Chapter 2: Agnys

“I think we need to narrow our focus,” said Anneli. 


After several months of starting and stopping various ideas we finally decided to commit to making Lily & Lamb a reality. 


We had come up with 7 different designs for our first collection. All on different saints and themes - St. Joan of Arc, Mother Theresa, and Lamb of God were a few of them. But after meeting with a few fashion consultants, we realized we were completely naive to the complexity of creating so many custom garments.


That’s where Anneli’s comment came in. But if we were going to focus on one concept, the question was, which one? We loved them all.


“Our Lamb of God dress has the potential to reach families outside our Catholic audience,” said Anneli. “ With everything that’s going on in the world, it seems more important than ever to align with all Christians.”


We recently had a lot of conversations about how our Protestant brothers and sisters were showing a lot of courage and conviction in the midst of today’s toxic culture. It seemed like the right place to start so we could cast our nets wider for the launch of the brand. 


So we started working on ideas for a Lamb of God collection and came up with 5 garments for the collection. We even hired Averil - a freelance design director to help us. It was exciting to see it start to come together.


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I was out on a morning run in February. The sun was starting to rise. Coral colored clouds sat against a crisp blue sky. The winter air was like a shot of espresso waking me up. I was lost in thought about Lily & Lamb’s fall collection and ideas were flowing as my feet flowed across the pavement. 


Lamb of God. 

Agnus Dei, Latin for Lamb of God. 

Agnes. 

That sounds cool. 


I stop running and text Anneli: What do you think about naming the collection Agnes?


Anneli: Love it!

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As we were dreaming up Lily & Lamb we knew that stories would be incorporated into every collection. So what would be the story behind Agnes?


One night after the kids were asleep, I plopped into my bed with a cup of tea and my laptop. I started writing a poem about a girl named Agnes. Anneli and I had talked earlier about our character being a fictional girl that would symbolize the virtue our daughters would need to withstand the pressure of today’s post-Christian culture.


Here’s what the first stanza of the first draft looked like:


Agnes was a girl, sweet and innocent as a lamb

Radiating from within, she had a smile so glam

And yet she was strong and brave like a lion

For she knew her inheritance was in Zion


Okay, I know, it was terrible. But Anneli was kind enough to offer an encouraging word and then added her own thoughts:


She danced and twirled in fields of flowers.

The sunlight streamed with golden showers.

She held a bouquet of Hawthorn flowers.

      Brave and Beautiful Agnes.


A definite improvement.


For weeks we went back and forth. Brainstorming over phone calls with the kids playing in the background, and typing away on our laptops whenever we had a free moment to refine Agnes’ story. 


After countless iterations, we had crafted a poem about Agnys (we changed the spelling of her name to give it a modern twist). 


She is innocent and free as she dances in the field with Hawthorn flowers (which some traditions say were used to weave the crown of thorns). 


By her side is her best friend, a lamb (a symbol of Christ). 


Darkness comes in and she starts to feel swept up by its power (a symbol of our culture and the pressure to go along with what everyone else is doing). 


But when her friend, the lamb, steps forward (Christ) her courage is renewed and she remembers to pursue the good. 


In the end she overcomes the darkness and experiences an interior freedom from choosing to do what’s right.


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When we created Agnys, our goal was to inspire young girls. Little did I know that she would serve as a reminder to me to have courage.


One morning after I had spent some time reviewing the poem, I logged on to take mandatory training required for my part-time job. The training was infused with ideology that was in direct conflict with my faith. 


Would I stay silent?


I thought of Agnys. 


If I was going to share this bold message with my daughters - and your daughters - I had to back up my words with action. 


In the spirit of charity, I shared my feedback through our corporate HR portal. Was my voice heard? Maybe. Maybe not. But thanks to Agnys, I had the courage to use it.


What will Agnys inspire you to do?


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She danced and twirled in fields of flowers.

The sunlight streamed with golden showers.

She held a sprig of Hawthorn flowers.

    Brave and Beautiful Agnys.


Her friend was a little lamb snowy white.

Both of them small but with hearts of great might.

For even the small can change dark to light.

      Brave and Beautiful Agnys.


Together they explored the field and the wood

Though she sometimes stumbled, Agnys knew where she stood

Humbly imperfect, but in pursuit of the good

      Brave and Beautiful Agnys


One day dark and stormy winds came straining

Golden fields turned pale, the low sky raining

Evil swept in and the good was waning.

     Brave and Beautiful Agnys.


Struck with fear, her young heart began to quiver

Trembling, how could she go against the river?

She searched for someone with courage to give her

       Brave and Beautiful Agnys


Amidst the fog she saw her lamb was close by

Heart pounding, she recalled Truth was her ally.

She persevered and looked evil in the eye.

     Brave and Beautiful Agnys.


And then the clouds lifted and she felt free

The flowers shone bright like the galaxy

And the heavenly bells rang merrily

       Brave and Beautiful Agnys.


And so may it be known and understood,

Even when it’s hard, but you know you should

Always and forever, Pursue the Good.

       Brave and Beautiful __[your name here]_