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St. Cecilia

St. Cecilia by Br. Arturo Olivas, OFS

Artist Narrative:

Santa Cecilia is a legendary 2nd or 3rd century Roman martyr who vowed her virginity to God but was married to the youth Valerian by her parents. Upon hearing the profane music of her earthly wedding Cecilia sang an interior hymn to God. For this reason she is patroness of musicians. Cecilia converted her husband Valerian and his brother Tiburtius.

The two brothers were arrested and executed by the Romans under Diocletian. Cecilia was arrested soon afterwards and was condemned to be suffocated. This failed to kill her and so the Romans had her beheaded. In sacred art Cecilia is often shown holding the palm of martyrdom and playing a musical instrument such as the organ or violin.

Her feast day is November 22.

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The name of Saint Cecilia has always been most illustrious in the church, and ever since the primitive ages is mentioned with distinction in the canon of the mass, and in the sacramentaries and calendars of the church. Her spouse Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus, an officer, who were her companions in martyrdom, are also mentioned in the same authentic and venerable writings.

Saint Cecilia was a native of Rome, of a good family, and educated in the principles and perfect practice of the Christian religion. In her youth, she, by vow, consecrated her virginity to God, yet was compelled by her parents to marry a nobleman named Valerian. She converted him to the faith, and soon after gained to the same his brother Tiburtius. The men first suffered martyrdom, being beheaded for the faith. Saint Cecilia finished her glorious triumph some days after them.

Died: Martyred c.177 or 230; suffocated for a while, and when that didn't kill her, she was beheaded; her grave was discovered in 817, and her body removed to the church of Saint Cecilia in Rome; the tomb was opened in 1599, and her body found to be incorrupt.

Name Meaning: Blind