The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century – Venerable Maria Agnes Clara Steiner

Article

A brave Tyrolese proved by severe sufferings meets us in the Venerable Maria Agnes Clara Steiner. She was born of poor parents on 29 August 1813, at Taisten in Pustertal, diocese of Brixen, and from her early years was favored by God with extraordinary gifts of grace. She received her First Communion at the age of nine. From this time she strengthened her soul with the Bread of Angels every week and felt such attraction for Holy Mass that she assisted at it every day in spite of a long and difficult road. The salutary influence she exercised on her companions was much praised. Her religious vocation met with many obstacles. She was sent to an uncle to work in the fields and to tend cattle and she suffered very rough treatment. As soon as she was allowed to return to her mother she made a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Absam, near Innsbruck, and prayed for the favor of admission into the convent of the Franciscan Sisters at Brunech. But such was not the will of God. They were obliged to dismiss her on account of her weak health. When in spite of this she persisted in her desire of entering a convent, the people of her village scoffed at her and looked upon her as half-witted. But her courage was not broken and later on she went to Assisi, where she was received into the convent of the Bavarian Tertiaries. She was soon esteemed one of the ablest and most virtuous Sisters in the house and was entrusted with the care of the novices. She was also highly thought of for her prudence and firmness of character.

Bishop Nicholas Piervisani of Nocera desired to restore the old convent of the Poor Clares in his city. In 1845 he asked the Apostolic See to give him Sister Agnes Steiner for this difficult task. His expectations were more than satisfied. The spirit of penance and mortification, of interior love of God and the neighbor, and of holy cheerfulness entered the ancient walls of the cloister. To other convents also the superior of Nocera extended her beneficent work of reform. How highly her subjects esteemed her is shown by the fact that they wished to give her the office of superior at Rome. The nuns regularly gave her their votes at every succeeding election. To their sorrow she was called away from this earth on 24 August 1862.

At her investment with the habit in Assisi, she had been named Sister Agnes Clara of the Wound in the Side of Jesus. The name was prophetic. Most dreadful trials, at which our human nature shudders, were destined to remind her continually of the sufferings of the wound in the side of Jesus. But she also received extraordinary graces and consolations. One who constantly abides in the wounded side of Jesus will surely partake of its rich treasures. The life of the Venerable Agnes Clara Steiner will furnish abundant material to modern mysticism. On 18 March 1909, Pius X signed the decree introducing the cause of her beatification.

MLA Citation

  • Father Constantine Kempf, SJ. “Venerable Maria Agnes Clara Steiner”. The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century: Saintly Men and Women of Our Own Times, 1916. CatholicSaints.Info. 28 March 2018. Web. 16 November 2018. <>