Friday 20th January: St Agnes

Today is the feast of St Agnes, patron to the Year 8 tutor group.

The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.



Agnes was born of a noble Roman family. About age 10, Agnes consecrated herself to Christ. About age 12, she rejected the marriage advances of the son of a high official with the words, “The one to whom I am betrothed is Christ whom the angels serve. He was the first to choose me. I shall be His alone.” When he pressed her and she still refused him, he complained to his father. The father was shocked to discover that she was a Christian, and planned to get her executed (Christianity was persecuted in the Roman Empire at this time).

Agnes was urged by her family to submit to the son, and when she still refused, they planned to protect her by making her a vestal virgin in a Roman temple. (It was against Roman law to execute a virgin.) But young though she was, she was determined,

“Do you think that I shall dedicate myself to gods of senseless stone!”

“You are only a child,” they replied.

“I may be a child,” she answered, “but faith dwells not in years, but in the heart”

It is her age combined with her courage which is remarkable and made her one of the most revered saints in the early church. While grown men were giving up their faith out of fear, here was a girl who put them all to shame. Saint Ambrose wrote: “At such a tender age a young girl has scarcely enough courage to bear the angry looks of her father and a tiny puncture from a needle makes her cry as if it were a wound. And still this little girl had enough courage to face the sword. She was fearless in the bloody hands of the executioner.”

It is said that her execution shocked many Romans and helped bring an end to the persecutions.  Some said, “It is contrary to Roman law to put a virgin to death but our leaders say that it is necessary to kill Christians in order to preserve the old Roman ways: but they are themselves scorning those ways in the process.” Others said, “Do young girls constitute such a threat to Rome that it is necessary to kill them?” Others thought, “If this religion can enable a twelve-year-old girl to meet death without fear, it is worth investigating.” 


Almighty God, you choose those whom the world regards as weak to put the powerful to shame: As we cherish the memory of your youthful martyr Agnes, may we be given a share of her marvelous courage and strength of conviction as we face our own trials at school and at home.  Help us to be faithful to you, true to ourselves and trustworthy to others. May our life and words bear witness to your love, goodness and truth. We make this prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death. Amen.

Our Lady Queen of Peace pray for us.
St Joseph pray for us

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.