Since the Fourth Century, Catholics have been dedicated to Saint Agnes, the younger virgin martyr from Rome who died within the 12 months 304. Her feast day has been celebrated since 354 on January 21. Saint Agnes is among the seven girls martyr saints named within the Roman Canon of the Mass. Some of the Fathers of the Church, together with Saint Ambrose, Saint Augustine, and Saint Jerome have written about her. Saint Ambrose’s account of her life, from his Treatise on Virgins is included within the Office of Readings for the Liturgy of the Hours on Saint Agnes’ feast day.
According to the normal tales of her life, Agnes, a really religious, lovely Roman lady, had consecrated her virginity to Jesus. When she was round twelve years previous, she started to obtain proposals of marriage from some younger Roman noblemen. Agnes advised them that she belonged fully to Jesus and He was her partner. One man, the son of town prefect, was so angered by her refusal that he reported her to his father as a Christian. This was in the course of the time of the persecution of Christians by the Emperor Diocletian. Agnes demonstrated nice braveness when she was arrested and remained sturdy in her religion, regardless of being threatened with torture. Witnesses cried to see that Agnes, nonetheless a toddler, can be martyred. She, nonetheless, within the phrases of Saint Ambrose: “joyfully went to the place of punishment with hurrying step”. She didn’t even appear afraid when proven devices of torture. She was prepared to undergo for love of Jesus. When ordered to supply incense earlier than the pagan idols, Agnes refused and made the signal of the cross over their altars. The prefect then threatened to ship her to a home of prostitution. She advised him, “You could stain your sword with my blood, however you’ll by no means have the ability to profane my physique, consecrated to Christ.” God protected her as she knew He would. The males there have been in awe of her holiness and didn’t dare to go close to her. According to custom, one man both checked out her or insulted her and was immediately blinded and fell to the bottom. Agnes forgave the person and carried out the miracle of restoring his imaginative and prescient. The prefect then tried to influence her to marry. She advised him: “It can be an harm to my partner to look on anybody as prone to please me. He who selected me first for Himself shall obtain me.” Agnes even requested the executioner why he delayed. After praying, she bent her neck to be beheaded. The executioner appeared fearful and upset as he executed this harmless younger lady. Saint Ambrose wrote, “You have then in a single sufferer a twofold martyrdom, of modesty and of faith. She each remained a virgin and he or she obtained martyrdom.” Agnes’ physique was buried in Rome close to the Via Nomentana. Around 354, the Emperor Constantine’s daughter, Constantina, had a basilica constructed over her grave.
Saint Agnes is a superb function mannequin for youngsters and younger adults, particularly younger girls. In a time when too few younger folks wish to stay as trustworthy Catholics, Saint Agnes presents the instance of such love and dedication to Jesus that she was prepared to die as a martyr for the Faith. In a time when chastity just isn’t valued, Saint Agnes reveals the great thing about consecrated virginity supplied for love for Jesus. Although very younger, Saint Agnes demonstrated wonderful non secular maturity. She realized her vocation was to be a partner of Christ and remained trustworthy to her vow of virginity. She bravely proclaimed she was a Christian when arrested and gave nice witness to her religion in God. She had full belief in God to guard her virginity and to present her everlasting life with Him in heaven. With such nice religion, she was not afraid of torture or dying, and was capable of stay joyful, understanding she would quickly be with Jesus. However, Saint Agnes is not only a saint for the younger. Catholics of all ages can be taught from her story and search her intercession.
Father Ignatius, my non secular father and a priest for sixty-six years, is somebody who has had a terrific devotion to Saint Agnes since he was a toddler. He advised me that she has taken excellent care of him all his life. He had the expertise as soon as of receiving an indication of her presence. Several years in the past, when main a pilgrimage in Rome, he instantly had a robust feeling that he ought to lookup. He appeared up and noticed in entrance of him, the Church of Saint Agnes.
Saint Agnes is often depicted in artwork with a lamb. The Church has a wonderful custom of the Pope blessing two white lambs on Saint Agnes’ feast day. The lambs’ wool is used to make the pallia for the brand new archbishops within the Church.
The identify Agnes comes from the Latin phrase for lamb and the Greek phrase for purity. Agnes is a becoming identify for this saint due to her innocence and chastity. Like a bit of lamb, she adopted her Good Shepherd faithfully and desired to stay in union with Jesus, Who is the Lamb of God.
A Prayer to Saint Agnes
Almighty ever-living God,
who selected what’s weak on the planet to confound the sturdy,
that we, who have a good time the heavenly birthday of your Martyr, Saint Agnes,
could observe her fidelity within the religion.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you within the unity
of the Holy Spirit,
God without end.
(Collect of the Mass on the Memorial of Saint Agnes)
Image: Saint Agnes, Cesare Dandini. Public area.