samedi 21 avril 2012

Sainte AGNÈS de MONTEPULCIANO (20 avril), vierge moniale dominicaine et abbesse



SAINTE AGNÈS de MONTEPULCIANO

Vierge

(1268-1317)

Sainte Agnès naquit à Graciano-Vecchio, en Italie, en 1268, de parents suffisamment fortunés et très bons chrétiens. Dès l'âge de 9 ans elle entre chez les Religieuses du Sac à Montepulciano, où on lui confiera bientôt la charge d'économe; à 17 ans elle dirige la construction du couvent à Procéna, où par le bref pontifical elle devient abbesse; à 32 ans elle revient à Montepulciano pour y fonder un couvent de Soeurs Dominicaines, où elle sera prieure. Elle meurt le 20 avril 1317, à l'âge de 49 ans. Son corps, miraculeusement préservé de la corruption du tombeau, repose au Couvent des Dominicaines de Montepulciano. Elle fut béatifiée par Clément VIII en 1608 et canonisée par Benoît XIII en 1726.

Sainte Agnès est avant tout une âme contemplative. Pour elle, Dieu c'est le Bien-Aimé: elle Lui manifeste une amitié sans réserve, une tendresse sans limite, une confiance sans borne; Il la comble de faveurs extraordinaires, répond empressément à ses désirs et satisfait même ses moindres caprices. Aussi la représente-t-on caressant l'Agneau de Dieu qu'elle tient dans ses bras et dont elle porte le nom.

À 4 ans, à l'âge où les enfants ne savent que jouer, sainte Agnès cherchait la solitude pour mieux prier; à 9 ans, à l'âge où déjà les parents fiançaient leur fille, elle obtient de ses parents d'entrer en religion pour être, elle aussi, à son Bien-Aimé. Désormais, sa vie ne sera plus qu'une continuelle oraison.

Un jour qu'elle fut longtemps ravie en extase, l'heure de la Messe passa sans qu'elle ne s'en aperçut. Revenue à elle-même, elle se mit à pleurer de ne pouvoir ce matin-là recevoir son Bien-Aimé. Jésus lui envoie alors porter la Sainte Communion par l'Ange qui L'avait assisté dans Son agonie. C'est encore cet Ange qui viendra lui annoncer les souffrances et la mort qu'elle aura à endurer: "Prends ce calice, ô bien-aimée du Christ, lui dira-t-il, bois comme Lui jusqu'à la lie". Elle prendra la coupe, et la videra, lui semble-t-il, toute entière.

La vie s'en allait, et les religieuses, la voyant mourir, la suppliaient de demander sa guérison. "Si vous m'aimiez vraiment, leur répondit-elle, vous vous réjouiriez de ma mort, puisque je m'en vais à mon Bien-Aimé. Je vous serai plus utile au Paradis qu'ici; ayez confiance, je serai toujours avec vous". Quelques instants après, levant les yeux et les mains vers le Ciel, elle dit avec un sourire ravissant cette dernière parole: "Mon Bien-Aimé est à moi, je ne Le quitterai plus".

René-M. Groleau, O.P., Saints Dominicains, p. 17-18.

SOURCE : http://viechretienne.catholique.org/saints/1063-sainte-agnes-de-montepulciano

La Vie d'Agnès

Agnès est née en 1277 à Gracciano Vecchio, au centre de l’Italie, de parents pauvres, mais riches intérieurement.

A l’âge de 4 ans, elle quittait souvent ses jeux d’enfant pour se retirer dans un endroit solitaire. Là, elle se mettait à genoux, élevait vers le ciel son cœur, ses yeux et ses petites mains, offrait à Jésus ses prières et sa personne, et lui demandait de bénir ses parents.

A 9 ans, Agnès, dont le nom signifie épouse, demanda à se vouer à Dieu dans un monastère. Ses parents crurent sage de s’opposer pour le moment à ce dessein : elle était si jeune !

Mais Agnès pria et Dieu fléchit toutes les résistances. Elle entra chez les religieuses del Sachho, à côté de Monte Pulciano, qui vivaient sous la règle de st Augustin.

Dès ses premières années de vie religieuse, elle fut très appréciée de sa maîtresse des novices et de ses compagnes de noviciat.

Lorsqu'elle fut arrivée à l'âge de quatorze ans, on la nomma procuratrice de son monas-tère. Cette charge devait l'arracher aux douceurs de l'oraison - mais elle savait que l'oraison n'est plus agréable à Dieu, quand l'obéissance appelle à d'autres emplois.: Elle obéit donc avec joie, et jamais on n'eut à lui adresser le moindre reproche. Elle veillait avec diligence à ce qu'aucune religieuse ne manquât de quoi que ce fût, et quand il s'agissait de rendre un service à ses soeurs, elle était toujours pleine de grâce et de charité. Auparavant, elle avait résolu de garder pendant le carême un si¬lence inviolable pour ne converser qu'avec le ciel ; mais, comme ses soeurs seraient devenues les victimes de ce sacrifice, elle se contenta de retrancher toutes les paroles qui n'étaient pas nécessaires à l'exercice de sa charge.

Dieu témoigna alors combien il est loin de désapprouver qu'on le quitte pour le bien du prochain ; car, durant ce temps même, sainte Agnès reçut une grâce des plus éclatantes. La Mère du Sauveur, qui après Dieu possédait son âme, lui appa¬rut , et l'entretenant doucement, elle lui donna trois petites pierres merveilleusement belles. Puis elle lui dit : « Ma fille, avant ta mort tu bâtiras un monastère en mon honneur : prends ces trois petites pierres pour te rappeler que ton édifice doit être fondé sur la foi constante et la confession de la très-haute et indivisible Trinité… »

Déjà Agnès jouissait dans le monde même, où le bruit de ses miracles s'était répandu , d'une réputation extraordinaire de sainteté. On en vit bientôt la preuve. Les habitants de Pro¬cena, près d'Acqua Pendente, avaient décidé de bâtir un mo¬nastère pour leurs filles. Bien qu'Agnès n'eût que quinze ans, ils vinrent la demander pour en être la fondatrice et la première supérieure. A la pensée du commandement, l'humilité d'Agnès s'effraya : elle mit en avant son incapacité et son âge. D'ailleurs, elle savait que ce n'était pas là le monastère que la Sainte Vierge lui avait ordonné de bâtir. Cependant le Vicaire de Jésus-Christ, eu vertu de son autorité suprême, lui ordonna d'entreprendre la fondation proposée ; elle le fit. Mais, toujours convaincue de son indignité, elle redoubla ses oraisons et ses pénitences.

En retour de ces sacrifices, elle fut comblée, même visiblement, des grâces célestes. Une nuit de l'Assomption , la sainte Vierge lui ap¬parut de nouveau ; et, déposant l'enfant Jésus dans ses bras, elle l'abandonna à ses plus affectueuses caresses. Agnès ne put se séparer de son bien-aimé qu'en versant des larmes , et pour consolation, elle détacha une petite croix du riche collier de perles du divin enfant. - Un autre jour, priant dans la partie la plus solitaire du jardin , elle fut ravie en Dieu et oublia l'heure de la messe. Son extase ayant cessé, elle se mit à pleurer de n'avoir pu recevoir son Sauveur. Alors un ange lui apporta la sainte Eucharistie et lui donna la communion.

Or, les religieuses del Saccho ne formaient qu'une de ces congrégations éphémères qu'un jour de générosité fait naître, mais que, au siècle suivant, on retrouve seulement dans le passé de l'histoire. Un jour donc, - dans une de ses visions mystérieuses, la servante de Dieu se trouva en pleine mer, en face de trois vaisseaux magnifiquement pavoisés conduits par saint Augustin, saint François d'Assise et saint Dominique. Une sainte dispute s'était élevée entre eux à qui posséderait Agnès. Mais le glorieux patriarche Dominique , alléguant l'arrêt du ciel qui lui donnait Agnès pour fille, tendit la main à son enfant et l'introduisit dans sa barque.

Agnès ne comprenait pas comment se ferait ce changement d'institut ; mais bientôt un ange vint le lui révéler. Il lui rap¬pela les trois petites pierres qu'elle avait reçues autrefois de la Sainte Vierge, avec l'ordre de lui bâtir plus tard un monastère. « Le temps, lui dit-il, en est venu : devez fonder une maison sur la colline même de Monte Pulciano ; vous dédierez le couvent à la très-sainte Trinité, à l'incomparable Vierge Marie, au bienheureux Dominique, auquel vous allez désormais appartenir. »

Elle se rendit donc à Monte Pulciano, où elle fut reçue comme en triomphe. Redou¬tant ces applaudissements, qui ôtent souvent à la vertu son prix surnaturel, elle pressait sans relâche les travaux de construc¬tion ; et sitôt que la clôture put être gardée , elle revêtit l'habit des soeurs de Saint-Dominique, puis fit voeu de vivre selon les règles de son nouvel ordre. Suivant la promesse qui lui avait été faite, elle se trouva, en peu de temps, à la tête d'une com¬munauté de vingt religieuses. Mais Dieu permit une fois qu'on oubliât la nouvelle famille, et le couvent resta trois jours sans pain. Agnès, dont la confiance égalait l'humilité se plaignit amoureusement au ciel d'une nécessité si extrême. Mais écoutons Dieu relatant l’événement à la Vierge de Sienne (Dialogue 149) :« Cette chère petite pauvre, dit-il, ma fidèle Agnès, éleva son cœur vers ma bonté, en me disant : Mon bien-aimé Seigneur, mou tendre Père, mon éternel Époux, ne m'avez-vous pas ordonné de retirer de leurs familles ces vierges? et vous, ne les avez-vous réunies dans votre maison que pour les laisser mourir de faim ? Bon Maître, pourvoyez à leurs besoins ! - Pour satisfaire son hum¬ble demande, j'inspirai à quelqu'un la pensée de lui porter cinq petits pains, et je le lui révélai. Quand celui qui venait approcha de la porte, Agnès dit à une de ses filles : Ma fille, allez au tour, et apportez le pain que le Seigneur nous envoie dans sa bonté.- Quand les pains furent apportés, on se mit à table, et, pendant que ma bien-aimée faisait le partage, je mis dans ses mains une telle puissance que les pains se multiplièrent et purent fournir abondamment à plusieurs repas. »

Cependant le jour des noces célestes approchait pour Agnès. Mais des heures d'infirmités et de douleurs précédèrent cet instant si désiré. Pressentant que Dieu voulait la retirer de cette terre d’exil, elle se disposa à la mort avec joie, et reçut les derniers sacrements avec un cœur palpitant d’amour et un visage rayonnant de joie. Ses sœurs pleuraient amèrement, mais elle les consola par ces paroles : « Si vous m’aimiez comme vous devez, mes filles, vous ne pleureriez pas ainsi. Car les amis ne s’attristent pas du bien de leurs amis : au contraire, il s’en réjouissent. Le plus grand bien qu’il puisse m’arriver, c’est de m’en aller à notre Epoux. Soyez-lui fidèles à cet Epoux si bon ! Persévérez toujours dans l’obéissance, et je vous promets de vous être plus utile au ciel que si je restais parmi vous. Surtout, aimez-vous les unes les autres ! »

Bientôt, levant les yeux et les mains au ciel, elle dit avec un sourire ravissant : « Mon bien-aimé est à moi ; je ne le quitterai plus ! » C’était le 20 Avril 1317.

D’après l’Année Daminicaine Avril 1861


Lettre de Ste Catherine de Sienne aux moniales de Montepulciano

CCIII (157).- Lettre de ste Catherine de Sienne à la Prieure, et aux Religieuses de Sainte-Agnès, à Montepulciano. - De la reconnaissance envers Dieu, qui se prouve par l’observation de ses commandements et de ses conseils.

(Le couvent de Sainte-Agnès était proche de Montepulciano. Sainte Catherine aimait beaucoup le visiter pour vénérer le corps de la bienheureuse Agnès, qui y était conservé. Plusieurs miracles s’opérèrent pour elle dans ces visites. (Vie de sainte Catherine, Ire p., ch. XII.)

AU NOM DE JESUS CRUCIFIE ET DE LA DOUCE MARIE

1. Mes très chères Mères et Filles dans le Christ, le doux Jésus, moi, Catherine, la servante et l’esclave des serviteurs de Jésus-Christ, je vous écris dans son précieux sang, avec le désir de vous voir reconnaissantes envers votre Créateur, afin que la source de [1131] la piété ne se tarisse pas dans vos âmes, mais qu’elle s’alimente par la reconnaissance. Faites attention que cette reconnaissance ne doit pas consister seulement en paroles, mais encore en bonnes et saintes œuvres. Et comment la montrerez-vous? En observant les doux commandements de Dieu, et avec ces commandements, les conseils, mentalement et actuellement; car vous avez choisi cette voie des conseils, il faut donc la suivre jusqu’à la mort autrement vous pêcheriez; l’âme qui est reconnaissante les observe toujours. Que promettez-vous dans votre profession? Vous promettez d’observer l’obéissance, la charité, la pauvreté volontaire; et si vous ne les observez pas, vous tarirez la source de la piété

2. O très doux feu d’amour, qui remplit l’âme des plus suaves douceurs ! Aucune peine, aucune amertume ne peut atteindre l’âme qui brûle de ce feu doux et glorieux. La charité ne juge jamais en mal; elle ne voit pas la volonté de l’homme, mais seulement la volonté de Dieu, sachant qu’il ne veut autre chose que notre sanctification. Puisque Dieu ne veut autre chose que notre bien, que tout vient de lui, et qu’il permet dans ce but les tribulations, les tentations, les peines et les tourments, l’âme ne doit s’affliger de rien, si ce n’est du péché, qui n’est pas. Puisqu’il n’est pas en Dieu, il n’est pas digne d’être aimé; il faut, au contraire, le haïr, et préférer la mort à l’offense de son Créateur. O douceur d’amour ! comment le cœur de votre épouse peut-il ne pas vous aimer, en voyant que vous êtes l’Epoux qui est la vie? Dieu éternel! vous nous avez créés à votre image et ressemblance uniquement par amour, et, lorsque nous avons perdu la grâce par le malheureux péché, vous nous avez donné le Verbe, votre [1126] Fils unique, et votre Fils nous a donné sa vie; il a puni nos iniquités sur son corps, et il a payé une dette qu’il n’avait pas contractée. Hélas! hélas ! misérables que nous sommes ! nous étions des voleurs, et il a été supplicié pour nous!

3. Ne doit-elle pas rougir de honte et de confusion, l’épouse ignorante, endurcie, aveugle, qui n’aime pas lorsqu’elle se voit tant aimée, et que les liens de cet amour sont si doux? Voici le signe de l’amour celui qui aime Dieu avec la raison suit les traces du Verbe, son Fils unique; celui qui ne l’aime pas au contraire, suit les traces du démon et sa propre sensualité. Il obéit aux lois du monde, qui sont opposées à celles de Dieu; il goûte la mort et ne s’en aperçoit pas. Son âme est plongée dans les ténèbres, car elle est privée de la lumière; elle souffre et elle est en querelle continuelle avec son prochain, parce qu’elle est privée des liens de la charité. Elle se trouve livrée aux mains du démon, parce qu’au lieu d’être l’épouse fidèle de Jésus crucifié, elle a, comme une adultère, abandonné son céleste Epoux; car l’épouse, est appelée adultère lorsqu’elle n’a plus l’amour de l’époux, et qu’elle aime, qu’elle s’unit à celui qui n’est pas son époux. Quel danger et quelle honte de se voir aimée, et de ne pas aimer !

4. Aimez-vous donc, aimez-vous les unes les autres; c’est à cela qu’on verra si vous êtes ou non, les épouses et les filles du Christ. On ne les reconnaît qu’à l’amour qui a Dieu pour principe, et qui s’applique au prochain. C’est ainsi qu’il faut arriver à notre but, à notre fin, on suivent les traces de Jésus [1127] crucifié; non le Père, mais le Fils, parce que le Père ne peut souffrir, mais le Fils.

5. Il faut donc suivre la voie de la très sainte Croix, supportant les opprobres, les mépris, les outrages, méprisant le monde avec toutes ses délices souffrant la faim, la soif avec l’esprit de pauvreté, avec une obéissance ferme et persévérante, avec une grande pureté d’âme et de corps, dans la société des personnes qui craignent vraiment Dieu, et dans la solitude de la cellule, en fuyant comme le poison, le parloir et la conversation des faux dévots et des séculiers. Car l’épouse du Christ n’agit pas de la sorte; elle aime la société des vrais serviteurs de Dieu, et non celle de ceux qui n’ont de religieux que l’habit. Il ne faut pas que sous un chef couronné d’épines vivent des membres délicats, comme font les insensés qui s’éloignent du Christ, leur maître, et qui ne recherchent que les délices et les délicatesses du corps. Nous surtout, qui sommes séparées du siècle et placées dans le jardin de la vie religieuse, nous, ses épouses choisies, nous devons être des fleurs de bonne odeur. Oui, si vous observez ce que vous avez promis pour répandre vos doux parfums, vous participerez à la bonté de Dieu en vivant dans sa grâce, et vous le goûterez dans son éternelle vision. Si vous ne le faites pas, vous répandrez une honteuse infection; vous goûterez l’enfer dès cette vie, et vous aurez à la fin en partage la vue des dénions. Pour suivre le Christ, sortez du siècle, renoncez au monde et à ses richesses en vous attachant à la vraie pauvreté. Renoncez à la volonté propre en tous soumettant à la véritable obéissance; éloignez [1128] vous de l’état commun en ne voulant pas être les épouses du monde, pour conserver la vraie continence et la virginité dont le parfum réjouit Dieu et les anges qui se plaisent à habiter l’âme qu’embaume la pureté. Soyez unies et non pas divisées par la haine, la jalousie et l’antipathie, les unes envers les autres; soyez unies étroitement dans les liens de la charité, car autrement vous ne pourriez plaire à Dieu ni avoir aucune vertu parfaite.

6. Quelle honte et quelle confusion pour l’âme qui ne tient pas ce qu’elle a promis, et qui fait tout le contraire ! Elle ne suit pas le Christ, et ne marche pas dans la voie de la Croix; mais elle veut suivre la voie du plaisir. Ce n’est pas la nôtre : il nous faut suivre l’humble Christ, l’Agneau sans tache, le pauvre Agneau; sa pauvreté était si grande, qu’il n’avait pas une place pour reposer sa tête très pure. La souillure du péché n’était pas en lui, et il a obéi à son Père pour notre salut jusqu’à la mort honteuse de la Croix. Les Saints et notre glorieux Père saint Dominique ont fondé leurs Ordres sur ces trois colonnes, la pauvreté, l’obéissance, la chasteté, pour pouvoir mieux ressembler au Christ et suivre sa doctrine et ses conseils ; car de ces vertus procède toute Vertu, et de leurs contraires procèdent tous les vices. La pauvreté éloigne l’orgueil, les conversations du monde et les amitiés dangereuses qui s’entretiennent par des présents; car quand on n’a rien à donner, on ne trouve que l’amitié des vrais serviteurs de Dieu, qui aiment le don de l’âme. Elle éloigne la vanité du cœur et la légèreté d’esprit; elle fait aimer la cellule, où on goûte la sainte oraison,[1129] qui conserve et augmente les vertus. Elle conduit à la pureté parfaite, et fait observer ainsi le vœu de chasteté, tellement qu’on s’abstient non seulement d’un pêché, mais de tous, en foulant aux pieds la sensualité, en macérant son corps, et en le privant de tout plaisir. En le domptant ainsi par le jeûne, les veilles et la prière, on devient humble, patient, charitable; on supporte les défauts de son prochain, et on s’unit à son Créateur par l’amour, et au prochain pour Dieu. L’âme supporte les peines du corps, parce qu’elle y trouve un gain.

7. Lorsqu’elle a ainsi triomphé de l’orgueil, elle y goûte le parfum de la sainte humilité; et elle est aussi obéissante qu’elle est humble, et aussi humble qu’elle est obéissante. Celui qui n’est pas orgueilleux suit ce qui est humble; et s’il est humble, il est vraiment obéissant; il possède ainsi la troisième colonne qui soutient la cité de l’âme. Le véritable obéissant observe les règles et les usages de son Ordre; il n’élève pas la tête de la volonté propre contre son supérieur, et ne discute jamais avec lui; mais au premier mot, il obéit et baisse la tête sous le joug. Il ne dit pas : Pourquoi me commande-t-il, me dit-il cela, et non pas autre chose? mais il cherche le moyen d’obéir promptement. O douce obéissance ! tu n’as jamais de peines ; tu fais vivre et courir les hommes morts, car tu fais mourir la volonté; et plus elle est morte, plus on court rapidement. Car l’âme qui est morte à l’amour-propre de la volonté sensitive, court plus légèrement pour s’unir à son Epoux céleste par l’amour; elle s’élève à une telle hauteur, à un tel repos d’esprit, que dès cette vie, elle commence à goûter les parfums et les fruits de la vie éternelle. Soyez, soyez donc obéissantes jusqu’à la mort; aimez-vous, aimez-vous les unes les autres; unissez-vous par les liens de la charité, car nous ne pouvons autrement atteindre la fin pour laquelle nous avons été créées. C’est pourquoi je vous ai dit que je désirais vous voir des épouses unies étroitement dans les liens d’une véritable et ardente charité. Je termine. Demeurez dans la sainte et douce dilection de Dieu. Doux Jésus, Jésus amour

P. Cartier 1886



Sainte Agnès de Montepulciano

Moniale italienne (✝ 1317)

Dominicaine de Montepulciano en Italie dont sainte Catherine de Sienne louait les vertus lorsqu'elle s'entretenait avec le Seigneur (Dialogue 149 de sainte Catherine) et qu'elle vénérait après la mort de l'humble dominicaine.

À Montepulciano, en Toscane, l’an 1317, sainte Agnès, vierge, qui prit à neuf ans l’habit des vierges consacrées, à quinze ans devint, malgré elle, la première supérieure du monastère de Procena, et bientôt fonda dans sa patrie un autre monastère, sous le Règle de saint Dominique, où elle donna un admirable exemple de véritable humilité.

Martyrologe romain



Sainte Agnès de Montepulciano († 1317)

Sainte Agnès naquit à Graciano-Vecchio, en Italie, en 1268, de parents suffisamment fortunés et très bons chrétiens. Dès l'âge de 9 ans elle entre chez les Religieuses du Sac à Montepulciano, où on lui confiera bientôt la charge d'économe; à 17 ans elle dirige la construction du couvent à Procéna, où par le bref pontifical elle devient abbesse; à 32 ans elle revient à Montepulciano pour y fonder un couvent de Soeurs Dominicaines, où elle sera prieure. Elle meurt le 20 avril 1317, à l'âge de 49 ans.

Son corps, miraculeusement préservé de la corruption du tombeau, repose au Couvent des Dominicaines de Montepulciano. Elle fut béatifiée par Clément VIII en 1608 et canonisée par Benoît XIII en 1726. Sainte Agnès est avant tout une âme contemplative. Pour elle, Dieu c'est le Bien-Aimé: elle Lui manifeste une amitié sans réserve, une tendresse sans limite, une confiance sans borne; Il la comble de faveurs extraordinaires, répond empressément à ses désirs et satisfait même ses moindres caprices. Aussi la représente-t-on caressant l'Agneau de Dieu qu'elle tient dans ses bras et dont elle porte le nom.

À 4 ans, à l'âge où les enfants ne savent que jouer, sainte Agnès cherchait la solitude pour mieux prier; à 9 ans, à l'âge où déjà les parents fiançaient leur fille, elle obtient de ses parents d'entrer en religion pour être, elle aussi, à son Bien-Aimé. Désormais, sa vie ne sera plus qu'une continuelle oraison. Un jour qu'elle fut longtemps ravie en extase, l'heure de la Messe passa sans qu'elle ne s'en aperçut. Revenue à elle-même, elle se mit à pleurer de ne pouvoir ce matin-là recevoir son Bien-Aimé. Jésus lui envoie alors porter la Sainte Communion par l'Ange qui L'avait assisté dans Son agonie. C'est encore cet Ange qui viendra lui annoncer les souffrances et la mort qu'elle aura à endurer: "Prends ce calice, ô bien-aimée du Christ, lui dira-t-il, bois comme Lui jusqu'à la lie".

Elle prendra la coupe, et la videra, lui semble-t-il, toute entière. La vie s'en allait, et les religieuses, la voyant mourir, la suppliaient de demander sa guérison. "Si vous m'aimiez vraiment, leur répondit-elle, vous vous réjouiriez de ma mort, puisque je m'en vais à mon Bien-Aimé. Je vous serai plus utile au Paradis qu'ici; ayez confiance, je serai toujours avec vous". Quelques instants après, levant les yeux et les mains vers le Ciel, elle dit avec un sourire ravissant cette dernière parole: "Mon Bien-Aimé est à moi, je ne Le quitterai plus"



St. Agnes was born in Italy in 1274, a gentle future glory of the Order of St. Dominic. Her father was an eminent Christian who lived in the village of Gracciano Vecchio, in central Italy. On the very day of her birth a miracle announced to those present that this was a favored child: mysterious burning torches appeared, shining brilliantly near her crib. Already at the age of four, the little girl would retire in solitude to pray to Jesus, her love.

When she was nine years old, Agnes asked her parents for permission to enter a monastery. They opposed this wish, not certain of the will of God. After she had prayed fervently that their opinions change, Agnes was allowed to join the Sisters of Montepulciano. When she reached the age of fourteen, she was assigned to the duty of stewardess of the monastery, an office in which she would provide for the material needs of the sisters and keep accounts. The community was edified to see her carry out her duties cheerfully, in perfect obedience, without her piety being in any way altered. Whenever a sister needed any service, the response of Agnes was always characterized by grace and charity.

St. Agnes already had the reputation of sanctity; a number of persons had seen her raised in the air nearly two feet above ground. When the residents of a neighboring town decided to build a monastery for their daughters, they came to ask for Agnes as its first superior. She was at that time fifteen years old. At the request of the Holy Father, she accepted the office. This experience would prepare her for a later important work, that of founding a large monastery in honor of the Mother of God at Montepulciano.

Miracles surround the prayer of this young saint. Sometimes, as Agnes knelt in prayer, flowers sprang up—violets, lilies and roses. One year, on the feast of the Assumption, the Mother of the Savior appeared to her and placed the Infant Jesus in her arms. St. Agnes succeeded in founding the foretold monastery of twenty cloistered Dominican sisters; an angel had told her to establish it under the Rule of St. Dominic.

During her last illness, Agnes was sent to bathe in curative waters. During her journey, she brought back to life a child who had drowned. Her health did not improve, but a spring welled up nearby which cured others. St. Agnes returned to her monastery and prepared for death. She died at the age of 43 on April 20, 1317. Miracles occurred at her tomb, as they had during her lifetime. She was beatified in 1534 and canonized in 1726.
Feast: April 20

Source: Dominican Province of the Assumption

SOURCE :


St. Agnes of Montepulciano

Born in the neighbourhood of Montepulciano in Tuscany about 1268; died there 1317. At the age of nine years she entered a monastery. Four years later she was commissioned by Pope Nicholas IV to assist in the foundation of a monastery at Proceno, and became its prioress at the age of fifteen. At the entreaty of the citizens of her native town, she established (1298) the celebrated convent of Dominican nuns at Montepulciano which she governed until the time of her death. She was canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726. Her feast is celebrated on 20 April.

Fitzgerald, Edward. "St. Agnes of Montepulciano." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 20 Apr. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01213c.htm>.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

SOURCE : http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01213c.htm

St. Agnes of Montepulciano

St. Agnes of Montepulciano, a holy virgin, was born in 1268 in a little village near Montepulciano, Italy, of the wealthy family of De Segni. Her birth was announced by great lights surrounding the house where she was born, and from her babyhood she was one specially marked out for dedication to God.

As a child, she often spent hours reciting the Our Father and Hail Mary on her knees in some private corner of a chamber. She was such a pious child that when she was nine years old her parents placed her in a Franciscan convent known as Sackins, so called because their habits or scapulars were made of sackcloth. Agnes was a model of all virtues to this austere community. She was also well-known for her gifts of miracles and prophecy.

At the age of fifteen, she entered the Dominican Order at Proceno, in the county of Orvieto, and was appointed abbess by Pope Nicholas IV. She slept on the ground, with a stone under her head, and for fifteen years fasted on bread and water. At the age of thirty, however, because of poor health, her spiritual director instructed her to eat other foods.

St. Agnes was noted for her visions. She held the infant Christ in her arms and received Holy Communion from an angel. She experienced levitations and she performed miracles for the faithful of the region.

The people of Montepulciano wanted so much for her to return to them that they destroyed a house of ill repute and in its place built a convent for Agnes. In her hometown, she established in this house nuns of the order of St. Dominic. Agnes continued to be a great example of piety, humility, and charity to all for the remainder of her life. Through a long illness she showed great patience and grace, offering her sufferings up to God for the redemption of souls.

Agnes died at Monte Pulciano on the 20th of April 1317 at the age of 43. Her body was removed to the Dominicans’ church of Orvieto in 1435, where it remains. She was solemnly canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726.

SOURCE : http://www.ucatholic.com/saints/saint-agnes-of-montepulciano/

April 20

St. Agnes of Monte Pulciano, Virgin and Abbess

From her life, written by F. Raymund of Capua, general of the Dominicans, thirty years after her death, with the remarks of F. Papebroke, Apr. t. 2, p. 791. Also her life, compiled from authentic instruments, by F. Laurence Surdini Mariani, in 1606; and in French, by F. Roux at Paris, in 1728.

A.D. 1317.

THIS holy virgin was a native Monte Pulciano, in Tuscany. She had scarcely attained to the use of reason, when she conceived an extraordinary relish and ardour for prayer, and in her infancy often spent whole hours in reciting the Our Father and Hail Mary, on her knees, in some private corner of a chamber. At nine years of age she was placed by her parents in a convent of Sackins, of the order of St. Francis, so called from their habit, or at least their scapular, being made of sackcloth. Agnes, in so tender an age, was a model of all virtues to this austere community: and she renounced the world, though of a plentiful fortune, being sensible of its dangers, before she knew what it was to enjoy it. At fifteen years of age she was removed to a new foundation of the Order of St. Dominic, at Proceno, in the county of Orvieto, and appointed abbess by Pope Nicholas IV. She slept on the ground, with a stone under her head in lieu of a pillow; and for fifteen years she fasted always on bread and water, till she was obliged by her directors, on account of sickness, to mitigate her austerities. Her townsmen, earnestly desiring to be possessed of her again, demolished a lewd house, and erected upon the spot a nunnery, which they bestowed on her. This prevailed on her to return, and she established in this house nuns of the Order of St. Dominic, which rule she herself professed. The gifts of miracles and prophecy rendered her famous among men, though humility, charity, and patience under her long sicknesses, were the graces which recommended her to God. She died at Monte Pulciano, on the 20th of April, 1317, being forty-three years old. Her body was removed to the Dominicans’ church of Orvieto, in 1435, where it remains. Clement VIII. approved her office for the use of the Order of St. Dominic, and inserted her name in the Roman Martyrology. She was solemnly canonized by Benedict XIII. in 1726

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume IV: April. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.


SOURCE : http://www.bartleby.com/210/4/201.html

Agnes of Montepulciano, OP V (RM)

Born in Gracchiano-Vecchio, Tuscany, Italy, in 1268; died at Montepulciano, Tuscany, on April 20, 1317; canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726.


Agnes was not a child martyr like her Roman patroness but she exhibited the same simplicity, and some of her best-known legends concern her childhood. Her birth into the wealthy de Segni family was announced by great lights surrounding the house where she was born. From her infancy she was especially marked for dedication to God: she would spend hours reciting Pater Nosters and Ave Marias on her knees in the corner of some room.

By the time Agnes was six, she was already urging her parents to let her enter the convent. When they assured her that she was much too young, she begged them to move to nearby Montepulciano, so she could make frequent visits to the convent. Because of the local political instability, her father was unwilling to move from his safe haven but did allow his little girl to visit with the sisters occasionally.

On one of these visits an event occurred that all the chroniclers record as being prophetic. Little Agnes was traveling in Montepulciano with her mother and the women of the household, and, as they passed a hill on which stood a bordello, a flock of crows swooped down and attacked the girl. Screaming and plunging, they managed to scratch and frighten her badly before the women drove them away. Upset by the incident, but devoutly sure of themselves, the women said that the birds must have been devils, and that they resented the purity and goodness of little Agnes, who would one day drive them from that hilltop. Agnes did, in fact, build a convent there in later years.

When she was nine, Agnes insisted that the time had come to enter the convent del Sacco. She was allowed to go to a group of Franciscans in Montepulciano, whose dress was the ultimate in primitive simplicity: they were known, from the cut of the garment, as the Sacchine or 'sisters of the sack.' The high-born daughter of the Segni was not at all appalled at the crude simplicity with which they followed their Father Francis; she rejoiced in it. Her religious formation was entrusted to an experienced older sister named Margaret, and Agnes soon edified the whole house by her exceptional progress. For five years she enjoyed the only complete peace she would ever have; she was appointed bursar at the age of 14, and she never again was without some responsibility to others.

During this time Agnes reached a high degree of contemplative prayer and was favored with many visions. One of the loveliest is the one for which her legend is best known: the occasion of a visit from the Blessed Virgin. Our Lady came with the Holy Infant in her arms, and allowed Agnes to hold Him and caress Him. Unwilling to let Him go, Agnes hung on when Our Lady reached to take Him back. When she awakened from the ecstasy, Our Lady and her Holy Child were gone, but Agnes was still clutching tightly the little gold cross He had worn on a chain about His neck. She kept it as a precious treasure.

Another time, Our Lady gave her three small stones and told her that she should use them to build a convent some day. Agnes was not at the moment even thinking about going elsewhere, and said so, but Our Lady told her to keep the stones--three, in honor of the Blessed Trinity--and one day she would need them.

Some time after this, a new Franciscan convent opened in Procena, near Orvieto, and the sisters there asked the ones of Montepulciano to send them a mother superior. Sister Margaret was selected, but stipulated that Agnes must be allowed to come to help her in the foundation of the new community. There Agnes served as housekeeper--a highly responsible position for a 14-year-old! Soon many other girls joined the convent at Procena simply became they knew that Agnes was there.

To the distress of young Agnes, she was elected abbess. Since she was only 15, a special dispensation was needed--and provided by Pope Nicholas IV--to allow her to take the office. On the day when she was consecrated abbess, great showers of tiny white crosses fluttered down on the chapel and the people in it. It seemed to show the favor of heaven on this somewhat extraordinary situation.

For 20 years, Agnes lived in Procena, happy in her retreat and privileged to penetrate the secrets of God in her prayer. She was a careful superior, as well as a mystic; several times she worked miracles to increase the house food supply when it was low. The nun's self-discipline was legendary. She lived on bread and water for fifteen years. She slept on the floor with a stone for a pillow. It is said that in her visions angels gave her Holy Communion.

Once her visions of Christ, the Blessed Virgin, and angels had become known, the citizens of Montepulciano called her back for a short stay. She went willingly enough, though she hated leaving the peace of her cloister for the confusion of travelling. She had just settled down, on her return, with the hope that she had made her last move and could now stay where she was, when obedience again called her back to Montepulciano--this time to build a new convent. A revelation had told her that she was to leave the Franciscans, among whom she had been very happy, and that she and her future sisters should become Dominicans.

In 1306, Agnes returned to Montepulciano to put the Lord's request into action: she was to build a convent on the former site of the brothels. All she had for the building of the convent were the three little stones given her by the Blessed Virgin, and Agnes--who had been bursar and knew something about money--realized that she was going to have to rely heavily on the support of heaven in her building project.

After a long quarrel with the inhabitants of the hilltop she wanted for her foundation, the land was finally secured, and the Servite prior laid the first stone, leaving her to worry about from where the rest of the stones would come. Agnes saw the project to its completion. The church and convent of Santa Maria Novella were ready for dedication in record time, and a growing collection of aspirants pleaded for admittance to the new convent.

Agnes had become convinced that the community must be anchored in an established Rule in order to attain permanence. She explained that the rule was to be Dominican, not Franciscan. All the necessary arrangements were made, she was established as prioress, the Dominicans agreed to provide chaplains and direction, and the new community settled down. They had barely established the regular life when one of the walls of the new building collapsed. It was discovered that the builders had cheated, and that the whole convent was in danger of falling on top of them. Agnes met the new problem with poise. She had many friends in Montepulciano by this time, and they rallied to rebuild the house.

When the convent was once again completed, and had become, as hoped, a dynamo of prayer and penance, Agnes decided to go to Rome on pilgrimage. It is interesting to note that Second Order convents of the 14th century were so flexible in the matter of enclosure. She made the trip to Rome and visited the shrines of the martyrs. The pope was at Avignon, so she did not have the happiness of talking to him. But she returned to Montepulciano full of happiness for having seen the holy places of Rome.

At the age of 49, Agnes's health began to fail rapidly. She was taken for treatment to the baths at Chianciano--accompanied, as it says in the rule, by 'two or three sisters'--but the baths did her no good. She did perform a miracle while there, restoring to life a child who had fallen into the baths and drowned.

Agnes returned to Montepulciano to die in the night. When she knew she was dying after a long and painful illness, Agnes told her grieving nuns that they should rejoice, for, she said, "You will discover that I have not abandoned you. You will possess me for ever." The children of the city wakened and cried out, "Holy Sister Agnes is dead!" She was buried in Montepulciano, where her tomb soon became a place of pilgrimage.

One of the most famous pilgrims to visit her tomb was Saint Catherine of Siena, who went to venerate the saint and also, probably, to visit her niece, Eugenia, who was a nun in the convent there. As she bent over the body of Saint Agnes to kiss the foot, she was amazed to see Agnes raise her foot so that Catherine did not have to stoop so far!

In 1435, her incorrupt body was translated to the Dominican church at Orvieto, where it remains today. Clement VIII approved her office for the use of the order of St. Dominic, and inserted her name in the Roman Martyrology (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Dorcy, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth, Walsh).

In art, Saint Agnes is a Dominican abbess (white habit, black mantle) with a lamb, lily, and book. She might also be portrayed (1) gazing at the Cross, a lily at her feet, (2) with the Virgin and Child appearing to her; (3) with the sick healed at her tomb (Roeder); (4) with Saint Catherine of Siena; or (5) as patroness of Montepulciano, of which she holds a model in her hand. Tiepolo presents Agnes as one of the saints surrounding the Blessed Virgin in the Jesuit church at Venice, Italy (Farmer). She is venerated at Montepulciano (Roeder).

SOURCE : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0420.shtml



Saint Agnes of Montepulciano, V.O.P.

Feast Day: April 20th

Profile

    Agnes was not a child martyr like her Roman patroness but she exhibited the same simplicity, and some of her best-known legends concern her childhood. Her birth into the wealthy de Segni family was announced by great lights surrounding the house where she was born. From her infancy she was especially marked for dedication to God: she would spend hours reciting Pater Nosters and Ave Marias on her knees in the corner of some room.

    By the time Agnes was six, she was already urging her parents to let her enter the convent. When they assured her that she was much too young, she begged them to move to nearby Montepulciano, so she could make frequent visits to the convent. Because of the local political instability, her father was unwilling to move from his safe haven but did allow his little girl to visit with the sisters occasionally.

    On one of these visits an event occurred that all the chroniclers record as being prophetic. Little Agnes was traveling in Montepulciano with her mother and the women of the household, and, as they passed a hill on which stood a bordello, a flock of crows swooped down and attacked the girl. Screaming and plunging, they managed to scratch and frighten her badly before the women drove them away. Upset by the incident, but devoutly sure of themselves, the women said that the birds must have been devils, and that they resented the purity and goodness of little Agnes, who would one day drive them from that hilltop. Agnes did, in fact, build a convent there in later years.

    When she was nine, Agnes insisted that the time had come to enter the convent del Sacco. She was allowed to go to a group of Franciscans in Montepulciano, whose dress was the ultimate in primitive simplicity: they were known, from the cut of the garment, as the Sacchine or 'sisters of the sack.' The high-born daughter of the Segni was not at all appalled at the crude simplicity with which they followed their Father Francis; she rejoiced in it. Her religious formation was entrusted to an experienced older sister named Margaret, and Agnes soon edified the whole house by her exceptional progress. For five years she enjoyed the only complete peace she would ever have; she was appointed bursar at the age of 14, and she never again was without some responsibility to others.

    During this time Agnes reached a high degree of contemplative prayer and was favored with many visions. One of the loveliest is the one for which her legend is best known: the occasion of a visit from the Blessed Virgin. Our Lady came with the Holy Infant in her arms, and allowed Agnes to hold Him and caress Him. Unwilling to let Him go, Agnes hung on when Our Lady reached to take Him back. When she awakened from the ecstasy, Our Lady and her Holy Child were gone, but Agnes was still clutching tightly the little gold cross He had worn on a chain about His neck. She kept it as a precious treasure.

    Another time, Our Lady gave her three small stones and told her that she should use them to build a convent some day. Agnes was not at the moment even thinking about going elsewhere, and said so, but Our Lady told her to keep the stones--three, in honor of the Blessed Trinity--and one day she would need them.

    Some time after this, a new Franciscan convent opened in Procena, near Orvieto, and the sisters there asked the ones of Montepulciano to send them a mother superior. Sister Margaret was selected, but stipulated that Agnes must be allowed to come to help her in the foundation of the new community. There Agnes served as housekeeper--a highly responsible position for a 14-year-old! Soon many other girls joined the convent at Procena simply became they knew that Agnes was there.

    To the distress of young Agnes, she was elected abbess. Since she was only 15, a special dispensation was needed--and provided by Pope Nicholas IV--to allow her to take the office. On the day when she was consecrated abbess, great showers of tiny white crosses fluttered down on the chapel and the people in it. It seemed to show the favor of heaven on this somewhat extraordinary situation.

    For 20 years, Agnes lived in Procena, happy in her retreat and privileged to penetrate the secrets of God in her prayer. She was a careful superior, as well as a mystic; several times she worked miracles to increase the house food supply when it was low. The nun's self-discipline was legendary. She lived on bread and water for fifteen years. She slept on the floor with a stone for a pillow. It is said that in her visions angels gave her Holy Communion.

    Once her visions of Christ, the Blessed Virgin, and angels had become known, the citizens of Montepulciano called her back for a short stay. She went willingly enough, though she hated leaving the peace of her cloister for the confusion of traveling. She had just settled down, on her return, with the hope that she had made her last move and could now stay where she was, when obedience again called her back to Montepulciano--this time to build a new convent. A revelation had told her that she was to leave the Franciscans, among whom she had been very happy, and that she and her future sisters should become Dominicans.

    In 1306, Agnes returned to Montepulciano to put the Lord's request into action: she was to build a convent on the former site of the brothels. All she had for the building of the convent were the three little stones given her by the Blessed Virgin, and Agnes--who had been bursar and knew something about money--realized that she was going to have to rely heavily on the support of heaven in her building project.

    After a long quarrel with the inhabitants of the hilltop she wanted for her foundation, the land was finally secured, and the Servite prior laid the first stone, leaving her to worry about from where the rest of the stones would come. Agnes saw the project to its completion. The church and convent of Santa Maria Novella were ready for dedication in record time, and a growing collection of aspirants pleaded for admittance to the new convent.

    Agnes had become convinced that the community must be anchored in an established Rule in order to attain permanence. She explained that the rule was to be Dominican, not Franciscan. All the necessary arrangements were made, she was established as prioress, the Dominicans agreed to provide chaplains and direction, and the new community settled down. They had barely established the regular life when one of the walls of the new building collapsed. It was discovered that the builders had cheated, and that the whole convent was in danger of falling on top of them. Agnes met the new problem with poise. She had many friends in Montepulciano by this time, and they rallied to rebuild the house.

    When the convent was once again completed, and had become, as hoped, a dynamo of prayer and penance, Agnes decided to go to Rome on pilgrimage. It is interesting to note that Second Order convents of the 14th century were so flexible in the matter of enclosure. She made the trip to Rome and visited the shrines of the martyrs. The pope was at Avignon, so she did not have the happiness of talking to him. But she returned to Montepulciano full of happiness for having seen the holy places of Rome.

    At the age of 49, Agnes's health began to fail rapidly. She was taken for treatment to the baths at Chianciano--accompanied, as it says in the rule, by 'two or three sisters'--but the baths did her no good. She did perform a miracle while there, restoring to life a child who had fallen into the baths and drowned.

    Agnes returned to Montepulciano to die in the night. When she knew she was dying after a long and painful illness, Agnes told her grieving nuns that they should rejoice, for, she said, "You will discover that I have not abandoned you. You will possess me for ever." The children of the city wakened and cried out, "Holy Sister Agnes is dead!" She was buried in Montepulciano, where her tomb soon became a place of pilgrimage.

    One of the most famous pilgrims to visit her tomb was Saint Catherine of Siena, who went to venerate the saint and also, probably, to visit her niece, Eugenia, who was a nun in the convent there. As she bent over the body of Saint Agnes to kiss the foot, she was amazed to see Agnes raise her foot so that Catherine did not have to stoop so far!

    In 1435, her incorrupt body was translated to the Dominican church at Orvieto, where it remains today. Clement VIII approved her office for the use of the order of St. Dominic, and inserted her name in the Roman Martyrology (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Dorcy, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth, Walsh).

Many stories grew up around Agnes.

Her birth was announced by flying lights surrounding her family's house.

As a child, while walking through a field, she was attacked by a large murder of crows; she announced that they were devils, trying to keep her away from the land; years later, it was the site of her convent.

She was known to levitate up to two feet in the air while praying.

She received Communion from an angel, and had visions of the Virgin Mary.

She held the infant Jesus in one of these visions; when she woke from her trance she found she was holding the small gold crucifix the Christ child had worn.

On the day she was chosen abbess as a teenager, small white crosses showered softly onto her and the congregation.

She could feed the convent with a handful of bread, once she'd prayed over it.

Where she knelt to pray, violets, lilies and roses would suddenly bloom.

While being treated for her terminal illness, she brought a drowned child back from the dead.

At the site of her treatment, a spring welled up that did not help her health, but healed many other people.

Born:1268 at Gracchiano-Vecchio, Tuscany, Italy

Died: at Montepulciano, Tuscany, on April 20, 1317. Legend says that at the moment of her death, all the babies in the region, no matter how young, began to speak of Agnes, her piety, and her passing; miracles reported at her tomb; body incorrupt; relics translated to the Dominican church at Orvieto in 1435

Beatified: 1534

Canonized:1726 by Pope Benedict XIII

Representation: In art, Saint Agnes is a Dominican abbess (white habit, black mantle) with a lamb, lily, and book. She might also be portrayed (1) gazing at the Cross, a lily at her feet, (2) with the Virgin and Child appearing to her; (3) with the sick healed at her tomb (Roeder); (4) with Saint Catherine of Siena; or (5) as patroness of Montepulciano, of which she holds a model in her hand. Tiepolo presents Agnes as one of the saints surrounding the Blessed Virgin in the Jesuit church at Venice, Italy (Farmer). She is venerated at Montepulciano (Roeder).

Prayers/Commemorations

First Vespers

Agnes is called today to the nuptials of the Lamb (P.T., Alleluia.): and is seated in delight with her spouse (P.T., Alleluia.)

V. Pray for us Blessed Agnes (P.T., Alleluia.)

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. (P.T., Alleluia.)

Lauds:

Ant. Agnes is admitted to the celestial court, the Church gives a new Saint to heaven. To Him seated on the throne and to the Lamb be praise, honor and benediction. (P.T., Alleluia.)

V. Virgins shall be led to the King after her. (P.T., Alleluia.)

R. Her companions shall be presented to Thee. (P.T., Alleluia.)

Second Vespers

Ant. Hail, most excellent Virgin, singular glory of the Order: hail illustrious Virgin, wondrous star of the firmament, assist with thy virtues.  (P.T., Alleluia.)

V. Pray for us Blessed Agnes (P.T., Alleluia.)

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. (P.T., Alleluia.)

Prayers

Let us Pray: O God, who was pleased often to shed a heavenly dew over Thy 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 heavenly immortality. Through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

SOURCE : http://www.willingshepherds.org/Dominican%20Saint%20III.html#Agnes montepulicnao