Friday 20 January 2023

20th January is St Agnes Eve

Agnes was beautiful and wealthy and became a Christian in the early 4th century when she announced that "Christ is my bridegroom .....I shall be his alone" Many men wanted to marry her and the Roman governor at the time decided she should be in a brothel for any man to abuse her but she was so meek and pure that no one would touch her. So she had to be killed and was executed.

Jusepe (José) de Ribera - St. Agnes in the prison
St Agnes in the prison by Jusepe de Ribera around 1641

In the past St Agnes Eve was an important night for young women and John Keats wrote a looooong poem with the title - this is a small bit. 

 St Agnes' Eve - Ah, bitter chill it was!
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
The hare limped trembling through the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in woolly fold.

They told her how, upon St Agnes' Eve,
Young virgins might have visions of delight

And soft adorings from their loves receive
Upon the honey'd middle of the night,
If ceremonies due they did aright;
As, supper-less to bed they must retire,
And couch supine their beauties ,lily white;
nor look behind, nor sideways, bur require
Of heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire.

John Keats - The Eve of St Agnes 1820

According to my book "Cattern Cakes and Lace" if you want to dream of your future partner you must keep your wish in mind, pick pins from a pincushion and stick them in your sleeve. Then you must go to bed and be sure to lay on your back with your hands behind your head - having done all this you will dream of being kissed by your partner!

Don't think I'll be bothering!

Thanks to wiki for the following.......
The church of Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (ItalianSant'Agnese fuori le mura) is a titulus churchminor basilica in Rome, on a site sloping down from the Via Nomentana, which runs north-east out of the city, still under its ancient name.[1] What are said to be the remains of Saint Agnes are below the high altar. The church is built over the Catacombs of Saint Agnes, where the saint was originally buried, and which may still be visited from the church. A large basilica with the same name was built nearby in the 4th century and its ruins can be seen near Santa Costanza, in the same site. The existing church was built by Pope Honorius I in the 7th century, and largely retains its original structure, despite many changes to the decoration.

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  1. I love that poem! I can even recite the first verse :-)

  2. I had never heard of any of this that. But pretty interesting.

  3. Poor St Agnes! Lovely painting
    Alison in Wales x

  4. Women did not have much choice in life in those days. To be unmarried was dangerous. To be too clever was dangerous. To be ugly was dangerous. Or too loud. Too bold. I would not have made it out of my twenties!

  5. I made cattern cakes a couple of years ago, from a historic recipe. Not bad! It was a corruption of Catherine, and was a kind of celebration of women dessert. So it's appropriate for Agnes, too.

  6. I have to sleep on my back anyway but hope your suggestion doesn't apply.

  7. WintersEndRambler20 January 2023 at 15:56

    Do you really think anybody ever did that?!

  8. It all seems very archaic and thank goodness those times are past.

  9. St Agnes Church, Cawston, Norfolk is one of the finest churches in England. St Agnes is celebrated in the church.

  10. Some of those old saint stories sound like scary fairy tales to me.

  11. I think I have read this before. Man those poor women saints had a very rough time of it. Scary what I have read.

    God bless.

  12. (Something happened to comments) You never know another soul mate may come along.