Introduction to the Letters to Agnes of Prague - 39 

The Letters to Agnes of Prague

Introduction

Agnes of Prague, daughter of King Premsyl Ottokar I of Bohemia and his second wife Queen Constance of the Hungarian Arpad dynasty, was born in 1205. Agnes was engaged at an early age to a son of the duke of Silesia and was sent to that court to live.a Her education there was taken care of by Queen, later saint, Hedwig.

When Agnes was only three years old, the young duke died and the princess returned to Prague where she was placed in a Premonstratensian monastery for her education. Shortly after she was engaged to the son of the Emperor Frederick II, the future Henry VII, who was in residence at the court of Duke Leopold of Austria. Agnes was then sent to Austria to live, but, after some time, the young Henry left her in order to marry Duke Leopold's daughter. Once again Agnes returned to Prague where her angry father was preparing to wage war against Leopold, but the princess persuaded her father not to revenge her. She next received offers of marriage from the royal court of England, and then from Frederick II, whose wife had died. Her father did not accept any of these offers, however, leaving Agnes free to remain in Prague, devoting herself to charitable works.

At this time she met the Lesser Brothers who had arrived in the city in 1225. No doubt these friars spoke to her of Clare, the life of the Poor Ladies of San Damiano, and the ideals of the Gospel as lived each day by Francis, Clare, and their followers. Agnes then set out fulfilling her own plans. In 1232 she obtained property from her brother for the erection of a hospice, which she built and turned over to the administration of the Crosiers of the Red Star. She also obtained land for a convent to house the "Poor Ladies" and a residence to satisfy the needs of the Lesser Brothers who would act as chaplains. When the building was completed, Agnes wrote to

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Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 39

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