AGNES OF BOHEMIA Biography

Hungarian princess. Born in Prague, 1205; died 1282; dau. of Otakar or Ottokar I, king of Bohemia and Hungary (r. 1198–1230), and Constance of Hungary (d. 1240); sister of Wenceslas I (1205–1253), king of Bohemia (r. 1230–1253).

Revered as a saint but never canonized, was renowned for her piety; saw 2 betrothals broken off when young and began to show a great interest in charitable work; had 2 more offers of marriage (from Henry III of England and Emperor Frederick II), but successfully petitioned the pope for permission to pursue a religious life (1233); joined Franciscan order of the Poor Clares (1234); though the pope commanded that she be abbess, maintained that she was not superior to other nuns and insisted on performing all menial tasks; heightened her growing fame when she reconciled her brother Wenceslas with his rebellious son Ottokar II, king of Bohemia; because of her popularity, the Franciscan order was spread throughout Bohemia; also founded several convents as well as a monastery and a hospital at Prague; was so revered that after her death at age 77, many of the sick wore her relics and prayed to Blessed Agnes in the belief that her spirit could effect miracles of healing.

See also Women in World History.