Agnes of Poitiers, St.
AGNES OF POITIERS, ST.
Abbess; d. c. 589. She was the adopted daughter of St. radegunda, the wife of Chlotar I, King of the Franks (d. 561). In 550 Radegunda fled from her husband after he killed her brother. She found temporary refuge in several communities and finally founded the convent of the Holy Cross in Poitiers, which was consecrated by St. germain in 561. About 570 Radegunda and Agnes visited Arles to study the rule of St. caesarius. Subsequently the rule was adopted at Poitiers, and Agnes became the first abbess, but she was replaced in 589 after a revolt by dissatisfied elements in the convent. Agnes is remembered for her connection with the poet Venantius Fortunatus, who was also a correspondent of her mother. Her relics are preserved in the church of St. Radegunda, and her tomb is a popular place of pilgrimage in the area.
Feast: May 13 (Diocese of Poitiers).
Bibliography: gregory of tours, Historia Francorum 9.39–42 in Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum 1:393–404. f. g. holweck, A Biographical Dictionary of the Saints (St. Louis 1924) 33. r. aigrain, Catholicisme 1:216. a. mercati and a. pelzer, Dizionario ecclesiastico (Turin 1954–58) 1:56. p. de monsabert, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 1:973–974. g. allemang, Lexicon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 1957–65) 1:199.
[j. f. fahey]