October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Flight attendants wear jeans and pink shirts or ties. Yogurt lids and pickle jars, NFL jerseys and fireman’s uniforms take on the feminine hue. Twitter pages, calendars, and flashes of Hollywood all seem to bear the image of pink as well. Each year in America, the month of October is a reminder of the need to be ever more vigilant in early detection, unwavering support, and continued research to overcome the disease of Breast Cancer. As the leading form of cancer in women, a disease that will be diagnosed in one out of every eight women, this becomes a pro-life, pro-woman issue for our Church. The Catholic Church has always exhibited a profound respect and dignity for the feminine genius of woman; and now standing in support and solidarity for them in the face of such a terrible disease is a part of our mission to be a pro-life, pro-woman Church. And although breast cancer is far less likely in men– just under 1 in 1000 men, we stand in solidarity with them as well.
Support the Fight and Fund the Research
There are almost no families alive who have not been affected by Breast Cancer in an immediate family member or a friend who is like family to them. As we have watched heroic and courageous women fight such a disease, we recognize the moral imperative as Catholics to support the cause against breast cancer.
Sadly, Catholics are morally unable to support Komen for the Cure, the largest breast cancer research and support organization in the nation, due to their financial and material support of Planned Parenthood and their refusal to fund research indicating a link between procured abortion and breast cancer.
However, Catholics can and should consider financial support to the following organizations:
The Breast Cancer Prevention Institute
The Avon Foundation For Women
The National Breast Cancer Foundation
Pray for the Cure
Holy Trinity commits to praying for an end to this tragic disease, to supporting the women who undergo treatment, and to supporting the families who are affected by it. Prayers are included in October during the Prayer of the Faithful, reminders are included for women to schedule their mammograms, and Mass intentions are offered for a cure. In addition, families would do well to invoke the assistance of Saint Agatha, the patroness of breast cancer victims and their families.
Saint Agatha has been venerated as a virgin and martyr since the time of her death in AD 251. Besides the Blessed Virgin Mary, she is only one of seven women saints commemorated in the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer 1) and as early as the fifth century had two churches in Rome dedicated to her. Born in Sicily to a noble family, Agatha was a devout Christian who dedicated her virginity to God. Pursued by Quintianus, a prefect or governor, she rebuffed his advances. He had Agatha arrested for being a Christian and forced her to renounce Christ.
Her documented legend speaks of the brutal interrogations and torture she endured at his hand. When she refused she was imprisoned in a brothel, then a prison, stretched on the rack, burned with red hot irons and had her breasts cut off. She had a apparition of St. Peter as a physician and was miraculously healed of her wounds. Four days later upon further interrogation and to the surprise of her torturers, she was condemned to death by rolling her naked body in broken glass and hot coals. At the very moment of her final torture a great earthquake struck the region. Immediately before her death Saint Agatha was heard praying, “O Lord Jesus Christ, good Master, I give You thanks that You granted me victory over the executioners’ tortures. Grant now that I may happily dwell in Your never-ending glory”.
For more reading, go here and here.
Saint Agatha is the patron saint of breast cancer and victims of sexual assault.
O Heavenly Father,
Who raised Agatha
to the dignity of Sainthood,
we implore Your Divine Majesty
by her intercession
to give us health of mind,
body and soul.
Free us from all those things
which hold us bound to this earth,
and let our spirit, like hers,
rise to your heavenly courts.
Through Jesus Christ,
Your Son, our Lord,
Who lives and reigns
with You, forever. Amen.