I was born in Syracuse in Sicily, of rich and noble parents, about the year 283. My father was of Roman origin, but his early death left me dependent upon my mother, whose name was Eutychia. Like so many of the early martyrs, I had consecrated my virginity to God, and I hoped to devote all my worldly goods to the service of the poor.
My mother was not so single-minded, but an occasion offered itself when I could carry out my generous resolutions. The fame of the virgin-martyr Agatha, who had been executed fifty-two years before in the Decian persecution, was attracting numerous visitors to her relics at Catania, not fifty miles from Syracuse, and many miracles had been claimed through her intercession. My mother was therefore persuaded to go on a pilgrimage to Catania, in the hope of being cured of a haemorrhage, from which she had been suffering for several years. There she was in fact cured, and I availing myself of the opportunity, persuaded my mother to allow me to distribute a great part of her riches among the poor.
The young man to whom I had been unwillingly betrothed denounced me to Paschasius, the Governor of Sicily. This was in the year 303, during the fierce persecution of Diocletian. I was first of all condemned to suffer the shame of prostitution; but with the strength of God I stood immovable, so that they could not drag me away to the place of shame. They then decided to set me on fire. Bundles of wood were heaped about me, but once again God saved me. Finally, I met my death by the sword. But before I died I foretold the punishment of Paschasius and the speedy termination of the persecution, adding that Diocletian would reign no more, and Maximian would meet his end.
I died a virgin and a martyr, strengthened by the Eucharist.
“Those that live chastely are the temple of God, and the Holy Ghost dwells in them.”
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