St Agnes, known as the patron saint of young girls, is a virgin martyr of the Catholic Church, as well as the Oriental Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, the Anglican Communion, and Lutheran Churches.
Understanding Faith trades from St Agnes Catholic Parish in Port Macquarie. On their website, it states the following about Agnes:
At the fragile young age of 12, Agnes was remarkably steadfast in her commitment, faith, and service to Christ, refusing to walk away from her faith to marry the Son of a Roman Official. Agnes was martyred (killed for her religious beliefs), during the last wave of persecutions of Christians that took place in the Roman Empire, known as the Persecution of Diocletian, which occurred in 304.
St Jerome wrote,
“All nations, praise in word and writing the life of St Agnes. She triumphed over her tender age as well as over merciless tyrant. To the crown of spotless innocence she added the glory of martyrdom.”
Images of St Agnes are often portrayed as a young woman, however, due to her young age of only twelve years old when she was martyred, it’s important to depict her as a young girl – childlike, innocent and pure. Her name itself means ‘lamb life’ in Latin, representing innocence and modesty, hence why she is often pictured with a lamb. On her feast day, two lambs are brought to be blessed by the Pope. On Holy Thursday, the lamb’s wool is removed and women into the pallium that the Pope then gives to a newly consecrated archbishop.
Her feast day is celebrated on the 21st of January.