Who Is Saint Cecilia?
Saint Cecilia (Latin: Sancta Caecilia) is the patroness of musicians. It is written that as the musicians played at her wedding she "sang in her heart to the Lord". Her feast day is celebrated in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches on November 22. She is one of seven women, excluding the Blessed Virgin, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.
Cecilia has become a symbol of the conviction that good music is an integral part of liturgy.
She suffered martyrdom circa 230, under the Emperor Alexander Severus, with her husband Valerian, his brother Tiburtius, and a Roman soldier Maximus. According to the story, when the time came for her marriage to be consummated, Cecilia told Valerian that she had an angel of the Lord watching over her who would punish him if he dared to violate her but who would love him if he could respect her. When Valerian 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.
Cecilia converted her husband and his brother to the faith of Christ. Cecilia convinced Valerian to help in her charity toward the poor, and so he was put to death. Cecilia refused to sacrifice to the pagan gods. The judge condemned her to be smothered by steam. The Lord protected Cecilia from this fate. Then the judge ordered a solider to behead her. He struck her three times, but was unsuccessful in beheading her. She fell gravely wounded but for three days remained alive and according to tradition preached Christ Jesus as she lay near death. She died about the year 230 A.D. Cecilia was buried in the Catacombs.