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St. Agnes

Saint Agnes

Virgin & Martyr

Agnes, whose name fittingly means “lamb”, was a young Roman noblewoman, born in the late third century. By the time she reached age thirteen, around the year of Our Lord 304, she was already renowned for her beauty and virtue, and many young men sought her hand in marriage. Agnes was a Christian, however, and had consecrated her virginity to God. When this unflinching resolution was made clear to her suitors, many were enraged and exposed her Christianity to the authorities. After both sly persuasions and threats of torture failed to sway the girl, the Roman governor sent her to a brothel, but all the men there fell back terrified at the sight of the virtuous maiden offering praise to God. One wicked Roman dared to try and take advantage of her, but was struck blind on the spot by a flash of lightning from heaven. Agnes then prayed over him, and his sight was restored. The governor, frustrated, ordered Agnes beheaded, a fate she accepted with joy. Long one of the most beloved virgin martyrs, Agnes is a patroness of chastity and abuse victims. Until the stripping away of several such feasts in the 1960 Roman Calendar, she was honored a second time on January 28th.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for January 21st

AT Rome, the passion of St. Agnes, virgin, who under Symphronius, governor of the city, was thrown into the fire, but as it was extinguished by her prayers, she was struck with the sword. Of her, St. Jerome writes: “Agnes is praised in the writings and by the tongues of all nations, especially in the churches. She overcame the weakness of her age, conquered the cruelty of the tyrant, and consecrated her chastity by martyrdom.”

At Athens, the birthday of St. Publius, bishop, who, as successor of St. Denis the Areopagite, nobly governed the Church of Athens. No less celebrated for the lustre of his virtues than for the brilliancy of his learning, he was gloriously crowned for having borne testimony to Christ.

At Tarragona, in Spain, during the reign of Gallienus, the holy martyrs Fructuosus, bishop, Augurius and Eulogius, deacons, who, after being thrown into prison, were cast into the fire, where their bonds being burnt, they extended their arms in the form of a cross, and consummated their martyrdom in prayer. On their anniversary, St. Augustine preached a sermon to his people.

At Troyes, St. Patroclus, martyr, who won the crown of martyrdom under the emperor Aurelian.

In the monastery of Reichenau, St. Meinrad, hermit, who was killed by brigands.

At Pavia, St. Epiphanius, bishop and confessor.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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