Thursday, February 23, 2012
Saint Ines (Saint Agnes)
Feast Day: January 21
Patron saint of young girls, chastity, gardeners, engaged couples and rape victims
Saint Agnes who also goes by the name of Saint Ines (c. 291 – c. 304) was a member of the Roman nobility and raised in a Christian family. At age 12 or 13 year old Agnes suffered martyrdom in the time of the persecutions of Christians during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. She has a foster sister, Emerentiana, who like her became a saint.
The Prefect Sempronius wanted Agnes to marry his son but when Agnes refused, he reported her to the authorities as being a Christian. Ines/Agnes was condemned to death but as Roman law did not permit the
execution of virgins, they planned to rape her as a sacrifice to the gods they worshiped. The authorities had the naked Agnes dragged through the streets to a brothel but her purity was miraculously preserved.
Legend has it that while walking the streets, she prayed to the Lord and this was answered by making her hair grow to cover up her body. Another legend says that the men who attempted to rape her were struck blind immediately. There was also a story about one being struck dead but when Agnes prayed for him the man was revived. Since none of them succeeded, they tried to burn St Agnes at the stake but the wood didn't burn even a slightest bit. Because of this, a frustrated lieutenant decided to take matters into his own hands and ended up beheading Agnes with a sword.
She maybe too young to know of death, yet she bravely faced it than be offered to the pagan gods and lose her virginity by rape. Being the good Christian that she was, she showed awesome virtue and gave up her life for her faith. Her virginity and heroism are renowned and has help bring an end to the persecutions.
One of Emperor Constantine's daughters built a church where Agnes was buried.
St.Agnes' martyrdom inspire us to be pure, courageous and loyal to our God. Agnes had the courage and the faith to act as boldly as she did in standing up for the teachings of Christ. She trusted the Lord no matter what. We, too, must believe and trust God and pray in humility and patience especially when we are in most need of help. Let us pray to gain that confidence to fight our own battles and to be courageous witnesses of God.