If you are a practicing Catholic, you’re most likely aware that there are patron saints for almost every endeavor and profession, including nursing. The patron saint of nurses is none other than St. Agatha of Sicily.
Patron saints are considered role models and special guardians of a certain aspect of your life. St. Agatha of Sicily has been the saint whom nurses look up to because of her noble acts and values. She embodies a kind of character that every nurse recognizes and hopes to embrace. At the same time, she is a symbol of hope for those who need reassurance, especially during hard times.
Allow us to share with you the life of the patron saints for nurses.
St. Agatha of Sicily’s Life Story
Born in a rich and noble family, St. Agatha of Sicily grew up to be noticeably beautiful. However, despite having such a mesmerizing beauty, she chose to become a consecrated virgin. It is a state in life where a woman vows to become celibate and offers herself wholly to Jesus and His Church.
Even if she chose a life of celibacy, some men did not stop pursuing her, including the Roman Senator named Quintianus. He used his political position to propose to St. Agatha for a sexual relationship and, eventually, marriage. As opposed to his expectations, St. Agatha kept turning his proposals down for she was highly devoted to God and no one else.
Upset by St. Agatha’s constant rejection, Quintianus arranged a plan that would put her life at stake. He made use of the edict that would persecute Christians as his tool to lure St. Agatha in committing to him in exchange for protection. He thought that she would submit knowing that she is a devoted Christian. Unfortunately, St. Agatha did not bother.
Quintianus was disgusted by the continuous refusal, so she had her arrested and brought before a court whose judge was himself. In spite of all the trials he bestowed on her, St. Agatha remained steadfast and continued to exclaim her faith saying: “Jesus Christ, Lord of all, you see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am. I am your sheep: make me worthy to overcome the devil.”
Due to her persistence, the angered Quintianus ordered to imprison her in a brothel where she was assaulted for a month. Not long after, she was asked to be brought to Quintianus again for an interrogation. Much to his surprise, St. Agatha kept insisting on her faith and virtue which she longed to keep for life. This made Quintianus furiously frustrated that she had her imprisoned again. This time, he ordered to torture her. St. Agatha was whipped, torn up with iron hooks, and burned with torches according to Quintianus orders in hopes that she would finally submit to him.
Surprisingly, she endured all the suffering and continued to proclaim Jesus as her savior. This unwavering fortitude made Quintianus decide to have her breasts be cut off. After this, St. Agatha was sent back to prison with no food nor medical help. While enduring all the hardships, she believed that the Lord was her protector. St. Agatha then had a vision of the Apostle Paul whom she believed miraculously healed her wounds.
Quintianus knew about the healing of her wounds and disregarded the news. Instead, he went off to order that St. Agatha would be stripped naked while rolling over on a bed of hot coals with sharp shards. When she was returned back to the prison after an earthquake that shook the officials, St. Agatha continued in her devotion and prayed “Lord, my Creator, you have ever protected me from the cradle; you have taken me from the love of the world, and given me patience to suffer: receive now my soul.”
She was believed to have died around the year 251.
St. Agatha’s Resilience: Becoming the Patron Saint of Nurses
How did she become the patron saint for nurses? St. Agatha’s admirable resilience during her struggles made her an emblem of resilience for nurses who must also bear the same enduring character during tough times. St. Agatha of Sicily is a constant reminder to them that all the difficulties they would face are worth enduring because these are for a great cause.
Aside from being the patron saint of nursing, she is also the patron saint of rape victims, wet nurses, breast cancer patients, bellfounders, and the region of Sicily in Italy. Her feast day is celebrated every February 5.
Below is the prayer of St. Agatha:
“Saint Agatha, you suffered sexual assault and indignity because of your faith and purity. Help heal all those who are survivors of sexual assault and protect those women who are in danger. Amen.”
St. Agatha of Sicily Necklaces: Symbol of Resilience
If you want to reminisce and remember St. Agatha’s resilience as you go on with your daily life as a nurse, here are some St. Agatha necklaces that we recommend. They are also perfect as gifts for other nurses whom you think will find inspiration from the life of this woman of goodwill and virtues.
Realig St. Agatha Nursing Patron Catholic Necklace Silver Tone Pendant (1)
This simple yet elegant necklace is made of metal alloys. A classic illustration of St. Agatha of Sicily vividly sits inside a round high-quality pendant tray. The printed image is covered with a crystal-clear cabochon that helps to magnify the image.
F A Dumont Sterling Silver St. Agatha/Nurse Pendant Necklace (2)
This sterling silver necklace that takes inspiration from the well-known patron saint of nurses is the perfect companion when you are feeling down in your life as a nurse. The Cuban chain and oblong-shaped pendant with a caduceus symbol at the back is a classic piece to own.
Let the virtues of St. Agatha of Sicily guide you on your journey to serve others with dedication. We are wishing for strength and wisdom to all our brave nurses out there!