Saint Agnes, the sister of Saint Clare and her earliest disciple, embarked on a remarkable journey of devotion and unwavering faith. Just two weeks after Clare’s departure from their family home, Agnes followed in her sister’s footsteps, choosing a life of spiritual dedication within the confines of the monastery.
However, their family was not in favor of this decision and attempted to forcibly bring Agnes back home. They made a concerted effort to extract her from the monastery, but a miraculous event unfolded. Agnes’ body suddenly became so incredibly heavy that even several knights could not move her an inch. In a moment of anger, her uncle Monaldo tried to strike her but was inexplicably paralyzed himself. Confronted by these extraordinary events, the knights eventually gave up their pursuit, leaving Agnes and Clare to continue their spiritual journey in peace.
Agnes proved to be a devoted and prayerful companion to her sister, willingly embracing the rigorous penances that defined their lives at the San Damiano monastery. In 1221, a group of Benedictine nuns located in Monticelli, near Florence, expressed their desire to join the ranks of the Poor Clares. Responding to this call, Saint Clare entrusted Agnes with the responsibility of becoming the abbess of the newly formed monastery.
Despite her newfound role, Agnes couldn’t escape the pangs of longing for her beloved sister Clare and the other nuns at San Damiano. Her heartfelt letter, filled with a sense of sadness, conveyed the depth of her emotions. Throughout her life, Agnes also played a pivotal role in establishing several other Poor Clare monasteries in northern Italy, spreading the message of faith and devotion.
In a poignant turn of events, Agnes was summoned back to San Damiano in 1253 as Clare lay on her deathbed. Following closely in her sister’s footsteps, Agnes too passed away, just three months later. Their remarkable bond, forged through a shared commitment to their faith, transcended even the boundaries of mortality.
Saint Agnes’ enduring legacy was recognized when she was canonized as a saint in the year 1753, a testament to her unwavering dedication to the Christian faith and her pivotal role in the development of the Poor Clares.