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Saint Agnes of Bohemia

Saint Agnes of Bohemia

Saint Agnes of Bohemia is also known as St. Agnes of Prague where she was born. Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic and the historical capital of Bohemia.   

She is considered a medieval Bohemian princess. Her parents are Ottokar, King of Bohemia and Constance of Hungary, a relative of St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

St. Agnes was a descendant of Ludmila of Bohemia and Wenceslaus Ipatron saints of Bohemia. Her mother was the sister of King Andrew II of Hungary.

At age three, her guardian Hedwig of Andechs, the wife of Duke Henry I the earded of Silesia sent her to the monastery of Treinitz for her early education under the Cistercian nuns which she later joined. She also founded that monastery.

When she returned to Prague, she was entrusted to the monastery of Premonstratensian Canonesses to continue her education. 

At age eight, she was engaged to Henry, son of Emperor Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. Henry was then only 10 years old and had just been crowned King of Germany. 

They both backed out of the arranged marriage as the day came. Her father planned that she marry Henry III of England, but this was opposed by the Emperor himself because he wanted to wed Agnes.

So she committed herself to God through prayer and spiritual works, through a cloistered life. That was more acceptable to Emperor Frederick than her being married to another man. 

In his words: "If she had left me for a mortal man, I would have taken vengeance with the sword, but I cannot take offence because, in preference to me, she has chosen the King of Heaven."

Agnes joined the Order of St. Clare in the monastery of St. Saviour in Prague where she was elected superior of the monastery. 

Despite her high post as a nun, she cooked for and patched the clothes of lepers. Agnes spent at least 45 years in a Poor Clare monastery.

The sisters found her to be kind but very rigorous in the observance of poverty and she even refused her royal brother’s offer to set up an endowment fund for the monastery. 

Thus she became a good example of Christian virtues like faith, hope, charity and obedience, which he lived out to a high level.

She was believed to have been favoured by God with the gift of miracles. She also foretold the victory of her brother Wenceslaus over the Duke of Austria.

The date of Agnes' death is estimated to be around 1281. Pope Pius IX beatified her in 1874. Then on November 12, 1989, she was beatified by Pope Pius IX in Vatican City, Rome.

She is still revered by Christians across the globe even after more than 700 years. She is also patronised in the Czech Republic.

On the 800th anniversary of her birth in 2011, she was honoured as the Saint of the Overthrow of Communism, with one year devoted to her by Catholics in the Czech Republic.


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