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April 20


Saint of the day:
Saint Agnes of Montepulciano


Patron Saint of Siena, Italy

Saint Agnes of Montepulciano' Story

Saint Agnes of Montepulciano


Dominican Nun and Mystic, ca. 1270-1317

Her life

+ Agnes was born into a wealthy family in the Tuscan village of Gracchiano-Vecchio. Her first biographer was the Dominican friar Blessed Raymond of Capua.

+ As a young girl she entered a local religious community, the “Sisters of the Sack” (so called because of the rough fabric from which their clothes were made). Some years later, although she was still quite young, the sisters opened a new convent near Viterbo and Agnes served this community as treasurer and superior.

+ Agnes was known for her remarkable—and sometimes excessive—spirit of penance. It is related that she experienced visions and worked miracles to feed the sisters when there was not enough food. Despite her fame, Agnes remained a simple woman with a humble spirituality rooted in her love of Jesus and Mary.

+ In time, the sisters opened another community—this time in Montepulciano—which was placed under the care of the recently formed Order of Preachers (the Dominicans). Agnes became prioress and was happy to have her convent associated with a larger, recognized religious order.

+ Agnes died on April 20, 1317, and was canonized in 1726.

Worth knowing

Saint Agnes of Montepulciano is honored as the patron saint of the city of Siena, Italy, which was the home of another famous Dominican saint: Saint Catherine of Siena. Blessed Raymond of Capua—the biographer of Agnes of Montepulciano—also wrote the first biographer of Saint Catherine.


“A heart and sense that are full of this world and of self-love cannot be filled with Christ crucified and cannot taste true and sweet prayer. Understanding this, the sweet Agnes, stripped herself of herself and put on Christ crucified. She did this not only for herself, but for us as well. Her example obliges you to follow it steadfastly.” —Saint Catherine of Siena (writing to a nun of Montepulciano about Saint Agnes)







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Church of Sant'Agnese (Montepulciano)

Piazza Santa Agnese, 53045 Montepulciano SI, Italy

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Montepulciano is known for its wine and this wine is a great little table wine!



Chocolate-Red Wine Cake


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 3/4 cups sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 1/4 cups dry red wine

  • Confectioner's sugar, for dusting

  • Whipped cream, for serving



  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. In a bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

  2. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat for 2 minutes longer. Working in two batches, alternately fold in the dry ingredients and the wine, until just incorporated.

  3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack; let cool completely. Dust the cake with confectioner's sugar and serve with whipped cream.




Easy White Wine Crack Cake

This crack cake is a yellow cake baked to perfection then topped off with a butter glaze. A super gooey and delicious cake that will impress everyone!


  • 1 box yellow cake mix

  • 1 3.4 ounce vanilla pudding instant mix

  • 4 eggs

  • 2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 3/4 cups water

  • 3/4 cups vegetable oil

  • 1/2 cup white wine

Butter Glaze

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup white wine


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and grease a 10-inch bundt pan. 

  2. In a large bowl, mix the cake mix, eggs, cinnamon, 1/4 cup white sugar, brown sugar, pudding powder, oil, water, and 1/2 cup white wine. Mix until well combined but don't overmix. 

  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a butter knife inserted in the cake comes out clean. 

  4. The second the cake comes out of the oven, prepare the glaze. Add the butter, 1 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup white wine to a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. 

  5. Using a fork, poke holes all over the cake and then pour the butter mixture all over the top.

  6. Loosen the sides and center of the cake with a knife and then turn the cake onto a large serving plate. Enjoy warm! 


  • Pour the butter glaze over the cake while the cake is still nice and hot.

  • Don't overbake the cake.

  • Serve with fresh fruit and whipped cream!

  • Place any leftovers in an air-tight container and store them at room temperature.

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