Saint Cecilia

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Saint Cecilia by Nicolas PoussinSaint Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians, singers and music.

The feast day of Cecilia is November 22.

Pedants of Saint Cecilia are very popular among singers, musicians and music lovers of all kinds.

Many claim this Saint will help them deliver their best performance and protect them in their artistic career.

Others who turn to Saint Cecilia do so just because they enjoy singing and songs or simply because they adore the Saint.

Saint Cecilia is one of the most popular Catholic saints today.

Saint Cecilia is one of the seven female Saints mentioned Canon of the Mass. The seven female Saints mentioned are: Saint Felicity, Saint Perpetua, Saint Agatha, Saint Lucia, Saint Agnes, Saint Cecilia, and Saint Anastasia.




Legend of Saint Cecilia

Cecilia was from Rome. She was born into an upper-class family. Presumably this was in the third Century.

Early in life she declared she would forever remain a virgin and serve Christ. Her parents did not take this vow seriously. Cecilia was against her will betrothed to marry a man named Valarian.

Cecilia was desperate and determined not to break her vow. Cecilia went off by herself at the wedding party.

Waterhouse John William Saint Cecilia -1895

Saint Cecilia by John William Waterhouse

She insisted to sit alone and spent hours singing praises to the Lord on her wedding day.

On her wedding night she had a serious talk with her husband and declared she had no intention of consummating the marriage. She was determined to remain a virgin.

Valarian – the husband of Saint Cecilia

Cecilia asked Valarian to respect her promise to God. She informed him that an angel was watching over her. Her guardian angel would harm any man who tried to take her virginity.

Valarian was bewildered. His bride was so strongminded. He argued that he could not see this supposed angel she spoke of. He was told by his new bride to go see Pope Urbanus and convert to the Christian faith.

As it turned out Valarian was a man of high standards and gave Cecilia the support and insurance she needed. He agreed to respect her wish.

Cecilia receiving wreathValarian converted to Christianity. When he returned to his wife, sure enough, he saw an angel standing by Cecilia.

The angel was holding two wreaths made up of roses and lilies and placed one each of their heads.

Lilies were believed to symbolize virginity. Roses could amongst other things represent martyrdom.

Valarian was now a firm believer. Soon after his brother whose name was Tiburtius was baptized.

Valarian and his brother Tiburtius devoted their lives to charity. They helped fellow Christians in need. A Roman soldier named Maximus converted to Christianity and joined the two brothers.

One of the tasks the three men were involved with was burying the bodies of Christian martyrs. They were soon discovered and arrested.

The three men were brought to trial. They steadfastly refused to worship the pagan gods. The three young men were sentenced to death and executed.

Saint Cecilia Arrested

Cecilia by RaphaelCecilia was arrested as she was burying the bodies of her faithful husband, her brother-in-law and their friend.

She was brought before Almachius. Almachius tried to reason with Cecilia. He spent some time trying to overthrow her faith by debate.

He failed miserably at this task. Cecilia was firm in her faith.

Almachius plotted a plan for this stubborn woman to suffer. She was to endure a slow and painful death. He ordered that she be trapped in a bath with unbearable heat and hot water. Cecilia was to slowly die from suffocation and heat injuries.

As it turned out even though the furnaces were stoked to an insufferable heat, Cecilia remained unharmed.

Death of Saint Cecilia

Almachius was furious. He ordered the beheading of Cecilia. The soldier who was appointed to behead her was certainly not experienced.

The soldier tried to cut her head off three times before walking away. She was left to die a painful death with three deep cuts to her neck.

Cecilia managed to stay alive for three agonizing days. She spent the last three days singing praises to the Lord.

The story of Cecilia is also found in a part of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales called “The Second Nun’s Tale”

Body of Saint Cecilia

Saint Cecilia was buried by Pope Urban I in the Catacombs of Callixtus. Her body was later moved to the Church of Saint Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome.

Church of Saint Cecilia RomeThe Church of Saint Cecilia is said to be built on the same ground as the house where she once lived.

It is told her body was discovered to be incorrupt in 1599. Saint Cecilia is the first Saint to be declared incorrupt.


A Prayer to Saint Cecilia

“Oh Glorious Saint Cecilia!

You died young loving your martyrdom,

and accepted the sacrifice in order to protect your virginity.

I ask you to help me in this test I am going to undertake,

upon which my honor and work rely.

Listen to my prayers, Saint Cecilia,

and I will play music in your name.

Let me honor you always in the glory

of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen. “