to St. Augustine and St. Ambrose, St. Agnes was martyred at the age of
12. Pope Damasus adorned her tomb with sacred poetry. St. Agnes is
usually represented with a palm and a lamb as symbols of her martyrdom.
On her feast day (January 21) the Pope blesses the Pallium, a stole
made from lambs wool which is worn by metropolitans. St. Agnes is the
Patron Saint of girls and young women.
Saint Agnes was a wealthy
and beautiful young girl. She turned away many generous eligible
suitors, all in the name of her faith, for Christ was her bridegroom.
Living in the time of the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian, she was
under constant threat of torture and death, but she did not falter. Her
resolve in the face of all of these threats also strengthened the
resolve of the Romans. In an attempt to break the young girl of her
faith, many men were sent to harm her but they could not find it within
themselves to hurt her. Annoyed at this news, the Roman governor had her
sentenced to death. At the execution she remained faithful and strong,
encouraging her executioners to finish it, for she despised the beauty
which brought out the desires of the young Roman men.
this saintly young girl and her courage spread wide and fast. Emperor
Constantine, the first Roman emperor to accept the Christian religion
thus ending the persecutions of the time, was so impressed by the legend
of Saint Agnes that he traveled to the spot of her burial place to
baptize his own daughter.