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Saint Agnes of Montepulciano

Led her community of nuns into the Dominican Order


Fr Lawrence Lew OP/Flickr

Dominican Nun and Mystic (1268-1317)

Her life

+ Agnes was born in Montepulciano, Italy. As a child, she received permission to enter the local monastery of Franciscan nuns. In 1281, she became part of a new foundation of her community in Proceno.

+ In 1288, although she was only twenty years old, Agnes was elected abbess of her community. Known for her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, she was also honored as a miracle worker and many poor and sick people form the local community came seeing her assistance.

+ In 1306, Agnes returned to serve as superior in Montepulciano and there experienced a series of visions—including the Blessed Virgin and Saint Dominic—which led her to adopt the Rule of St. Augustine for the community and to ask that her community be received into the Dominican Order.

+ In 1316, Agnes’ health began to fail and, after an extended illness, she died on April 20, 1317. She was canonized in 1726. Her reportedly incorrupt remains are enshrined in the Church of St. Agnes in Montepulciano.

Spiritual bonus

The Rule of St. Augustine was composed by Saint Augustine of Hippo around the year 400, originally as a rule of life for priests wishing to live in community. It was later adopted by numerous religious communities, including the Dominicans, the Servites, the Mercedarians, the Norbertines, and, of course, the Augustinians.

For reflection

The contemplative monastic life, made up mainly of women, is rooted in the silence of the cloister; it produces a rich harvest of grace and mercy. Women’s contemplative life has always represented in the Church, and for the Church, her praying heart, a storehouse of grace and apostolic fruitfulness, and a visible witness to the mystery and rich variety of holiness.”—Pope Francis in Vultum Dei Quaerere


O God, who called your handmaid blessed Agnes to seek you before all else, grant that, serving you, through her example and intercession, with a pure and humble heart, we may come at last to your eternal glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For a Nun)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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