Faithful Virgin Martyr

St. Agnes of Rome

By Melarie Matanona
For the Umatuna Si Yu’os

St. Agnes of Rome was a beautiful girl born into a wealthy Christian family in 291 A.D. Her name, translated from Greek, means “holy” or “pure.” She is best identified with a lamb to represent her virgin innocence; however, she was known to have the attributes of a lion with her steadfast faith to Jesus Christ.

Many men tried to obtain her hand in marriage, but she was adamant in her promise to God to keep pure saying “Jesus Christ is my only Spouse.” However, her refusal to marry upset Procop, the governor’s son. Filled with anger, he reported her to his father and inculpated her for being a Christian during a time when Christians were persecuted.

The governor gave her an opportunity to deny God in exchange for gifts, but she declined. Several attempts were made to change her mind, but she persisted in her decision. This resulted in her being condemned to death.

There are legends about men lusting after her and becoming blind immediately. Another legend states that when she was bounded to a stake, the wood wouldn’t burn, or the flames parted from her.

St. Agnes is one of the youngest canonized martyrs of the Catholic Church having died at the age of 12 or 13. She’s the patron saint of young girls, chastity, rape survivors, and the Children of Mary. St. Agnes is among the handful of saints mentioned in the Roman Canon, or Eucharistic Prayer I said during Mass. Her feast day is Jan. 21.

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