ST AGNES OF MONTE PULCIANO, VIRGIN AND ABBESS (A.D. 1317)
Feast: April 20
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 Pans, in 1728.
This holy virgin was a native of Monte Pulciano, in Tuscany. She had scarce 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.
(Taken from Vol. IV of "The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints" by the Rev. Alban Butler, the 1864 edition published by D. & J. Sadlier, & Company)