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St. Agnes of Montepulciano

Stained glass window from St. Dominic’s Church in Washington, D.C. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.

Stained glass window from St. Dominic’s Church in Washington, D.C. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.

The following reflection is part of an ongoing series about the life of St. Dominic & the Order of Friars Preachers.

A Dominican nun, Agnes (1268 – 1317) was renowned for her diligence in prayer and her extraordinary charity. Although born of a wealthy family in Gracchiano, Italy, she believed that charity is the only way to acquire the virtue of humility: there is no humility without charity; the one nourishes the other. She first joined the Sisters of the Sack (so called because of their rough clothes) in Montepulciano. But when a new foundation was established in Proceno, Agnes was sent there as housekeeper; later she served as bursar and superior. Meanwhile her austerities and her visions of Christ, Mary, and the angels had become so well known that the citizens of Montepulciano invited her to return. She did so and founded a convent in premises formerly used as brothels. Because she sought perfection according to the way of St. Dominic, she placed the convent under the direction of the Dominicans, and it grew and prospered.

Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. (a member of the English Province) was invited by the Dominican Foundation to take pictures of some of the locations where our friars serve throughout the Northeast. During his time in Washington, D.C., Fr. Lew photographed the interior of the Church of St. Dominic. St. Dominic’s has been the church where our friars are ordained to the priesthood each May. Surrounding the church, is a collection of beautiful stained glass windows that chronicle the life of St. Dominic & the foundation of the Order of Preachers. Fr. Lew accomplished a great work by capturing the splendor of these windows, and in the process, the life of a towering saint.

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