St. Agnes

Saint Agnes (d.305) A Simple Faith

Saint Agnes is another saint, like Saint George, about whom very little is known. It is believed that she was born into the Roman nobility around 291 and was raised in a Christian family. But, when the Prefect Semporius desired that she marry his son, her refusal led to her death in 305, at the tender age of just thirteen.

Like Saint Etheldreda, Agnes wished to remain a virgin in order to serve Jesus. The Emperor Diocletian was in power at the time and, as he was one of the Emperors who actively persecuted Christians, things did not bode well for Agnes. Roman Law did not permit the execution of virgins and so Semporius had Agnes dragged naked through the streets to the nearest brothel. As she prayed however, her hair grew and covered her body, preserving her dignity then, when various men tried to rape her, each was struck blind. Finally Semporius decided to burn her at the stake, but the wood would not light and so he ordered an officer to cut her throat. These were barbaric times.

How much of Agnes' story is true is difficult to say. Certainly, in times of persecution, horrific things did happen to those who devoted themselves to following Christ. What can be said with certainty however, is that Agnes existed and for her devotion to Jesus she died as a martyr. We know this because she is mentioned by several early Christian writers, including Jerome, Damasus, Ambrose and Prudentus.

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