Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Feast of Saint Agnes

"The Feast of Saint Agnes is marked every year in Rome with a custom rich in symbolism and tradition. Two very young lambs from the sheepfold belonging to the Trappist Fathers of Tre Fontaine near Saint Paul's Basilica are crowned and placed in baskets decorated with red and white flowers and ribbons signifying Saint Agnes' purity and martyrdom. The lambs are ceremoniously incensed and blessed after having been carried in procession to the altar near the end of Solemn Mass at the Basilica of Saint Agnes Outside the Walls. The lambs are then shown to the Pope at the Vatican and afterwards entrusted to the care of the Benedictine nuns of Santa Cecilia in Trastavere who rear them until Holy Thursday when they are then sheared. The wool from these lambs is used to weave the pallia, articles of ecclesiastical apparel worn by the Pope as well as by metropolitan archbishops and patriarchs..."

The Latin word for lamb is "agnus". Saint Agnes, martyr of purity, pray for us!


  1. I hate to ask this so soon into our freindship, but are you Catholic? (I am, so I wondered). I never knew all that about the garmets worn by the Pope, though. Interesting!

  2. Yes, I am Catholic. I thought about you and your knitting when I was writing this, even though the pallia are woven and not knitted. Do you weave? My mother used to, and I've done it a bit; I felt like the Lady of Shalott. It was great! :-)