Franciscan Saints


 

 

 

10th June

 

 

Blessed Agnes of Prague

 

Virgin, second Order

 

 

She was canonized by Pope John Paul II on 12th November 1989,

 

 

The Primate and bishops of Czechoslovakia proclaimed the 1980's 'the decade of Saint Adalbert, putting forward an extensive program of spiritual renewal for the nation.

The first year of the decade was under the patronage of Agnes of Prague, and was called the year of respect for life; the faithful were urged to pray for the sick, and the elderly, for physicians, for all engaged in health services, and for all who care for the needy. In the course of the year people took up in a new way Agnes simple and quiet service of those in need, and her call to reconciliation, itself a forceful reminder that "to govern is to serve", or in Clare's words "it ought so to be, that the abbess is the servant of all the sisters".

The culmination of this decade witnessed the public protests of November 1989, which followed immediately after the canonization of Agnes on November 12th. The entire Politburo resigned on 24th November, and on 10th December a new government was sworn in, with non-communist majority. No one was killed in the revolution.

Sr. Agnes van Baer osc, Campbelltown – Australia see more - http://web.inter.nl.net/users/clarissenklooster/script/agns-prg.html

From the Franciscan Book of Saints

On the eve of the feast of the holy virgin and martyr Agnes, in the year 1205, a daughter was born to the king of Bohemia, Primislaus Ottokar I. She also received the name Agnes in baptism. Her mother, who was an aunt of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, rejoiced when she noticed an admirable seriousness in her infant. At times she saw how the child folded its little hands in the form of a cross, and then, as if absorbed in deep devotion, would lie quite still.

 

According to the custom of the time, the king's daughter was betrothed at the age of three years to the son of the duke of Silesia, and hence was sent to the Silesain convent at Trebnitz, where St. Hedwig was superior at that time, to be educated there. Her betrothed died after three years, and she was then taken to the convent at Doxan in Bohemia, where the seeds of sanctity which had been sown by St. Hedwig budded forth in marvelous bloom. The child appeared to be destined for the heavenly Spouse rather than for an earthly one; but earthly monarchs renewed their suit for her hand.

 

Emperor Frederick II desired to secure her as the bride of his son and successor to the throne, Henry, and Agnes, who was now a mature young woman, was sent to the court of the German emperor. But when the union with Henry came to naught as the result of the prayers of the virgin, King Henry III of England sought her hand in marriage, and finally, even Emperor Frederick II himself, whose consort had meanwhile died. All the opposition raised by Agnes, who desired to belong entirely to the Divine Bridegroom, seemed in vain. Then she begged Pope Gregory IX to intervene, and as a result she obtained her freedom. The emperor declared himself satisfied since Agnes chose not a human being but the God of heaven in preference to him.

 

Now, however, Agnes strove to embrace the religious state in order to achieve her union with the Divine Bridegroom. The fame of Poor Clare convents had reached Bohemia, and Agnes resolved, with the assistance of her brother, who had meanwhile ascended the royal throne, to establish a convent of Poor Clares in the capital city of Prague. Pope Gregory cheerfully gave his consent, and, at his command, St. Clare sent five sisters from the convent of St. Damian in Assisi, to Prague. Agnes and seven other young women of the highest ranks of society entered the new convent together with these sisters.

 

Within a short time Agnes distinguished herself among them as a model of virtue; in fervor at prayer, in obedience, in religious discipline, in self-denial, and in humility. The command of the pope to accept the position of abbess was a great trial for her humility; however, she obtained permission not to carry the title, but rather to be known as the "senior sister." Holy zeal, similar to that of her holy mother St. Clare, characterized her vigilance regarding the observance of holy poverty; she declined the royal gifts sent to her by her brother, and would not tolerate that any sister possess anything of a personal nature. God blessed her with the gift of miracles; she recalled to life the deceased daughter of her brother.

 

Enriched with heavenly merits, she departed from this life in the odor of sanctity, to enter into eternal union with her Divine Bridegroom, on March 6, 1282, having served Him for forty years in the religious state. Devotion to her, which has existed since time immemorial, received apostolic sanction from Pope Pius IX, and her feast, which has long been celebrated in Prague on March 2nd, has been extended to the entire Franciscan Order.

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer of the Church

 

O God, who didst raise the virgin, Blessed Agnes, to the heights

of heaven through her contempt of the pleasures of life  at the

royal court and her humble following of Thy cross, grant, we

beseech Thee, that by her intercession and imitation, we may

merit to be partakers of eternal glory.

Who liveth  and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit,

 One God, now and forever.  Amen

 

 

Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed., The Franciscan book of Saints, Franciscan Herald press, Chicago, Illinois

 

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