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If you are familiar with the Catholic faith, you’ll learn that there is a patron saint for nearly every profession out there, including a patron saint of nurses! Patron saints are chosen as special protectors or guardians over special parts of our life. Maybe you’ll find it reassuring, as you are having a rough day full of unexpectedness and difficulties, that someone is looking out for you in these difficult times!
Who is the Patron Saint of Nurses?
The patron saint of nurses is Saint Agatha of Sicily. She was born around 231 AD in Sicily to a wealthy family. She is one of the most highly regarded virgin martyrs of the Catholic faith.
The Life of Saint Agatha of Sicily – the Patron Saint of Nurses
From a child, Agatha was known for her beauty. She chose to become a consecrated virgin, which is the when young ladies would opt for celibacy, devoting themselves to Jesus and the church.
Unfortunately, being a good-looking woman had its downsides in this era when it comes to personal freedom. A high-ranking Roman Senator, Quintianus, struck a fancy with her and had devised a plan to force her into sexual relations with him.
At the time, Decius, the Roman Emperor, had announced an edict to persecute Christians. Quintianus, knowing Agatha was a very devoted Christian, offered her a deal. He would hide her during the persecution of Christians in exchange for a sexual relationship and possible marriage between them. Agatha rejected these advances and Quintianus had her arrested and brought before a judge. Clearly this was not a fair court, as Quintianus himself was the judge!
Agatha continued to reaffirm her faith even in court, exclaiming “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.”
Quintianus, still believing he could break her from her faith, had her imprisoned in a brothel for an entire month, where she was assaulted and suffered numerous efforts made to get her to denounce her god. When brought to Quintianus again, she reaffirmed her faith, and he sent her to a prison, which, again, did not lead her astray from her strict adherence to God. Enraged, Quintianus ordered for her to be tortured. She was whipped, burned with torches, and torn up with iron hooks, all to no avail. It was then that Quintianus ordered for her breasts to be cut off and sent back to the prison with no medical care or food.
While in prison and suffering from her torture and breast wounds, Agatha had a vision of Saint Peter, who miraculously healed her wounds. Quintianus had her sentenced to burn at the stake, but as she was scheduled to burn, there was an earthquake that sent the officials running to seek shelter. They put her back in the prison, but she died not too long after, around the year 251.
How did Saint Agatha Become the Patron Saint of Nurses?
Due to Saint Agatha’s marked resilience during such times, she became the patron saint of nurses, as they must also call on resilience to daily hardships. Saint Agatha is also the patron saint of Sicily, bellfounders, breast cancer patients, wet nurses, and rape victims. Her feast day is to be celebrated on February 5th.
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Patron Saint of Nurses Necklace
If you found Saint Agatha’s story remarkable or would like to remember and feel her resilience as you are going about your role as a nurse, here are some patron saint of nurses necklaces that you may love for yourself or as a gift to other nurses out there! If you found this interesting, consider reading on about more of the nursing symbols.
Looking for more nursing graduation gifts? Consider these top nursing pins for pinning ceremonies!