Saint Agnes, Child Martyr
This little girl laid down her life for Christ at the age of 12, during the great persecution of Diocletian (284-305). She was beheaded for her refusal to renounce her Savior; she was buried on the Via Nomentana, just outside of Rome. Constantine erected a church in her honour about the year 350.
For centuries, an annual celebration blesses two lambs at the altar in this church where her relics lie in honor of her life, witness, and innocence. The lambs are then sent to a cloister and raised. Their wool is used to make the palliums sent by the Pope to archbishops. The palliums are worn around the archbishop's shoulders as symbols of the sheep carried by the Good Shepherd.
All-powerful and ever-living God, you choose the weak in this world to confound the powerful. When we celebrate the memory of Saint Agnes, may we like her remain constant in our faith and purity. Amen.