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St Agnes

January 21, 2011

St Agnes has long been held in highest honor, as a virgin and martyr in the early Church. Her name even finds mention in the Roman Canon of the Mass. But not very much is known about her life.

Apparently Agnes came from an influential Roman family of Christian believers who faced persecution in the hostile society of the 3rd century. Like several other young women who wanted to consecrate their life to Christ, she refused marriage. This led to her being consigned to a brothel, where all who saw her were awestruck. A young man who attempted to violate her was struck blind and only recovered his sight through the saint’s prayers. Legends perhaps, but they express the popular belief that the Lord takes care of his own.

This young girl was martyred at the age of 12, and buried in her parents’ country villa outside Rome, a place which now has a beautiful church in her name.

Today Agnes is the patron of purity. Her name is related to ‘agnus’, the Latin word for ’lamb’; and therefore the offering of young life for an spiritual ideal. As such, saints like Agnes are an inspiration to us all.

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