It was an era when the world was not accustomed to doing thingsdifferently. There was a steadfast young voice who was not just willingto stick up to her belief but will, through her life, teach others notto be afraid of being different.
History has it that Cecilia was born in the second century around 200 ADinto a rich and noble parentage in Rome. Cecilia prayed often and hadpromised God to remain a virgin till death.
But her parents would have none of that. Cecilia was forced intomarriage with a pagan nobleman called Valerian. And young Cecilia was atlost on how to keep the vow she made.
At her wedding with valerian, it was said that Cecilia sat apart singingin her heart to God. At the same time, musicians played music at thefeast.
The Wedding Night
Cecilia wouldn’t consummate her marriage to Valerian. She told herhusband about her vow and assured him that an angel guarding her wouldpunish him if he sexually violates her.
Quite unbelievable, valerian asked to be shown the angel. Ceciliareplied that he could only see the angel if he was to go to the thirdmilestone via Appia and get baptized. Curious, Valerian set off to bebaptized.
Valerian was baptized by Pope Urbanus, who was then Bishop of Rome. Hefound an angel standing beside Cecilia on his return, crowning her witha chaplet of roses and lilies.
The New Converts
It has been said “ that action speaks louder than voice,” so it wasfor Valerian. Having witnessed Cecilia’s words to be accurate, he joinedher commitment to a celibate marriage. When valerian’s brother Tibertiusheard of the angel and his baptism, he also got baptized.
Together, both brothers dedicated their lives to burying the martyrskilled every day by the Turcius Almachius, city prefect. It was adangerous time to be a Christian in Rome.
Eventually, both brothers were arrested and presented before theprefect. Maximus, the city’s prefect executioner, was ordered to killthe brothers.
However, Maximus, stunned by their faith, got converted too. Thebrothers were executed after refusing to offer sacrifice to the gods ofRome together with Maximus.
Following her husband and brother-in-law’s murder, one would haveexpected Cecilia to reconsider her Christian position, but that was notthe case. If anything, their death became another reason to preach thegospel of Christ.
According to history, Cecilia continued preaching the gospel. She wasable to convert over four hundred people who were baptized mainly byPope Urbanus.
Cecilia was soon arrested and was sentenced to death by suffocation ather own bath. She was shut in, and the tub heated to a terrifying heat,but Cecilia was miraculously saved unharmed.
Alarmed by her survival, Almachius, the city prefect, ordered herexecution. Legend has it that Cecilia was struck thrice with a sword tothe neck and was not beheaded. The executioner fled, leaving her in apool of her own blood.
It was recorded that Cecilia lived for three days. To people that cameto her, she preached and prayed for them. She donated her wealth to thepoor and left a legacy that her house should be converted to a church.
Virgin and Martyr
Cecilia’s death is said to have occurred around 230 AD. Pope Urbanusburied her among other bishops of Rome and confessors in the Catacomb ofCallistus. Her feast day is 22 November.
She died a virgin just like she had vowed to God and was martyred forher faith.
5 Interesting Facts About St. Cecilia
- Except for the Blessed Virgin Mary, st. Cecilia is one of the seven
women mentioned by name during the Roman Catholic Eucharistic
- In 1599, her body was exhumed and was found to be incorrupt.
- Do you know why her picture is always depicted with her playing the
organ? It is because st. Cecilia is the patron of music and
- She became the light in her home. Her pagan husband was converted
and was later canonized a saint.
- St. Cecilia and her husband st. Valerian is one of the few saints
couples that had a spiritual marriage. Their marriage was never
consummated by choice.
Prayer to St. Cecilia
O glorious St. Cecilia, virgin and martyr, you won the martyr’s crownwithout renouncing your love for Jesus, the delight of your soul, we askthat you help us to be faithful in love for Jesus that in communion withthe saints, we may praise him twice our song for rejoicing for the bloodthat he shed which gave us the grace to accomplish His will on heart .Amen