The feast day of St. Agnes of Rome will be celebrated on January 21. Agnes was born in 291 and died a martyr in 304 at the age of 13.
St. Agnes was born to a noble family in Rome. She was very beautiful, however at an early age she promised her life to God, refusing marriage. The governor's son, Procop, offered to marry her, but she refused, saying "I am already promised to the Lord of the Universe. He is more splendid than the sun and the stars, and He has said He will never leave me!" Angered by rejection, Procop sentencehead d her to death.
Agnes was not afraid of death, but was joyful at the thought of meeting our Lord, saying, "He chose me first and He shall have me." She then prayed and bowed, her to receive the death stroke of the sword.
The daughter of Constantine I was said to have been cured of leprosy after praying at Agnes tomb.
In art Agnes is shown with a lamb. The lamb is a symbol of innocence and purity. In Latin, Agnes means lamb. The Greek meaning is chaste, pure, and sacred.
On the feast day of St. Agnes two lambs are brought to the Trappist Abbey in Rome. On Holy Thursday they are shorn and their wool is used to weave the palliums which the pope gives to new archbishops.
St. Jerome has written the following about St. Agnes. "All nations, especially their Christian communities, praise in word and writing the life of St. Agnes. She triumphed over her tender age as well as over the merciless tyrant. To the crown of spotless innocence she added the glory of martyrdome."
St. Ambrose gave an early account of Agnes' death, stressing her steadfastness and virginity.
Prayer to St. Agnes
All powerful and ever loving God, You choose the weak in this world to confound the powerful. When we celebrate the memory of St. Agnes, may we, like her, remain constant in our faith. Amen