Devotion to the Holy Martyrs has always been a distinctive mark of the Christian faithful.  From the earliest ages of the Church until the present their witness to Christ has inspired believers to honor their tombs and to trust in the power of their prayers before the throne of God.  The catacombs attest to this in ancient times, and in our own time John Paul II named the century just passed a “century of martyrs.”  Let us go to them then with confidence praying for all the Church in need throughout the world and for our own needs at home.

St. Agnes is among the most widely venerated martyrs of the Church in East and West.  She was a martyr to chastity, which her persecutors at Rome tried to destroy by sentencing her to live in a house of prostitution.  God miraculously protected her virtue, and gave her victory over sin and death, even at the tender age of twelve. St. Ambrose of Milan composed hymns and homilies in her honor. Her name, symbolic of her innocence, means “lamb.”  Her feast in the Roman rite is January 21st.

Prayer to St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

O Little St. Agnes, so young and yet made so strong and wise by the power of God, protect by your prayers all the young people of every place whose goodness and purity are threatened by the evils and impurities of this world. 

Give them strength in temptation and a true repentance when they fail.  Help them to find true Christian friends to accompany them in following the Lamb of God and finding safe pastures in His Church and in her holy sacraments. 

May you lead us to the wedding banquet of heaven to rejoice with you and all the holy virgin martyrs in Christ who lives and reigns forever and ever. 



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