St. Agnes of Rome - My Confirmation Saint!

My last two posts have been about Saints that have impacted me in some way, shape, or form recently, and they are the first of several. But the one who has been my patroness for the longest is the young girl who I chose as my Confirmation saint - Agnes of Rome.

Agnes was a beautiful daughter of a noble couple who lived in the 4th century, and, like most noble children of the time, she was effectively raised by a Nanny. This woman was a Christian, and she taught Agnes about the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord, and she taught her about the life of St. Paul and how he called young women to a life of purity, consecrated to Our Lord in a special way.

This was something that Agnes greatly desired, and so she consecrated herself and her virginity to Our Lord and said that she would take no human man. Unfortunately, by the time she was 12 or 13, her status and beauty attracted many men, among them, the son of the Prefect of the time. Steadily, she refused him, telling him that she belonged to another. When the son tried to woo her with further riches, she told him that that her soul had been made rich by the Jewels of Grace that her Lover draped her soul in, and she reiterated that she would have no spouse but Christ.

Infuriated, her suitor dragged her to his father and demanded that she recant. His father first tried to get her to recant her vow of virginity, but when she refused, he asked her to instead consecrate it to their goddess of virginity. She simply stated that it would offend her Spouse, and that she loved Him too much. Even at risk of death, she did not waver. Some documentations say that she was dragged to the altar and had the incense put in her hands. All she had to do was burn it, but instead she dropped it to the ground and made the sign of the cross.

Seeing that she would not be swayed, they wished to kill her, but the law at the time stated that young virgins couldn't be killed. So, they had her dragged through the streets naked and thrown into a brothel. But Our Lord guarded her modesty by allowing her hair to grow long to cover her nakedness, and when her suitor tried to take advantage of her, her guardian angel struck him blind. Moved to pity, Agnes forgave him and prayed that his sight would be restored, and it was. He left her alone and changed his ways because of her witness. His father too stepped down having seen the power of this little one's Spouse.

But the man who took over was not so moved, and he knew the law. He tried to kill her by fire, but the flames wouldn't touch her. Eventually, she was either beheaded or her throat was slit. She went to this death with all the joy of a bride on her wedding day. She was only 12 or 13 at the time. The people were so shocked by the death of this beautiful young girl, that they went up and mopped up her blood, burying it beside her, and they spoke out against the persecutions.

Agnes is buried on the Via Nomentana in Rome. Her name means either "Lamb" or "Victim" and she was both for her heavenly spouse.

Now, in honesty? I chose her because I was a 13 year old girl and she was a 13 year old girl. She was the patroness of girls, and I was a girl. She stood up for her faith, and mine had recently begun to be attacked. My though process didn't go much past that. But more recently, I have begun to see more and more why I chose her - or more accurately, she chose me.

She is the patroness of the Children of Mary, and I have begun to see more and more how Mary is truly my Mother (more on that later.) She was strong in a world where everyone was against her. She never wavered even when not just her life but her dignity was attacked. She had the backbone of St. Catherine of Siena (post on her to come) but she also had the meekness and gentleness of St. Therese . She had zeal for Our Lord, but she never raised her voice or stomped her feet to make her point. She simply lived and loved her Spouse.

She was also a symbol of purity and chastity in a world where that was not accepted. She stood her ground and didn't allow anyone to tell her that innocence and purity were wrong. She did not partake of crude language, she did not dress or act immodestly, and for that, Our Lord blessed her by preserving her modesty. In our world of rampant sexuality and promiscuity, she is a beacon of light and a model to follow.

I may never be forced to stand my ground quite so dramatically as she, but I have to stand my ground every day. And every day, I am challenged to love in the manner that she loved. To end, I am going to quote St. Therese, for her prayer is mine as well:
"At any price I wish to gain the palm of St. Agnes, if not by blood, it must be done by love." 
St. Agnes, chaste and pure, Spouse of the Lamb, pray for us!


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