The Catholic Defender: St Agnes and the Eucharistic Miracle
Agnes and her Eucharistic Christ
During the life ofSt. Agnes Saint, the Church was emphasized the theology of the Sacraments, thanks to the great masters of theology most in demand during the Saint's lifetime, St. Albert the Great, St. Bonaventure, and Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Blessed Raymond of Capua writes about one Sunday at dawn. Saint Agnes was in the monastery's garden, kneeling before the Crucifix, away from everyone, immersed in prayer. She went into such a deep state of ecstasy, that contined into the night, she was still on her knees in the olive garden.
The sun was setting when Agnes finally came out of the ecstasy and remembered that it was Sunday. Now her soul was devastated! She was profoundly remorseful for not having participated in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. But as she was weeping, there appeared before her an Angel offering her a Consecrated Host.
Jesus, Whom she had kept company all day in prayer did not wish to deprive her of Himself in the Eucharist. This Miracle repeated itself exactly the same for ten consecutive Sundays.
"Agnes, whom God wanted to guide to perfection, deserved to receive the Body of Christ from the hands of an Angel many times." (Blessed Raymond of Capua)
The sisters gave testimony to this miracle, just as it has been related. They also testified they heard Agnes talk about it as if she was talking of the Divine world; and although the Saint spoke about it obscurely, the sisters from her time related the event very clearly.
Miracles of the Cross
Throughout the life of the Saint, Our Lord Jesus would come alive on the Cross during St. Agnes' ecstasies. It was during these times that He would reveal to her matters which were of great importance to her regarding her own spiritual walk in the community life, or in the Church. Very often, she would levitate to the Cross during her ecstasies. And it was to this Crucifix, which in a state of ecstasy the Saint levitated, embraced and placed her lips on Jesus' Side. (from the Chronicles of the Monastery)
A Chapel of the Crucifix was built in 1557 in her church in Montepulciano, and in it was placed the Crucifix that had been in Saint Agnes' chapel during her lifetime. It was this Crucifix that spoke many times to the Saint.
The Foretelling of Illness
Agnes had been in Proceno nearly fifteen years, when she became enraptured in one of her frequent ecstasies, listening to Jesus as He spoke to her from the Miraculous Cross. At this time, He prophesied a long and painful illness, which she would have to endure.
As Sister Agnes continued to kneel before the Crucifix, Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her seated on a high throne, surrounded by an army of Angels, forming a crown. The angels were singing in a marvelous harmony the Marian sequence "Vernans rosa, spes humilium, propitia..." (Spring rose, hope of the humble, benevolent, compassionate,). While contemplating the Vision, her heart filled with indescribable joy, the Saint's attention was suddenly drawn to the surprising demeanor of some of the Angels! They were fanning Our Lady's face, so as to give her relief from what appeared to be some kind of extreme heat. Agnes struggled to understand the significance of the Angels fanning Our Lady, since the Virgin Mary in the glory of Paradise certainly would not feel suffering or physical discomfort like cold or heat.
Shortly after this mysterious Vision, Agnes began to notice the first symptoms of an illness "which was affecting her limbs, and most especially her head." This illness and pain would be her companion the rest of her life until her death.
The Saint came to understood the full meaning of the Vision, especially the part about the Angels, which had left her perplexed: God, by allowing her to see the fanning of Our Lady's face, seemed to be endeavoring to tell her:
"You will have to sustain the grief of a grave illness, but will have the sweet comfort of My Grace; you will suffer serenely each adversity, without the affliction of impatience." (taken from her biography by Bl. Raymond of Capua)
The sudden appearance of the illness deeply disturbed the doctors, who, immediately attempted to impose on Agnes, an end to the harsh penance to which she had been subjecting herself for some time. Only the orders of the doctors and the insistence of the Nuns convinced her, although unwillingly, to abandon the exhaustive fasting, and instead of resting on the bare dirt to do so on a real bed. Only the understandable consolation of the Nuns, who awaited her quick healing helped her carry out their wishes.
Life of Charity
It was not mandatory for the Sisters of the Sackcloth to be cloistered, so there are various testimonies speaking of Agnes and the Sisters maintaining a good relationship with the people in town. Whenever their presence was needed they would always be there to offer a word of comfort and whatever type of assistance they could offer. The monastery was visited not only by benefactors and relatives, who brought offerings in the form of monetary donations and food; but also by many poor people with whom the Sisters willingly shared the gifts which the Good God in His Providence never allowed them to be without.