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Agnes | Catholic Life


Agnes is one of my patron Saints. I used to joke that I was her most disrespectful devotee as, for instance, I would think that one of the medals I wore looked like a Roman soldier holding a monkey. And really, who goes around holding lambs all the time anyway?

I love Agnes, perhaps because we have precisely nothing in common. She represents the ultimate in virginal purity that “is too young to know of death, yet is ready to face it.” I, on the other hand, have never been a virgin, and was perhaps born without the innocence which most are given despite original sin.

Agnes is one of the ultimate mythical Saints, not so much in the sense that her individual story is historically questionable (um, did anyone mention that she was a young girl?) but that in that she represents one unsullied, undiluted ideal. She is Virgin: not simply a virgin martyr, but a virgin martyr par excellence of whom we know no human details to embellish, or distract from her one outstanding virtue.

The crowds marvel at her recklessness in throwing away her life untasted, as if she had already lived life to the full.

Agnes tells me that God alone matters, and that is all. She offers innocence to intercede for my dejected cynicism. She scorns all the powers of men as she simply choses God. She holds Jesus in her arms with no concern for how others understand it. The Lamb dwells within her, she will not falter.


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