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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saint Agnes of Montepulciano

SAINT AGNES was born in Montepulciano, a neighborhood in Tuscany, c.1268. Not uncommon among many saints, St. Agnes showed great piety since childhood. While still very young she succeeded in convincing her parents to grant permission to enter a very strict monastery. After a few years she was sent to assist in the foundation of another monastery for the education of young girls at Procena. She became Abbess by a special dispensation from the Holy See when only fifteen! She was at Procena for 20 years (some sources say 17). By her own self-discipline, she lived on bread and water for fifteen years and slept on the floor with a stone for a pillow. Her great piety resulted in many signs and wonders: visually beautiful and fragrant flowers would spring up on the spot where she had prayed; she was sometimes showered with manna in the shape of little white crosses, witnessed by crowds; she was a visionary and t received Holy Communion from an angel's hand 10 times.

After her years at Procena the people Montepulciano requested her to establish a monastery. St. Agnes was unsure which rule to adhere in starting the new monastery, so she prayed and received her answer in a vision. From her vision of St. Augustine, St. Francis and St. Dominic she knew she was to begin a new community of woman according to the rule of St. Dominic. St. Dominic made known to her she was to start a community of virgins at Montepulciano on a hill which previously had the site of brothels.

It is said she was granted a warning of her purgatory before going to Heaven and mystical experiences on many consecutive Sundays when, shortly afterwards, she began her painful terminal illness.

Her sisters took her to the medicinal baths at Chianciano but they did not help her. However, while she was there, a miraculous hot water spring gushed (later named for her) and she miraculously brought a child back to life that had drowned there.
St. Agnes died when she was 49.

Another great female Dominican saint, St. Catherine if Siena, made a famous pilgrimage to St. Agnes’ tomb. St. Agnes’ incorrupt body lifted her foot for St. Catherine to kiss. St. Agnes was canonized AD 1726.

Let us pray...
O God who was ofttimes pleased to shed a heavenly dew over Thy Holy Virgin, Blessed Agnes, and to deck the places of her prayer with divers fresh blown flowers, mercifully grant that we, through her prayers, may be sprinkled with the unfailing dew of Thy blessing, and made fit to receive the fruits of immortality.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The incorrupt body of St. Agnes