Saint of the day: Saint Cecilia

Saint Cecilia is the patroness of all musicians. When the musicians played at her wedding as it was written, she sang in her heart to the Lord.

Her feast day is celebrated in the Catholic, Anglican, and Eastern Orthodox churches on November 22.She is one of seven women, excluding the Blessed Virgin, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Holy Mass.

Saint Cecilia was beheaded with a sword. Santa Cecilia, was founded in the fourth century in the Trastevere section of Rome, reputedly on the site of the house in which she lived.

A number of musical compositions are dedicated to her, and her feast day, November 22, became the occasion for concerts and musical festivals.

Cecilia, a noble lady of Rome, with her husband Valerian, his brother Tiburtius, and a Roman soldier named Maximus, suffered martyrdom in about 230, under the Emperor Alexander Severus.

The research of Giovanni Battista de Rossi, agrees with the statement of Venantius Fortunatus, Bishop of Poitiers, “that she perished in Sicily under Emperor Marcus Aurelius between 176 and 180”.

Despite her vow of virginity, she was forced by her parents to marry a nobleman named Valerian.

During the wedding, Cecilia sat apart singing to God in her heart, and for that she was later declared the saint of musicians.

At the completion of the marriage ceremony, Cecilia told her husband that she had an angel of the Lord watching over her who would punish him if he dared to violate her virginity but who would love him if he could respect her maidenhood.

When Valerian her husband asked to see the angel, Cecilia replied that he would see the angel if he would go to the third milestone on the Via Appia (the Appian Way) and be baptized by Pope Urbanus.

After his baptism, he found an angel standing by the side of Cecilia, and crowning her with a chaplet of roses and lilies.

The martyrdom of Cecilia is said to have followed that of Valerian and his brother by the prefect Turcius Almachius.

The legend about Cecilia’s death says that after being struck three times on the neck with a sword, she lived for three days, and asked the pope to convert her home into a church.

Cecilia was buried at the Catacombs of St. Callistus, and then transferred to the Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere.

In 1599, her body was found still incorrupt, seeming to be asleep.

There is no mention of Cecilia in the Depositio Martyrum, but there is a record of an early Roman Christian church founded by a lady of this name Santa Cecilia in Trastevere.

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