February 5 is the memorial of St. Agatha, patroness of Sicily, the land of my grandparents, and one of the patrons of my parish.
Because of the tortures she endured in martyrdom, St. Agatha is also patroness of women who live with diseases of the breast. Fr. Paul Zalonski has a deep devotion to the third-century martyr. He sent me a prayer card with the saint’s image on front and the following novena on back. Pass it around. Think of it as a deeply traditional version of the pink ribbon.
O glorious Saint Agatha, through whose intercession in Christ I hope for the restored health of body and soul, hasten to lead me to the true Good, God alone. By your intercession, O blessed Agatha, may I ever enjoy your protection by faithfully witnessing to Christ. You invite all who come to you to enjoy the treasure of of communion with the Holy Trinity. Moreover, if it be for God’s greater glory and the good of my person, please intercede for me with the request of [mention request here].
Saint Agatha, you found favor with God by your chastity and by your courage in suffering death for the gospel. Teach me how to suffer with cheerfulness, uniting myself to Christ crucified with a simplicity and purity of heart. Amen.
Saint Agatha, eloquent confessor of Jesus Christ as Savior, pray for me.
Saint Agatha, the martyr who says to Jesus, “possess all that I am,” pray for me.
Saint Agatha, concerned with the welfare of all God’s children, pray for me.
Saint Agatha, pray for me.
(I’ve found other prayers for breast ailments, to Christ and to Our Lady, in the book Celtic Spiritual Verse: Poems of the Western Highlanders from the Gaelic.)
Agatha’s story is in Butler, of course, and critically dissected and patristically pedigreed in the old Catholic Encyclopedia. Her images abound at Artcyclopedia.