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November 22

St Cecilia - November 22

Saint Cecilia
Virgin, Martyr
First Incorrupt Saint
(Unknown – 3rd Century)

Arise, soldier of Christ, throw away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

Saint Cecilia

Saint’s Life Story

Her Early Life 

The year of Cecilia’s birth is unknown, but is thought to be late 2nd century or early 3rd century. Her family was one of the principle families of Rome. Her parents were secretly Christians, and brought her up piously. She always carried a copy of the Gospels concealed in her clothes. From an early age, Cecilia vowed her virginity to God and dedicated herself to a life of piety and devotion.

Marriage to Valerian

Despite her desire to remain unmarried and dedicate her life solely to God, Cecilia’s parents arranged a marriage for her with a pagan nobleman named Valerian of Trastevere. On their wedding night, Cecilia told Valerian that she had sworn to remain a virgin before God and that an angel guarded her body, protecting her virginity from violation. She told Valerian that he would be able to see this angel if he went to the Via Appia and was baptized by Saint Pope Urban I.

Valerian and Tiburtius Are Baptized

Valerian agreed to be purified and was subsequently baptized. Upon returning from the ceremony, Valerian discovered Cecilia in deep prayer with an angel by her side. The angel placed a crown of everlasting roses on the heads of both Cecilia and Valerian. The angel offered Valerian, the new convert, a favor in return. Valerian requested that his brother be baptized as well. From that moment on, the two brothers, Valerian and Tiburtius, dedicated themselves to the Christian faith. During that era, it was forbidden for anyone to bury the bodies of Christians, however, they developed a ministry focused on providing proper burials for martyred Christians.

Valerian and Tiburtius Martyred

Their actions caught the attention of the Roman authorities, resulting in their arrest. The brothers converted their jailer, Maximus, who also received subsequent martyrdom with Valerian and Tiburtius for their unwavering faith. Cecilia, after burying her husband and brother-in-law in the cemetery of St. Calixtus on the Appian Way, was also arrested for her involvement. She was commanded to sacrifice to false gods, but she steadfastly refused, remaining true to her Christian beliefs.

Her Martyrdom

Almachius, the prefect of Borne, condemned Cecilia to death, in the fear that her rank, wealth, and charity should promote the cause of Christianity. To spare the ignominy of public punishment, an executioner was sent to her house, a common act of courtesy towards persons of high rank under sentence of death.

She was to be stifled in her bath. Cecilia suffered a whole day in the heat, but as it did not even injure her, the man tried to behead her. His hand, however, trembled so that when he had inflicted three strokes with his sword, as the law did not allow a fourth, he was obliged to leave her mortally wounded and bleeding. She prayed that she might live until she had bequeathed her house and property to the Church. She lived thus for three days, receiving visits from the faithfulwhile she conversed with Saint Pope Urban I, She was laid to rest in the Catacomb of St. Callistus by the future Saint Pope Urban, who had baptized her husband and brother-in-law.

In 817, her grave was discovered in 817 and her body removed to the church of Saint Cecilia in Rome. Then, in 1599, the tomb was opened and her body was found to be miraculously preserved and incorrupt.

Born:                 Unknown (possibly late 2nd Century) most likely in Rome, Italy

Died:                 3rd Century (around in Rome, Italy

Beatified:          Pre-Congregation

Canonized:       Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:        November 22

Patron Saint:   Albi, France; Archdiocese of Albi-Castres-Lavaur, France; Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska; Bodily Purity; Composers; Diocese of Valleyfield, Québec; Luthiers; Martyrs; Music; Musicians; Musical Instrument Makers; Poets; Santa Cecília de Montserrat Abbey; Singers

Source:

Reflection

Legend has it that Saint Cecilia was singing in her heart a hymn of love for Jesus, her true spouse, even amidst her martyrdom. Saint Cecilia’s story reminds us of the power of music to uplift our spirits, deepen our connection with the divine, and inspire acts of faithfulness and devotion.

Although you may not have a singer’s voice like Saint Cecilia, take time today, wherever you are, to sing , if not out loud, in your heart at least. Sing praise and thanksgiving for the love and mercy of Jesus, dying on the cross for us, sinners.

Prayers

Saint Cecilia,

You, the patroness of musicians and singers, who sang to God with all your heart,

Intercede for us in prayer to inspire us to lift our voices in praise and worship and to use our talents for the glory of God.

May our lives be a beautiful melody of faith and love so that we may glorify God in all that we do.

Help us to emulate your unwavering faith and courage and to stand firm in our convictions, even in the face of adversity.

Saint Cecilia, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – St. Cecilia, patron of music

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Cecilia

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 22 November – St Cecilia (died 3rd Century) Virgin & Martyr

Bartleby – Rev. Alban Butler. Volume XI: November. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. November 22 St. Cecily, Virgin and Martyr

Catholic Exchange – Saint Cecilia

Catholic Fire – St. Cecilia: Patron of Poets and Musicians

Catholic Ireland – Nov 22 – St Cecilia (3rd century) virgin and martyr patron of music

Catholic News Agency – St. Cecilia Feast day: Nov 22

Catholic Online – St. Cecilia

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Cecilia of Rome – by Katherine I Rabenstein

Christian Iconography – Saint Cecilia: The Iconography

Franciscan Media – Saint Cecilia

Hallow – St. Cecilia

Independent Catholic News – St Cecilia

Lives of the Lady Saints – November 22. Cecilia, Who Dated An Angel

Loyola Press – Saint Cecelia Feast Day November 22

Mary’s Blog – The Wonders of St Cecilia

My Catholic Life – Saint Cecilia

New Advent – Kirsch, J.P. (1908). St. Cecilia. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Newman Ministry – Saint Cecilia

RC Spirituality (Uncle Eddy) – St Cecilia

Roman Catholic Saints – St Cecilia

Saints, Feast, Family – Saint Cecilia’s Story

Saints for Sinners – Saint Cecilia

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Cecilia (2nd century)

Sanctoral – Saint Cecilia Virgin, Martyr († 177)

uCatholic – Saint Cecilia

Video Link

St. Cecilia – YouTube (Catholic Online)