St. Agnes

Friends in the Lord, today is the feast of St. Agnes.
St. Agnes is one of the famous virgin-martyrs of the Church, and her name is still in Eucharistic Prayer I of the Mass, going back to ancient times.
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As a young girl, she committed her virginity to the Lord, but one day, while coming home from school, the Prefect’s son saw her and fell in love at first sight, she was a beautiful girl. He promised her wealth and love if she would be his wife; but Agnes told him: I am already pledged to another lover. The young man persisted, so she told him – ‘The one I love is more noble than you. His Mother is a Virgin, and his Father is served by angels. His love is chastity, and union with him, is virginity.’
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The boy went home, and lay sick in bed for days. The doctors examined him; the Prefect asked, ‘What is wrong with my son?’ The diagnosis – he is lovesick, but the girl he loves is taken. The Prefect demanded to know, who is the girl’s lover!? Someone told him, it is Christ, and since it was illegal to be a Christian, he would now make sure she changed her mind.
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She was arrested and chained up, and ordered to sacrifice to the gods, but she refused, and at that moment, as if possessed by the Devil, the Prefect’s son rushed into the room demanding to have Agnes for himself, but on the spot he fell over dead. Agnes knelt and prayed for the boy, and before them all, he came back to life.
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Even this miracle however, instead of instilling faith, merely angered the authorities more, and so they threw Agnes into a fire, but she was unharmed. Then a soldier thrust his dagger into her throat, sending her to her Beloved in heaven. A martyr for Christ, Agnes was only 12 years old. At her grave, her sister told the people how wicked they were for killing her, so they stoned her to death, and at that moment there was an earthquake and many pagans died.
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Her parents later were praying at the tomb, and they saw angels in shining garments walking with Agnes, She said to them, ‘do not weep, but rejoice, because I am safe now, with all these holy ones.’
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St. Ambrose tells us: Girls of the age of Agnes, even when pricked by a needle, they cry. But she offered her body to be put to the sword. The crowds marveled at her recklessness in throwing away her life, as if she had already lived life to the full.
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St. Agnes is the Patron Saint of: purity, chastity, and of rape victims.

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