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St. Agnes

Today is the feast of St. Agnes of Rome, virgin and martyr. I have a special devotion to little Agnes. Both my mom and my eldest daughter are named for her. I visit her relics whenever I’m in Rome. One of Agnes’s two Roman churches is the subject of a beautiful recent book, The Geometry of Love: Space, Time, Mystery, and Meaning in an Ordinary Church. Agnes is remarkable among the early martyrs because of the abundance of testimony that appears so soon after her death. Ambrose, Augustine, and Prudentius all tell the story of her life. Constantine built a basilica as her memorial. What great witnesses.

I agree, for sentimental reasons, with the historians who speculate that it was the public torture of this lovely, innocent little girl, from a noble family, that turned the tide of public opinion in favor of the Christians. In that act, pagan Rome saw itself clearly and didn’t like what it saw. It was the tipping point. (There’s no way to prove such an hypothesis, of course. But if you’d like to step outside…)

Jeff Ziegler gives us these links:

St. Agnes (d. c. 303), virgin and martyr.
— St. Ambrose on St. Agnes (De Virginibus: see chap. 2).
— Today’s readings where the memorial is kept with special devotion, 1 Cor. 1:26-31 and Mt. 13:44-46.
— Vicente Marsip, “Martyrdom of St. Agnes” (1540s).

I posted links, too, last year, including an MP3 interview (scroll down toward the bottom).

UPDATE: Maureen, too, has posted good stuff.

4 thoughts on “St. Agnes

  1. Margaret Visser who authored Geometry of Love (this book is on my top 10 list – read it) did an interview with Vatican Radio about 2 years ago. It was about Agnes as well as the virgin martyrs. I’ve tried to find it online as I would love to download it but so far have had no success in finding it. Should someone find it please pop me an e-mail. Thanks

  2. Ooh, I like the sound of that. Don’t spread the link by email. Post it here!

  3. I think I forgot to post a link to a Latin Poetry Podcast, from 2006, which has some of Prudentius’ Agnes poem. (In Latin.)

  4. […] Fathers of the Church: Special Devotion to Saint Agnes […]

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