for the head and the bust; two for the hands and the arms; two for the femurs; two for the feet and the legs; one for the sacred breast; one for the Saint Veil.
|Agata (Saint), from the Greek Agatos, means good; of good family.|