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We're about a month away from the feast of St. Agnes (for those of you who are Catholic, that is.)  Agnes's feast day is January 21, which this year got lost in the shuffle. The reason? It fell on a Sunday, and when a feast falls on a Sunday, generally speaking the saint's day cannot replace the central Sunday feast.


Having said that, poor Agnes deserves ' a word. She was an early day Church martyr, for which she is the patron saint of several worthy causes (chastity, young girls, sexual abuse victims, etc.)  A myth arose in the Middle Ages, memorialized by John Keats in "The Eve of St. Agnes". The gist of it is a young woman performing certain rituals the night before Agnes's feast day (such as watering rosemary and thyme and placing them in her shoes and then praying to St. Agnes) would then have the identity of her husband revealed to her in a dream.


My wife failed to do this before we married,  so she has no reason to wonder how each morning she wakes up next to this lump in her bed.


I doubt the myth is true, but it underscores we have a rich cultural heritage that is getting lost. I doubt they teach any of the charming saints' stories to kids these days, some of which, like the Agnes myth, may be fanciful, and others entirely valid. The point is: we should strive to preserve our heritage. Even myths grew out of a special reverence. And reverence is something that's in short supply in the world these days. Oh and by the way, my wife STRONGLY encourages single women to pray to St. Agnes when going to sleep before each January 21. I wonder what she means by that?


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