Catalan Review

SANCTE AGNETIS, MÀRTIR E VERGE: A MODEL VIRGIN FOR LAITY AND CLERGY IN ST. VICENT FERRER’S CATALAN SERMON

Catalan Review (2016), 30, (1), 33–50.

Abstract

St. Agnes of Rome became one of the most celebrated martyrs of the fourth century. Her passion story was popularized by several Church Fathers, most notably Pope Damasus, Prudentius, and Ambrose of Milan. In the Middle Ages, Jacobus of Voragine widely disseminated her hagiography through his Legenda Aurea. St. Vicent Ferrer (1350–1419) dedicated a sermon to her entitled Sancte Agnetis, which he preached in late medieval Catalan. In this sermon he relied very little on Jacobus and the bulk of the previous passion stories about Agnes, which is unusual for Vicent’s hagiographical sermons. Vicent was more interested in promoting the saint’s virginity as a model of holiness for laity and clergy. This article seeks to identify the provenance of the hagiographical material that he did include. It also explores how Vicent proposed the virtue of virginity as a model of holiness to his target audience.

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FERREIRO, ALBERTO