Saint Agnes was born in North Vietnam in 1781. She was raised as a Christian, married young and raised 6 children.
At this time, the Mandarin Emperor, Ming, was actively persecuting Christians. For many years Saint Agnes, fully aware of the danger to herself, hid the local Catholic priests who had to stay hidden even while preforming the sacraments throughout the villages. The Saint found them safe sanctuary, even hiding them in her home, and then helped them to travel under disguise.
At age 63, she was arrested and told that she must renounce the Christian Faith. She refused, and the magistrate ordered her to be beaten, humiliated, and jailed. When her husband came to visit her in jail he was horrified by the blood and bruises where she had been beaten on the legs with sticks. Saint Agnes said:
” Thanks to the graces of Our Lady, I can bear this pain.”
The jailers then bound her legs and put poisonous snakes in her pants. Saint Agnes was in great fear, but she asked God to give her courage and was able to hold stock still so that the snakes did not bite her.
When the Saint’s daughter was allowed to visit her in jail, she began to cry piteously at the sight of her mother’s many dark red bruises. Saint Agnes comforted her daughter saying:
“Do not lament me, my daughter, these are the red roses of courage”.
She died in jail from her wounds.
She is one of the Vatican’s estimated 130,000 to 300,000 martyrs of Vietnam.