St. Cecilia was an early church martyr born in the second century. Even though much of her life remains a mystery, she has been venerated as early as the fourth century with her feast day being celebrated as early as 545 AD. Cecelia was born to a wealthy family in Rome and married to a pagan man, who ultimately converted to Christianity as well. Cecila and her husband Valerian committed themselves to burying the Christian dead, which was illegal at the time. Unfortunately, this was something Valerian paid for with his life. However, Cecilia continued to convert people to Christianity as well as bury the Christian dead. Cecilia had successfully baptized hundreds of people but was eventually sentenced to death because of her failure to worship pagan gods. Interestingly, Cecila’s death was not instant and it is said that even in her slow death, she converted even more people to Christianity. It is also believed that Cecilia heard heavenly music in her heart during her wedding. She has since been declared the patron saint of musicians. Her feast day is November 22.
Questions for Reflection:
- Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians. In what ways do the arts contribute to your faith life? In what contemporary or past works have you seen strong Christian influences?
- Cecilia and her husband devoted themselves to burying the Christian dead even when it was illegal to do so. In what ways do you honor those who have passed?