» Blog Archive » Saint Agnes of Rome

Today is the Feast Day of St Agnes, and early Church martyr.  She is also the patronal saint of myself, my mother and my maternal grandmother.  I was always facinated by her as a child, as I was named for her, and when I tunred 12 and 13, the age at which she was martyred, I fully expected something similar to happen to me, and I hoped that I would live up to her example.  Another favorite saint of mine, Joan of Arc, was first blessed by God with the voices of St. Michael the Archangel and that of Sts Catherine and margaret, wt the same age as St. Agnes’ martyrdom.


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Saint Agnes of Rome

[Saint Agnes of Rome]
Also known as

  • Ines
  • Ines del Campo
  • Ynez



Foster-sister of Saint Emerentiana. At age 12 or 13 Agnes was ordered to sacrifice to pagan gods and lose her virginity by rape. She was taken to a Roman temple to Minerva (Athena), and when led to the altar, she made the Sign of the Cross. She was threatened, then tortured when she refused to turn against God. Several young men presented themselves, offering to marry her, whether from lust or pity is not known. She said that to do so would be an insult to her heavenly Spouse, that she would keep her consecrated virginity intact, accept death, and see Christ. Martyr. Mentioned in first Eucharistic prayer. On her feast day two lambs are blessed at her church in Rome, Italy and then their wool is woven into the palliums (bands of white wool) which the pope confers on archbishops as symbol of their jurisdiction.


Name Meaning

  • chaste; lamb; pure one






Additional Information


Christ made my soul beautiful with the jewels of grace and virtue. I belong to Him whom the angels serve. Saint Agnes

Today is the birthday of a virgin; let us imitate her purity. It is the birthday of a martyr; let us offer ourselves in sacrifice. It is the birthday of Saint Agnes, who is said to have suffered martyrdom at the age of twelve. There was little or no room in that small body for a wound. Yet she shows no fear of the blood-stained hands of her executioners. She offers her whole body to be put to the sword by fierce soldiers. She is too young to know of death, yet is ready to face it. Dragged against her will to the altars, she stretches out her hands to the Lord int he midst of the flames, making the triumphant sign of Christ the victor on the altars of sacrilege. She puts her neck and hands in iron chains, but no chain can hold fast her tiny limbs. In the midst of tears, she sheds no tears herself. She stood still, she prayed, she offered her neck. You could see fear in the eyes of the executioner, as if he were the one condemned. His right hand trembled, his face grew pale as he saw the girl’s peril, while she had no fear for herself. One victim, but a twin martyrdom, to modesty and religion; Agnes preserved her virginity and gained a martyr’s crown. – from an essay On Virgins by Saint Ambrose of Milan

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