Short Lives of the Saints – Saint Agnes of Rome, Virgin and Martyr

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

Towards the close of the third century the beautiful maiden Agnes was born at Rome, of rich and noble parents, and dedicated to God from her very childhood. Being sought in marriage by illustrious suitors in her early girlhood, Agnes declined all the brilliant alliances tendered to her, and declared herself unalterably the spouse of Jesus Christ. Enraged at her Christian firmness, the Roman authorities subjected the virtue and modesty of the holy child to the most terrible ordeals; but the power of her Eternal Spouse protected her miraculously from the diabolical machinations of her enemies; and her fair young life was crowned with martyrdom. She perished by the sword by order of the Roman governor.

“Tear that white robe from her shoulders!” Tyrant mandates know not pity.
She droops, clothed in her own blushes – could there garments be more fair?
Lo! down-fallen from its fastenings, before all that mighty city,
She stands mantled and enshrouded in the glory of her hair.

Then swift beneath the sword-flash streams the life-blood hotly gushing:
The red current, overflowing, bathes her whiteness in its sea.
Maidens, cease your tender weeping, all your anguished sobs be hushing;
Pain is but a dream forever, and the martyr’s soul is free!
– Mrs Mannix

Favorite Practice – – To guard with extreme care and caution the holy virtue of purity.

MLA Citation

  • Eleanor Cecilia Donnelly. “Saint Agnes of Rome, Virgin and Martyr”. Short Lives of the Saints, 1910. CatholicSaints.Info. 1 April 2021. Web. 18 April 2021. <>