The feast day of St. Agnes is celebrated on April 20.
St. Agnes was born into a noble family in Gracciano, Italy in 1268. On the day of her birth burning torches appeared around her crib indicating that she was to live a special calling. At the age of 4 she began seeking solitude to pray to Jesus whom she loved. She decided at the age of nine that she wished to become a Dominican and join the monastery at Montepulciano. Her parents were opposed so she asked God to change their minds. Soon after she joined the convent, living under the rule of St. Augustine.
St. Agnes lived an austere life. She slept on the ground with a stone for a pillow and fasted on bread and water. She worked without complaint. Agnes reached a high degree of contemplative prayer and was favored with many visions. She was observed levitating while in prayer two feet above the ground. Violet, lilies or roses often were found growing up through the stones where St. Agnes had just prayed. Many miracles were recorded while Agnes lived in the monastery including the multiplication of loaves.
The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Agnes several times. In the first vision Mary said that she would one day found a large monastery based on faith in God and the Trinity. An angel instructed her to build the convent in 1300. On the night of the Feast of the Assumption the Blessed Virgin Mary placed the Infant Jesus in St. Agnes’ arms. She encouraged Agnes to continue suffering for the love of Christ. Agnes had been sick most of her life. When the vision ended Agnes was holding the gold cross that the Infant Jesus had been wearing on a chain. Mary also appeared to Agnes on the Feast of the Purification while Agnes was at Mass. She again let Agnes hold the Infant Jesus.
Shortly before her death, Agnes bathed in a spring thought to have healing powers. Although it did not cure her a new spring appeared which healed many. It was named “the Water of St. Agnes.” While there Agnes prayed over a child who had just drowned, bringing the child back to life.
St. Agnes died at the monastery in 1317 at the age of 43. Many miracles occurred at her tomb. Her body is incorrupt. St. Agnes was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726.
The life of Christ has furnished me with a pattern for living; but His death has delivered me from death.
Quote of St. Bernard; Feast day Aug. 20
April is the Month of the Eucharist.