Windows of St Bede’s – St Agnes
In memory of Ellen Allnut died November 3rd 1901
According to her legend, Saint Agnes was a member of the Roman nobility. She was born in the year 291 and raised in a Christian family. She died as a martyr at age 13 during the reign of the Eastern Roman Emperor Diocletian, on January 21, 304.
The Official Sempronius wished St. Agnes to marry his son, and on her refusal condemned her to death. Roman law did not permit the execution of virgins, so he ordered her to be raped beforehand; but her virginity was, according to the legend, miraculously preserved. When led out to die she was tied to a stake, but the bundle of wood would not burn, whereupon the officer in charge of the troops drew his sword and struck off her head.
Her bones are conserved in the church of Sant’Agnese fuori le Mura in Rome , built over the catacomb that housed St. Agnes’ tomb.
Saint Agnes is the patron saint of young girls; folk custom called for them to practice rituals on Saint Agnes’ Eve (January 20th) with a view to discovering their future husbands.