The Rule, Article 4

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Agnes, daughter of Premislaus, king of Bohemia, was born in Prague about the year 1205. She declined an imperial marriage and in 1236 entered the monastery of the Poor Clares that she had founded and which she directed for many years. She enjoyed a close friendship with Saint Clare who wrote several letters to her dealing with Franciscan spirituality. Agnes died between the years 1280-1283.

From the common of virgins, 1441.

From a letter of Saint Clare to Blessed Agnes of Prague
(I. Omaechevarria [Madrid 1970] 324-327)

Poor virgin, embrace the poor Christ

I thank the giver of grace from whom we believe every good and perfect gift comes that he has adorned you with such virtues and made you resplendent with such perfection. You have become a diligent imitator of the perfect Father. May you attain such perfection that his eyes may see no imperfection in you. This is the perfection by which the king will unite you to himself in the heavenly bridal chamber. There he is seated in glory on his star studded throne.

You consider kingly honors of small value and the offers of royal marriage ill-suited to you as a follower of most holy poverty. In the spirit of great humility and ardent love, you follow in the footsteps of him whose bride you are found worthy to be. Since I know that you are held in honor because of your virtues, I refrain from wordiness. I do not wish to burden you with superfluous words though to you noting may seem superfluous from which you may derive a measure of consolation.

One thing however is necessary. I make it the topic of my admonition. I exhort you for the love of him to whom you have offered yourself as a pleasing gift that you be ever mindful of your resolution. Like another Rachel, always cling to your determinations. Hold fast when you have. Keep on doing what you are doing. Do not depart from your course. With swift peace, light tread and unswerving fidelity proceed safely with joy and gladness along the way that leads to salvation. Let no dust gather on your feet. Put no confidence in anything, nor consent to anything that could draw you away from your goal. Let nothing be a stumbling block to keep you from fulfilling your vows to the Most High in that perfection to which the Spirit of God called you.

If anyone tells you anything to the contrary, or suggests anything that would impede you, or seem contrary to God’s calling, even though you must respect him, do not follow his advice. As a poor virgin, embrace the poor Christ. Look at him who became contemplate for your sake and follow him. Be despised in this would for his sake.

Noble queen, fix your gaze upon him, meditate on him, contemplate him in your eagerness to imitate your spouse, the comeliest of men who became the vilest of men for your salvation, despised, buffeted, scourged and dying on the hard cross. If you suffer with him, you shall reign with him; if you mourn with him, you shall rejoice with him. If you die on the cross and him in tribulations, you will have an abode in heaven in the splendor of the saints. Your name in the book of life will be glorious among men.

In recompense for this you will forever share in the glory of heaven in exchange for the fleeting things of earth, and in eternal possessions in exchange for those that perish. And you will live forever.

From: Proper Offices of Franciscan Saints and Blesseds in the Liturgy of the Hours