St. Agnes of Bohemia (1205–1282) would certainly affirm Pope Benedict XVI’s statement, “Without the liturgy and the sacraments, the profession of faith would lack efficacy because it would lack the grace which supports Christian witness.”
Checkout-counter tabloids and celebrity-based TV shows could have had a field day with Agnes. The daughter of a king, she declined marriage proposals from King Henry VII of Germany, Henry III of England, and Frederick II, the Holy Roman emperor. She founded a Poor Clare monastery in Prague and became a nun there.
She contacted St. Clare of Assisi for guidance about her new form of monastic life. Over 19 years, Clare wrote Agnes four letters rich in spirituality and good practical advice. Preferring the title “senior sister” over “abbess,” Agnes gladly performed the most humble service in this monastery—without the endowment her brother offered.
Agnes was canonized in 1989. A week later, pilgrims returning from the canonization ceremony in Rome joined the growing protests in Prague. These soon led to the collapse of Czechoslovakia’s Communist government. Her feast is March 2 on the Franciscan calendar.
May all of us draw strength from Christ’s sacraments!
Featured image: In the public domain