Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 21 January

detail of the Saint Agnes of Rome stained glass window, Saint Joseph's Cathedral, Macon, Georgia, USA; artist unknown; photographed by the author, summer 2003Saint Agnes, Virgin, Martyr

Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome and other Doctors of the Church have highly exalted this holy virgin, as summing up in her life all the glories of the virgin martyrs; the delicacy of their purity, the firmness of their faith, the ardor of their love for Christ their Spouse, the firmness and boldness of their answers to their oppressors. At the age of thirteen, she hastened to execution as to a marriage feast, adorned, not with flowers, but with virtues. Not knowing what death is, she was ready to meet it in order to bear witness to her faith in Jesus. The flames to which she was at first condemned spared her, with that kind of knowledge of the rights of their Creator and eagerness to defend them which has belonged to material things from the time of their creation, and all their fury was turned against the pagans. The judge then condemned her to be beheaded. Saint Agnes prayed and bowed her head serenely, the executioner alone trembled. At last he gave the blow and the saint fell, covered with blood as with a royal nuptial robe, a martyr to faith and to virginity. Many holy Dominican nuns, especially Saint Agnes of Montepulciano, had a great devotion to her and loved to bear her name, which recalls Jesus – the Saint of God, the model of innocence and sweetness.

Prayer

“I love Christ and I will serve Him only.” (words of Saint Agnes, Virgin, Martyr)

Practice

In your intercourse with others, relate some instance of the love of Jesus for souls, or of the love of some souls for Jesus.