The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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Sant’Agnese

Walking around the lake in the morning, I sometimes meet a friend, whom I’ve gotten to know over the course of a year. Often, I meet her twice in the cycle, because I walk in a clockwise direction and she walks counterclockwise.

A year ago, when I first set eyes on her, I noticed she walked with a slight limp and seemed damaged somehow. When we became friends, I found out why. She has suffered a great deal in this life, more than most, and, because of it, has dedicated her life to being the best person possible. The amazing thing is that she never forgets. It’s not just something she says to make herself feel good about herself. She has the deepest pool of sympathy for humanity I’ve ever felt in another human being, even those who call themselves enlightened.

The truth is that my friend brings to mind Agnes of Rome, Sant’Agnese, though I’ve never told her this. You know the story of St. Agnes, don’t you? She was barely a teen when Sempromius condemned her to death for refusing to marry his son. Because Roman law prevented him from executing a virgin, he had her dragged through the streets to a brothel. It’s the kind of thing vindictive men drunk with power sometimes do.

Anyway, the moral of the story (at least, for me) is that true saints are those who have no inkling of how good they are. They simply are.

April 2, 2009   Comments Off on Sant’Agnese