St. Agnes of Bohemia

Who was she?

St. Agnes is the patron Saint of our parish and school, 

St. Agnes of Bohemia or “Prague” was born 1205, her father was Ottokar I, and her mother was sister of Andreas II, King of Hungary. (St. Elizabeth of Hungary was her first cousin and two years younger). St. Agnes was only 3 years old when she was promised in marriage to Boleslaus, son of Silesia and of St. Hedwig. She was sent away from home cared for by her nurse to the monastery of Trebnitz in Silesia. At the age of 6, St. Agnes returned to Bohemia to the convent of Doxan. At the age of 8, she returned to her family. At a very early age, she felt she was missing something in her life, she turned to God more and more and felt a desire to consecrate herself to a life of virginity and prayed that she would be able to follow the “call”.

St. Agnes of Bohemia felt her desire to consecrate herself to God at a very early age, this became very difficult to her.  The final commitment for marriage was given by her brother, King Wenceslaus, to Frederick II, a widower.  As of this time, St. Agnes increased her penances and prayers;  many times, she would rise before dawn and walk barefoot with some of her most devout ladies to visit the churches.  She returned with her feet bleeding from walking so much.  She would bathe them and resume her attire as a princess and attended to her duties and visit the sick.

St.  Agnes was 28 when Frederick II sent an ambassador to escort her to Germany for the marriage.  Even though her brother insisted on the marriage, St. Agnes found a way to delay the marriage.  She wrote to Pope Gregory IX and asked him to prevent the marriage.  St.  Agnes expressed to the Pope her opposition to the marriage and her desire to become the spouse of Christ.  After Frederick II verified that this objection came from St. Agnes herself, he released her from the commitment stating that he would not take offense if St. Agnes preferred the King of Heaven instead of himself.  It was then when St. Agnes consecrated herself and her possessions to God.  Her father brought the Friars Minor to Prague and she built a convent for them.  She started a great hospital for the poor and also built a convent for Poor Clare's.  

After the convent of Poor Clare's was completed in Prague, St. Clare of Assisi sent five nuns to start the community. In 1236 St. Agnes received the veil. She served as a role model. Girls of good family, princesses and noble women either founded or entered convents of Poor Clare's. St. Agnes always maintained the true spirit of St. Francis by seeking the lowliest of places to live, and performing the most menial tasks. St. Agnes died March 2, 1282 at the age of 77.

Our Parish & School…

In 1904, Father Francis Vanous was granted authorization to start a new parish for the people in the area known as Lawndale. Czech immigrants were moving to this new area and there was a need for a new Catholic Church. The church was built and blessed on July 5, 1904. The first group of parish members decided that the patroness of the church should be St. Agnes of Bohemia (at the time Blessed Agnes). Father Francis Vanous was the first pastor and retired in November, 1906. Our school was opened in November, 1904.

Our parish and school continued to grow and flourish. In 1912 under the administration of Father Kestl, the first Parish Bulletin was started.  During the same year, a second floor was added to the school and convent.  By 1914, the church was now too small to accommodate the increasing number of parishioners attending Mass and the planning to construct a new church began.  Eleven years passed, in1925 enough funds had been raised for the new construction.  The construction began in October, 1925 and was completed in November, 1926.  In 1929, when our parish celebrated 25 years, the number of children in the  school made it necessary for more Sisters to teach.  When the Sisters arrived there was not enough room in the convent and they purchased the building on 27th & Drake for a new convent.  St.  Agnes of Bohemia school and parish continued to grow even more...

Up until 1972, the community of St. Agnes of Bohemia was mainly Czech, but starting in 1972, and until today, the Hispanic community began to increase at St. Agnes. By 1972, the number of Hispanics had grown so much that it became necessary to begin a Mass in Spanish. The first Mass in Spanish started in the later part of 1973 and was presided by Father Matt Lorenz, along with Deacon Antonio Llano. We have come a long way since the start of our Parish and our School, we continue to grow every day. St. Agnes has been a home for many seminarians, priests, deacons, sisters, and bishops. We have gotten to know and love them, we hope to continue to share this love with many more.

Currently

St. Agnes is the place where:

•Over 10,000 people attend Mass each Sunday.

•Over 700 children receive religious education to prepare them to receive their Sacraments.

•Over 100 weddings are performed each year, including our Special Wedding.

•Over 100 children receive the sacrament of Baptism each month

•Over 600 students receive quality education at our school.

•Over 40 different parish clubs and groups keep our parish busy and alive every day.

We hope that you continue to be a part of us for many years to come.