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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

“I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you" (Jn 13:34)

- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month


Saint Agatha

Feast Day - February 5

One of the most highly venerated virgin martyrs of Christian antiquity, Saint Agatha of Sicily was put to death during the persecution of Decius (250-253) in Catania, Sicily, for her steadfast profession of faith.

Saint Agatha was born at Catania, Sicily, and she was martyred in approximately 251. She is one of seven women, who along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, are commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.

According to Maltese tradition, during the persecution of Roman Emperor Decius (AD 249-251), Agatha, together with some of her friends, fled from Sicily, and took refuge in Malta. Some historians believe that her stay on the island was rather short, and she spent her days in a rock hewn crypt at Rabat, praying and teaching the Christian Faith to children.

St. Agatha's family lived in Sicily and were rich and important. Young and beautiful, she lived a life dedicated to God. St. Agatha refused marriage proposals from all the men who asked. Quintian the magistrate believed himself to be of high enough rank to be worthy of her affection, but she refused him too. Knowing she was a Christian in a time of persecution, he had her arrested and brought before the judge - himself. He expected her to give in to when faced with torture and possible death, but she simply affirmed her belief in God by praying: "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."

When Decius announced the edicts against Christians, Quintian tried to profit by Agatha's sanctity; he planned to blackmail her into sex in exchange for not charging her for being a Christian. She still refused him. Quintian imprisoned her in a brothel in order to get her to change her mind. He brought her back before him after she had suffered a month of assault and humiliation in the brothel, but Agatha had never wavered, proclaiming that her freedom came from Jesus.

Quintian sent her to prison, instead of back to the brothel - a move intended to make her more afraid, but which probably was a great relief to her. When she continued to profess her faith in Jesus, Quintian had her tortured - she was beaten, imprisoned, tortured, and St. Agatha's breasts were crushed and cut off.

She told the judge, "Cruel man, have you forgotten your mother and the breast that nourished you, that you dare to mutilate me this way?" Quintian refused her any medical care, but God gave her the relief she needed in the form of a vision of Saint Peter who then healed her wounds.

Imprisoned further, then rolled on live coals, she was near death when an earthquake struck. In the destruction, the magistrate's friend was crushed, which frightened the magistrate and he fled. Brave, Saint Agatha thanked God for an end to her pain, and died, after saying a final prayer: "Lord, my Creator, you have always protected me from the cradle; you have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Receive my soul."

Because one of the tortures she endured was to have her breasts cut off, she is often depicted carrying her breasts on a plate. Catania, Sicily is the location of the martyrdom of Saint Agatha as well as her birthplace. She is their patron saint.

Legend says that carrying her veil, taken from her tomb in Catania, in procession has averted eruptions of Mount Etna. Saint Agatha is the patron saint of Malta, they prayed for her intercession which saved Malta from Turkish invasion in 1551. She is also considered the patroness of bellmakers for an unknown reason - though some speculate it may have something to do with the fact that bells were used as fire alarms.

Besides being the patron saint of fires and bell-founders, she is also the patron saint of breast cancer patients, martyrs, wet nurses, rape victims, jewellers, martyrs, natural disasters, single laywomen, sterility, torture victims, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and eruptions of Mount Etna.

Prayer: Saint Agatha, you suffered sexual assault and indignity because of your faith. Help heal all those who are survivors of sexual assault and protect those women who are in danger. Amen.

Divine Updates


Divine comes to Chennai with the 'Magnificat on March 10, 2018. Fr. Jacob Arimpur VC will lead the services. With special sessions for children.

Venue: Stella Maris College, Cathedral Road

MAGNIFICAT in Bangalore

Celebrate an evening with our Lord in Bangalore at the 'Magnificat' on March 17, 2018. Services to be led by Fr Jacob Arimpur VC. All are welcome. Music by Glen and Teresa La'Rive.

Venue: St. Joseph's Boys' School Chapel, Museum Road, Bangalore

38th National Youth Retreat

Our annual National Youth Retreat will be held at the Divine Retreat Centre. Come and let the word of God refresh you. Simultaneous retreats for couples, children and Bible nursery to be held. Contact Divine Youth for more details.

Date: May 20 - 25, 2018

Kannada Convention 2018

Divine Retreat Centre will conduct our annual Kannada convention in May, 2018 The convention will be blessed by the vibrant preaching of many anointed servants of God. Please come.

Date: May 6 - May 11, 2018

Konkani Convention - Kuttumb Utsov 2018

Divine Retreat Centre's annual Konkani Convention will be held at the centre. The convention will be led by Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC, Director. Talks to focus mainly on the renewal of the family. All are welcome.

Date: April 22 - April 27, 2018

Retreats at the Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby, Sydney

Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby to hold retreats throughout 2017. For bookings, email Fr Roni George, Director - Hurry, as admission is limited.

Date: January 2018 - December, 2018

Retreats in Divine Retreat Centre, UK

Divine Retreat Centre, Ramsgate UK, has announced several English and Malayalam language retreats to be led by Fr. George Panackal VC and Fr. Joseph Edattu VC. All are welcome.

Dates: Jan - Dec, 2018

Hindi Convention Ojas 2018

The Divine Retreat Centre will conduct our eighth Hindi convention, in 2018. Two retreats will be held simultaneously on the campus; one for adults and another for couples and youth. All are welcome.

Date: May 27 - June 1, 2018

Divine Retreats in Australia

Fr. Michael Payyapilly will lead several special retreats across Australia - in Brisbane, Hobart, Sydney and Melbourne. Please bring your family and friends. Hear the Word and be refreshed. 

Date: February 19 - March 4, 2018

Divine Retreat Schedules


English retreats are held every week from Sunday to Friday. Special retreats are conducted for priests, religious and laity as well. Come and experience the Lord and grow in Him.


Inner healing retreats, growth retreats, couples' retreats and youth retreats in Malayalam, are led by Fr. Mathew Elavumkal, Fr. Mathew Naickomparambil and Fr. Binoy Chackanikunnel.


Retreats in Konkani, Kannada, Tamil, Hindi and Telugu

Every week, retreats are held in five different regional languages of India, apart from in the local language - Malayalam. The retreats are led by Vincentian priests and supported by powerfully anointed laity of God.

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