St. Agatha was born of rich and noble Christian parents in Panorum (now Palermo) in Sicily, Italy. The governor of Panorum, Quintianus, under the persecution of the Roman Emperor Decius (who governed from a.d. 249-251), had the 15-year-old virgin Agatha arrested. Before she was brought to trial in Catana, she was housed with Aphrodisia, a rich pagan woman, and her daughters.
They tried to convince her to leave her faith by tempting her with entertainment, fine clothes, and other amusements, and deny Christ, but to no avail. The governor was her judge, and when St. Agatha would not renounce her faith, but rather proclaimed it boldly before him, he ordered her breasts be torn with iron hooks, and then cut off with knives. St. Peter appeared to her that night in prison and completely healed her. The next day, after more torture, she was put naked on a bed of live coals, but immediately there was an earthquake there, killing two of the prefect’s dear friends, who were approving of this torture. The people present rushed upon Quintianus to get him to stop the torture. St. Agatha then was sent back to prison, where she gave her pure soul to Christ in a.d. 251.