Feast Day : November 16
Agnes of Assisi was born at Assisi, Italy, in 1197 or 1198 to a noble family. Her father was Count Favorino Scifi, and her mother, Bl. Hortulana, belonged to the noble family of the Fiumi. In addition, her cousin Rufino was one of the celebrated “Three Companions” of St. Francis of Assisi. Agnes lived an idyllic childhood in luxurious surroundings in her father’s palace in the city and in his castle of Sasso Rosso on Mount Subasio. On March 18, 1212, Clare, Agnes’s sister, left home to follow the example set by St. Francis. Inspired, Agnes departed 16 days later and went to the Benedictine monastery of St.Angelo in Panso. Furious, Count Favorino sent his brother Monaldo, with several relatives and some armed followers, to force Agnes to return home. According to an account in the Chronicles of the Twenty-four Generals, Monaldo drew his sword to strike Agnes, but his arm dropped, withered and useless, by his side. Others dragged Agnes out of the monastery by the hair, striking her and kicking her repeatedly until she was near death. Clare came to the rescue. Suddenly Agnes’s body became so heavy that the soldiers dropped her in a field near the monastery. Agnes stayed, and Francis rewarded her by cutting off her hair and giving her the habit of poverty. He installed Clare and Agnes at St. Damian’s, along with their mother, their sister Beatrice and some noblewomen. The Order of the Poor Ladies of St. Damian’s, or Poor Clares, was born. Agnes became abbess and was well-loved. In 1219 Francis sent her to Monticelli, near Florence, to found and govern a community of the Poor Ladies. She also established communities at Mantua, Venice and Padua. In 1253 Agnes attended Clare on her deathbed and assisted at her funeral. Clare had predicted that Agnes would soon follow her. Three months later, on November 16, Agnes died and was buried near her mother and sisters Clare and Beatrice in the church of St. Clare at Assisi. Miracles were reported at her tomb. Benedict XIV (r. 1740–58) permitted the Order of St. Francis to celebrate her feast.