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St. Cecilia: virgin and martyr

Maria Montemayor

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Saint Cecilia (1606) (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
St. Cecilia is known for being the patron saint of music, musicians, and composers. According to tradition, St. Cecilia came from a wealthy family and was promised in marriage to a Roman pagan named Valerian. She had already made a vow of virginity to God, and she prayed and fasted that her promise be preserved. 
In one account of her wedding day, St. Cecilia heard heavenly music in her heart. On her wedding night, St. Cecilia mentioned to her husband that an angel was protecting her and that the angel would be angry with him if he didn’t respect her virginity. Valerian wanted to see the angel, so St. Cecilia gave him instructions so that he could see the angel, which led to Valerian being baptized and clothed with a new garment. 
When Valerian returned to St. Cecilia with his white baptismal robe on, he saw the angel beside her. The angel crowned both Valerian and St. Cecilia. Soon afterwards, Valerian’s brother Tiburtius was also baptized. The brothers made it their mission to respectfully bury the Christian martyrs and as a result, they were arrested by the Roman prefect, Turcius Almachius, and beheaded. 
Having buried the bodies of Valerian and Tibertius, St. Cecilia was also arrested and sentenced to suffocation in her home. When she didn’t die, the prefect ordered her to be beheaded. Her neck was struck three times, but the executioner failed to cut off her head. She lay wounded for three days and eventually died. While dying, she continued to pray, preach, and convert pagans.
St. Cecilia is an example of steadfast devotion to God. She remained faithful to Him and her example brought her husband, brother-in-law, and many others to the faith. 
Since her feast day is today, Nov 22, let us offer a short prayer to St. Cecilia.
Prayer to St. Cecilia
O glorious St. Cecilia, virgin and martyr, you won the martyr’s crown without renouncing your love for Jesus, the delight of your soul. We ask that you help us to be faithful in our love for Jesus, that, in the communion of the saints, we may praise Him twice in our song of rejoicing for the Blood that He shed which gave us the grace to accomplish His will on earth. Amen.

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