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The Story of St Agnes'
Patron Saint of women, girls & young girls.
Agnes was born e292 and died e304.
According to St Augustine and St Ambrose. St Agnes was martyred at the age of 12.
Saint Agnes was a wealthy and beautiful young girl. She turned away many generous eligible suitors all in the name of her faith, for Christ was her bridegroom. Living in the time of the persecution of the Emperor Diocletian, she was under constant threat of torture and death, but she did not falter. Her resolve in the face of all these threats also strengthened the resolve of the Romans. In an attempt to break the young girl’s faith, she was sent to a brothel; however, the men sent to her could not find it within themselves to violate her. Annoyed at this news, the Roman governor sentenced her to death. At the execution she remained faithful and strong, encouraging her executioners to finish it, for she despised the beauty which brought out the lust and desires of the young Roman men.
News of this saintly girl and her courage spread wide and fast. Emperor Constantine, the first Roman emperor to accept the Christian religion thus ending the persecutions of the time, was so impressed by the legend of St Agnes that he travelled to the spot of her burial place to baptise his own daughter.
Pope Damasus adorned St Agnes’ tomb with sacred poetry. St Agnes is represented with a martyr’s palm and a lamb. On her feast day, 21 January, the Pope blesses the Pallium, a stole made of lambs wool which is presented to each Archbishop throughout the world.