According to “Saint Agnes of Rome,” from Marypages.com, Saint Agnes of Rome was born on January 28, 292, and died at the age of twelve. She was raised by a Christian family, and her name means “pure” in Greek, and “lamb” in Latin. She is also known as Ines, Ines de Campo, and Ynez. Her feast day is January 21, in honor of the day she was killed (Terry H. Jones, “Saint Agnes of Rome”).
Saint Agnes was a beautiful young girl, who at the age of twelve was asked to marry a prefect’s son. He offered her gifts, but she refused. She claimed she had a spouse who loved her, and she could not marry him. Agnes told the prefect’s son that she was married to Jesus Christ (Creative Commons).
According to “Saint Agnes Church Biography”, from Creative Commons Attribution, the prefect’s son was devastated when he heard her reply, and his father, the prefect, spoke to Saint Agnes. The prefect asked her why she would not marry his son, to which she replied she already had a spouse. When he learned she was a Christian from one of her servants, he was pleased, for now he had power over her. The prefect offered Agnes one of two choices, either she would sacrifice to his pagan gods, or she would be sent to the brothel and raped. Saint Agnes refused to worship his false gods, and so she was sent to the brothel, where she said God would protect her (Creative Commons).
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When she chose the brothel the prefect was furious, and had her stripped of her clothes. She was taken to the brothel, but God gave her grace, and the hairs upon her head began to grow. They grew until they covered her entire body, from her head to her feet, and her body could not be seen by the men who might harm her. At the brothel, Saint Agnes found an angel sent from
God to protect her. This angel shielded her in a bright light, so men would not see her, nor harm
her. Agnes prayed to God and He gave her white garments, which she wore and thanked Him
for in prayer (Creative Commons).
God protected Saint Agnes, so while she was in the brothel, only one man tried to violate her. This man was the prefect’s son (Leo’s Design). According to St Agnes Church Biography, the prefect’s son was struck dead when he attempted to violate her (Creative Commons), but according to Saint Agnes of Rome, the prefect’s son was only struck blind (Leo’s Design). However, both sources agree that after the prefect’s son was harmed, Agnes prayed to God, and He revived the prefect’s son.
When the bishops of the idols heard of Agnes’ deed, they cried for her death, calling her a sorceress. The prefect did not want to kill Agnes, because she had saved his son, so he delivered her to his lieutenant. The prefect’s lieutenant chose to satisfy the people by burning Agnes to death. However, the flames parted around her and did not touch her, so she was not harmed. When this did not work, the lieutenant took a sword to her body (Creative Commons). Saint Agnes was martyred by being stabbed or beheaded (Terry H. Jones, “Saint Agnes of Rome”).
After Saint Agnes’ death, Saint Emerentiana buried her (Creative Commons). Saint Emerentiana was Agnes’s foster sister. Agnes was buried next to the Via Nomentana in Rome. Next to her grave is a church, dedicated to her by Constantine’s daughter (Leo’s Design). Constantine’s daughter had a church built for Saint Agnes, because when she was praying one time, she fell asleep at Agnes’ grave. While she was asleep, Agnes appeared in her dream and said to her, “Constance, work constantly, and if thou wilt believe in Christ, thou shalt anon be delivered of thy sickness,” (Creative Commons). When she awoke, Constantine’s daughter was cured of the leprosy she had been suffering from and was whole. Constantine’s daughter was
baptized, and had a church built by Agnes’ grave. It is said that Agnes appeared to others as well
as Constantine’s daughter at her grave or church. After her burial, Agnes was said to have
appeared to her parents with a multitude of virgins, and she told her parents that they should not mourn her, for she is with her spouse and love, Jesus Christ (Creative Commons).
Another appearance Saint Agnes made was to a priest of her church, who wanted to get married. This priest had asked the pope to be relieved of his services so that he might marry. The pope instead gave him a ring to give to Saint Agnes, and told him to ask her to be his wife. The priest did so, and an image in the church accepted the ring. To this day that ring is on one of the images of Saint Agnes in her church (Creative Commons).
Today, on Saint Agnes’ feast day, two lambs are blessed at her church in Rome, Italy, and then their wool is sheered. The wool from the two lambs is woven into the palliums that the pope gives to the archbishops as a symbol of their jurisdiction (Leo’s Design).
Saint Agnes is the patron saint of many things, including girls, engaged couples, the Children of Mary, rape victims, and virgins (Leo’s Design). According to William Benton, she is mentioned in the canon of the Roman mass (330).
I chose to do my report on Saint Agnes of Rome because ever since I was in second grade I have wanted to be confirmed as Agnes, after this saint. I used to go to a school called Saint Agnes, and I loved and learned about her there. Saint Agnes could have chosen a pleasant, easy life and married the prefect’s son, but she chose not to because of her love for Jesus Christ. Agnes traveled the hardest part of her journey alone except for God, because her parents probably did not support her decision, and many people probably thought she was a sorceress. It must have been even harder because Christians were persecuted more readily then than they are today. Saint Agnes loved and trusted God completely, and that, even without the fear of death, is always hard, even today. She believed in God completely, and he saved and protected her from
all bodily harm until the sword that killed her. I can’t say for others, but I know that I admire her
bravery, and wish I could be more like her. I know that when I hear Saint Agnes’ story it reminds
me that anything is possible with God, and it gives me strength to complete whatever challenge may face me.
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