Tag Archives: St Agnes


St Agnes, virgin and martyr; feast day: January 21

Let us keep with joy the feast of this most holy Virgin, and call to mind the holy passion of blessed Agnes; in her thirteenth year she overcame death and found life,*

Because she loved the only giver of life.

V. Reckoned but a child in years, she understood more than the ancients.

From the book of St Ambrose, Bishop, on Virgins

This is a virgin’s birthday; let us then follow the example of her chastity. It is a Martyr’s birthday; let us then offer sacrifices. It is the birthday of the holy Agnes; let men then be filled with wonder, little ones with hope, married women with awe, and the unmarried with emulation. But how shall I set forth the glory of her whose very name is an utterance of praise?

St Agnes was holy beyond her years

It seems to me that this being, holy beyond her years, received the name of Agnes, not as an earthly designation, but as a revelation from God of what she was to be. The virgin’s name is an appellation of modesty.

Her name is an appellation of modesty

I will call her a Martyr; I have praised her enough. Copious is that praise, which is not sought after but is given by others. None is more praiseworthy than she, for whose praise all mouths are fitted. There are as many heralds proclaiming her praise, as there are men who speak of her as a Martyr. Tradition says that she suffered martyrdom at the age of thirteen. Detestable, indeed, the cruelty that spared not so tender an age; but great was the power of faith that could find even children as witnesses.

– From The Roman Breviary, an approved English translation of the official text of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, 1964




Tags: , , ,


O sweetest Lord Jesus Christ, source of all virtues, lover of virgins, most powerful conqueror of demons, most severe extirpator of vice!

Deign to cast thine eyes upon my weakness, and through the intercession of Mary most blessed, Mother and Virgin, and of thy beloved spouse St Agnes, glorious virgin and martyr, grant me the aid of thy heavenly grace, in order that I may learn to despise all earthly things, and to love what is heavenly; to oppose vice and to be proof against temptation; to walk firmly in the path of virtue, not to seek honours, to shun pleasures, to bewail my past offences, to keep far from the occasions of evil, to keep free from bad habits, to seek the company of the good, and persevere in righteousness, so that, by the assistance of thy grace, I may deserve the crown of eternal life, together with St Agnes and all the saints, forever and ever, in thy kingdom. Amen.


Tags: , ,


Almighty and everlasting God, you choose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. Grant that as we celebrate on this feast the virginity and martyrdom of blessed Agnes, we may enjoy the help of her intercession.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Tags: , ,



St Agnes was a teenager who was put to death at the end of the persecution of Diocletian, probably in the early years of the fourth century.


Almighty, eternal God,
You choose what the world considers weak
to put the worldly power to shame.
May we who celebrate the birth
of Saint Agnes into eternal joy
be loyal to the faith she professed.
Through Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Tags: , , ,