Agnes of Bohemia

About 1200 to probably 1281 (Seton gives 1205 to 1282), sister of the order of S. Clare, contemporary of SS. Francis and Clare, descended from Wencelas the Holy, daughter of Ottokar I of Bohemia, betrothed in turn to Boheslas of Silesia, Henry and then Henry’s father, Emperor Frederick II, courted by Henry III of England, Agnes took orders in 1234 and became a Franciscan.

Her life is of interest, since it is historically verifiable. She received four letters from S. Clare, and played a significant role in the confirmation of the order’s rule, especially the Privilege of Poverty which was finally granted in full on 9 August 1253 (the Bull Solet annuere), news of which reached S. Clare shortly before she died.

She was beatified only on 12 November 1989 (by John Paul II). Her feast day is 2 March (Seton gives 6 March).

The Vita given here is taken from Walter W[arren] Seton (1915), Some New Sources for the Life of Blessed Agnes of Bohemia, Aberdeen: The University Press. Seton’s Latin text is from Bamberg, Staatsbibliothek, manuscript Misc. Hist. 146, E.VII.19 and was probably prepared by a Friar Minor soon after Agnes’ death in support of an application for her canonisation. The two vitæ given by the Bollandists in the Acta Sanctorum seem to derive to a great extent from a text similar to that of the Bamberg manuscript, which is probably truer to an archetypal version, insofar as there was one. Seton gives a fuller discussion.

You can download the Latin Vita (36k *.zip file) by clicking here.

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Angus Graham.