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Saint Agnes (of Rome)

A.K.A. Ines; Ines del Campo; Ynez

Born: unknown

Died: January 21 254 or 304 (sources vary) in Rome, Italy; Beheaded and Burned, or Tortured and Stabbed to Death, or Stabbed in the throat (sources vary)

Venerated: Catholic Church; Eastern Catholic Churches; Eastern Orthodox Churches; Oriental Orthodox Churches; Anglican Churches; Lutheran Church

Canonized: Pre-Congregation

Feast Day: January 21

Patronages: Affianced Couples; Betrothed Couples; Bodily Purity; Chastity; Children of Mary; Colegio Caprianica Seminary of Rome; Crops; Gardeners; Girl Scouts; Girls; Rape Victims; Virgins
Places: Manresa, Spain; Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York

Representations: Butcher; Crown of Thorns; Lamb; Woman with long Hair and Lamb, sometimes with a Sword in Her Throat; Woman with a Dove, which holds a Ring on its Beak; Woman with a Lamb at her Side

Saint Agnes suffered martyrdom during the bloody persecution of the Emperor Diocletian around 304 at the age of 13 and became one of the best known and most highly regarded of the Roman martyrs.  Her name is still retained in the First Eucharistic Prayer for Holy Mass.

The Acts of her Passion, which date back only to the 5th century, are considered to be not entirely reliable but they do tell us something about her.  The young noblemen of Rome, attracted by her wealth and beauty, vied with one another in endeavoring to obtain her hand in marriage, but she refused them all, saying that she had chosen a spouse who could not be seen with mortal eyes.  Her suitors, in hope of shaking her resolve, accused her of being a Christian.

She was brought before a judge and remained unswayed by either his kindness or his threats.  Fires were kindled, instruments of torture were placed before her eyes, but, immovable in her resolve, she surveyed them with heroic calmness.  She was sent to a house of prostitution, but the sight of her inspired such awe that not one of the wicked youths of the city dared approach her.  One bolder than the others, was suddenly struck with blindness and he fell trembling.

The youthful Saint came forth from this den of iniquity uncontaminated in mind and body, and still a pure spouse of Christ.  Her most prominent suitor was so enraged that he incited the judge still more against her.  The heroic virgin was condemned to be beheaded.  "She went to the place of execution," says Saint Ambrose, "more cheerfully than others go to their wedding."

Amid the tears of the spectators the instrument of death fell, and she went to meet the Immortal Spouse who she had loved better than her life.  She was buried on the Via Nomentana, and Constantine erected a church in her honor.

For Further Information About Saint Agnes, See CatholicSaints.Info Website

Prayer: All-powerful and ever-living God, You choose the weak in this world to confound the powerful. As we celebrate the anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Agnes, may we like her remain constant to in faith. Amen.