Mass in Honour of St. Agnes of Bohemia

By courtesy of the National Gallery, the 2011 celebrations of the Year of St. Agnes of Bohemia continue with the Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka honouring the saint in a divine service at the St. Agnes of Bohemia Monastery on Friday, April 1, at 6 p.m. Bishop Jiří Paďour’s homily is to contemplate the princess saint as a votaress of poverty.
Published: 28. 3. 2011 16:30

Prague: The Archbishop of Prague’s invitation summons to the first monastery of Minoresses in Bohemia, where St. Agnes had lived, worked, suffered and died. Aided by her brother Wenceslas I., the Přemyslids princess founded the monastery with a hospital in 1231 and entered the order three years later at Pentecost to be installed as the abbess in the first gothic building of its kind in Bohemia.

The monastery had gone from rearing a church of Christ the Saviour with the Přemyslids’ tomb in 1267 over being evacuated in 1419 and raided in 1611 to its dissolation during Joseph II.’s reign in 1782. After a century of serving as storage rooms and workshops, the remaining premises were saved from their planned destruction in 1889 and gradually restored since 1900 by the then Bl. Agnes’ Monastery Renewal Unity, which was taken over by the National Gallery in 1953. The monastery was proclaimed a National Monument in 1978 and it currently houses a permanent exhibition of Bohemian and mid-European medieval and renaissance art.

The king’s daughter Agnes had renounced wealth and refused proposals of the most powerful men of Europe in order to follow the greatest spiritual challenge of her time – St. Francis of Assissi’s ideal of poverty.

This year is the 800th anniversary of her birth and the Year of St. Agnes of Bohemia is to point out the work and historical significance of this extraordinary historical personage. Celebrations include numerous concerts of spiritual music inspired by the saint and an international scientific conference. The Year will climax in a divine service at the Cathedral of Ss. Vitus, Wenceslas and Adalbert in Prague on November 12, as a commemoration of St. Agnes’ cannonization anniversary. Finally, the National Gallery, the Archdiocese of Prague and other cultural and ecclesiastical bodies are organizing a unique exhibition entitled "St. Agnes of Bohemia – princess and nun", starting at the monastery on November, 25.

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