Tuesday, January 20, 2015

St. Agnes Lamb's Wool Drinks

On January 21 we celebrate the feast of St. Agnes, 4th century martyr, known for her consecrated virginity. She is often depicted holding a lamb as her name, Agnes, means lamb or victim in Latin, and pure in Greek. In Rome on this feast day, two lambs are placed on the altar of the Basilica where her relics lie and are then blessed. The wool from these lambs is used in making the pallium, the symbols archbishops wear as sign of their authority. These are given to the new archbishops on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, June 29.

There are so many beautiful details associated with this tradition, as specified in this article from the Vatican News Network:

The small lambs, traditionally less than a year old, are carried to the Pope in baskets, as per tradition, by the Canons Regular of the Cathedral of St John Lateran. To symbolize St. Agnes’ purity, one of the lambs wears a crown of white flowers, while the other wears a red floral wreath to recall her faithful witness even unto death.

Reared by religious sisters in the Saint Lawrence convent in Panisperna, Rome, come Summer these same lambs will be brought to the Saint Cecilia convent in Trastevere.  There, in a custom that has remained in tact down through the centuries, they will be shorn to supply the wool from which the religious sisters will weave the Pallium.

The Pallium are white woolen stoles, decorated with six black crosses worn by metropolitan archbishops around their necks as a symbol of their authority and unity with the Pope. Once woven they are custodied in an urn at the tomb of St Peter until the Holy Father presents them to newly-appointed metropolitan archbishops on June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

St. Agnes Lamb's Wool Drink Ideas

With the connection of lamb's wool, St. Agnes feast day lends itself to anything fluffy and white. Whipped cream seemed a fun way to try to replicate the look of wool and with this mid-winter feast, a perfect topping for a warm drink.  It's easy too!  Whether it be hot chocolate, chia latte, or a cappuccino, make it St. Agnes festive with a "woolly" topping. 

And if you are looking for some specific drink recipes with woolly names here are a few that would be fitting as well. 

Lamb's Wool - a type of Wassail ale dating from medieval times, traditionally served on Twelfth Night celebrating the end of the Christmas season. It is so named as the frothy apple mixture resembles wool. It would make a fun drink for St. Agnes feast celebrating as well. Florence Berger has a recipe for Lamb's Wool in her Cooking for Christ cookbook.  There are other versions of this wool-named ale including this one from Miss Foodwise blog.  Can be made as either an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink.

Warm Wooly Sheep - a sweet, creamy, warm drink for the grown ups. It is made from Scotch, Drambuie, and warm milk. Recipes abound on various mixed drink websites.

St. Agnes, Pray for us!

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