Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
Feast day: January 21
Young Saint Agnes is
one of the most famous of the early Roman martyrs. Her name means 'lamb'
or 'victim' in Latin and 'pure' in Greek. Remember that Jesus is
sometimes called the “lamb of God.”
Agnes lived in Rome at a time (304) when it was against the law to be
Christian. She was young, wealthy and beautiful.
Agnes had made a promise, a promise to
God never to stain her purity. Her love for the Lord was very great and
she hated sin even more than death! Since she was very beautiful, many
young men wished to marry Agnes, but she would always say, "Jesus Christ
is my only Spouse."
Governor's son, became very angry when she refused him. He had tried to
win her for his wife with rich gifts and promises, but the beautiful
young girl kept 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!" In great anger, Procop accused her of
being a Christian and brought her to his father, the Governor. The
Governor promised Agnes wonderful gifts if she would only deny God, but
Agnes refused. He tried to change her mind by putting her in chains, but
her lovely face shone with joy. Next he sent her to a place of sin, but
an Angel protected her.
she was condemned to death. Even the pagans cried to see such a young
and beautiful girl going to death. Yet, Agnes was as happy as a bride on
her wedding day. She did not pay attention to those who begged her to
save herself. "I would offend my Spouse," she said, "if I were to try to
please you. He chose me first and He shall have me!" Then she prayed and
bowed her head for the death-stroke of the sword.
basilica was built in her honor over the place where she was buried
about 50 years after she died. For centuries, two lambs have been
brought to the church and blessed every year. The lambs are then reared
in a cloister. When they have grown into sheep, their wool is used to
make stoles. The Pope sends these stoles to archbishops to wear on their
shoulders as symbols of the sheep carried by the Good Shepherd.