HomeOur Parish › St. Agnes, Our Patroness, Virgin and Martyr

 

Lower right corner of 
Madonna and Child with St. Martina and St. Agnes
By "El Greco" (1597-1599)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

 
"St. Agnes (291?–304?), saint and virgin martyr of Rome, one of the most popular and universal of saints whose name is commemorated daily in the canon of the Mass. At the age of 12 or 13 she consecrated her virginity to God. She is noted for her purity, her youthfulness, and her heroism in the face of persecution.

Agnes, whose name means “chaste” in Greek, was a beautiful young girl of wealthy family and therefore had many suitors of high rank. Details of her story are unreliable, but legend holds that the young men, slighted by Agnes' resolute devotion to religious purity, submitted her name to the authorities as a follower of Christianity. The governor, following an edict against Christians issued in 303 by the Roman emperor Diocletian, threatened the young girl with torture. The threats did not intimidate the steadfast Agnes , however, and the enraged official sent her to a house of prostitution. Approaching her, the brothel's patrons would be seized with such awe at the holy sight of the girl that they could not touch her. One brazen young man remained undeterred, but as he neared her he was struck blind and fell to the ground; Agnes later restored his sight with prayer.  The governor, incensed by her youthful defiance, sentenced Agnes to an untimely death. It is not known whether the execution was by beheading or by the piercing of the throat, but the story tells of her ready submission to the sentence by offering herself to receive the death blow. According to St. Ambrose, one of her chroniclers, she “went to the place of execution more cheerfully than others go to their wedding.”

Agnes was buried beside the Via Nomentana in Rome. In about 354 Constantina, the daughter of Constantine, the first Christian Roman emperor, honored her by erecting a basilica over her grave. Remaining inscriptions in the church attest that Agnes was “a virgin” and “victorious.” Her skull was removed before the 9th century and placed in the Sancta Sanctorum of the Lateran Palace. An examination of the skull in 1903 confirmed the girl's age of 12 or 13 at death. Pope Pius X gave the relic to the Church of Santa Agnese in Piazza Navona in Rome.
 

 
 

Because of her innocence and also because the name Agnes closely resembles the Latin word for lamb (agnus) the saint is usually pictured in art with a lamb in her arms or near her feet. Each year on Agnes' feast day (January 21), two white lambs are blessed and their sheared wool woven into the pallia sent by the pope to new archbishops throughout the world."

Source: "Agnes" Britannica Student Encyclopedia

The life and martyrdom of St. Agnes is also commemorated in the Cathedral's Rose Window of the front entrance.  Click HERE to see close-up pictures of this window. 

In 2006, Sr. Sheila Browne of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Rockville Centre was in Rome at the Church of St. Agnes Outside the Walls on the Feast of St. Agnes.  Click HERE for pictures from Sr. Browne's visit.
 

 
 
 

 
Home ~ Our Parish ~ Ministries ~ Parish School ~ Religious Education ~ Bulletin
 
Our Parish Mission
We, the parish of Saint Agnes Cathedral, a community of believers, proclaim the presence of Christ in the

world through Word, Sacrament and deeds.  Affirming the sanctity of each person, we minister to all
by committing ourselves to renewal, formation, and living the Gospel. 
 

   © Copyright 2013 ~ All Rights Reserved


NOTE: Many of the documents on this site require Adobe Reader©. Download for free from
Adobe
Parish of Saint Agnes Cathedral
29 Quealy Place
Rockville Centre, NY 11570
516-766-0205
Directions | Contact Us