Thursday, January 21, 2010
Today is the birthday of a virgin; let us imitate her purity. It is the birthday of a martyr; let us offer ourselves in sacrifice. It is the birthday of Saint Agnes, who is said to have suffered martyrdom at the age of twelve. The cruelty that did not spare her youth shows all the more clearly the power of faith in finding one so young to bear it witness. [St Ambrose]
The Church Ladies are big fans of St Agnes. But who can't stand to benefit from her patronage?
Here are some customs associated with St Agnes:
-Because of the similarity of her name to the Latin for "lamb" (agnus), the lamb has been St. Agnes' symbol since the 6th century. On 21 January, the Trappist fathers of the Monastery of Tre Fontane provide two lambs from their sheepfold to the Benedictine nuns of Saint Cecilia....The lambs are blessed and incensed before being taken to the Vatican for the Pope's blessing. Then they are delivered to the Convent of Saint Cecilia to become the pets of the sisters until Holy Thursday (when they are shorn) before being sacrificed on Good Friday...The wool from these lambs is woven into 12 archbishops' palliums. [source]
-Get maximum value out of your lamb pan. Use it to bake bread or a cake today. Serve with some Roman antipasti, like roasted artichokes, stuffed mushrooms, anchovies, or calamari. Try some pecorino cheese, which is made from sheep's milk.
-Here's a challenge for our more musical Church Ladies: Try setting St Ambrose's Hymn to St Agnes to music.