A Garner of Saints – Saint Cecilia

[Saint Cecilia]Article

Sprung of a noble Roman family she was brought up to the Christian faith. Throughout her girlhood she never ceased from her devotions, praying that God would preserve her virginity. When she was given in marriage to a youth named Valerian, she clothed herself in sackcloth under her wedding garments and prayed to God that He would preserve her body unspotted. The same night she told her husband that there was a secret which she wished to confess to him if he would swear to keep it. He promised, and she told him that she had a guardian angel who would immediately kill any one who should attempt to touch her. Valerian asked her to show him the angel in order that he might see if he was really an angel of God, but if she loved another man he would slay them both. Cecilia promised that he should see the angel if he would believe in one God and purify himself, directing him to go out of the city and ask on her behalf the poor who were begging alms to bring him to Pope Urban, who had secret things to declare to him; then on his return he should see the angel. Valerian accordingly set out and found the pope hiding among the tombs of the martyrs. And there appeared to them an old man in shining raiment bearing a book on which were letters of gold, and Valerian fell to the ground in great fear, but the old man raised him and he read the words, “One lord, one faith, one baptism.” On Valerian confessing that he believed all this, the old man disappeared and Valerian was baptised by the pope. Returning to Cecilia he found her in conference with the angel. The celestial visitor offered a crown of roses to each of the two spouses and asked Valerian to make any request and it should be granted. Valerian then petitioned for the conversion of his only brother Tibertius. The brother soon after arrived and smelt the roses but saw none, at which he greatly wondered. Then Cecilia showed him that all idols are vain and prevailed upon him by her arguments. Led by his brother to Pope Urban, Tibertius was baptised and then everything was revealed to him. After this, the two brothers buried the bodies of the slaughtered Christians, but the prefect Almachius sent for them to interrogate them, and finding that they were Christians he delivered them to the custody of Maximus; but Maximus and all his household were converted and baptised by Pope Urban, who came secretly to the prison. At dawn on the following day Cecilia exclaimed, “Behold the soldiers of Christ, let us put off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light.” Brought to the statue of Jupiter, the brothers refused to sacrifice and were immediately beheaded. At the hour of their passion, Maximus declared that he saw shining angels, and the souls of the martyrs ascending to Heaven. The prefect then caused Maximus to be beaten until he expired. Cecilia was next led before the prefect, who ordered her to be taken to her house and put into a bath of boiling water, but she remained in it as if in a cold place. Then Almachius ordered that she should be beheaded in the bath. The executioner made three strokes without succeeding in decapitating her, and as he was forbidden by the law to make more, he left her bleeding. She lingered for three days, giving all her goods to the poor, converting many and sending them to Pope Urban to be baptised. She is the patron of music, probably because we learn that she loved to sing the praises of her Saviour and often united instrumental to vocal music. She is supposed to have suffered during the early years of the third century. In the seventh year of the Emperor Louis, Pope Paschal saw her in a vision, clothed in golden raiment stained with her blood, and he transferred her remains, together with those of Valerian, Tibertius, Maximus, and Urban to the church dedicated to her. 22nd November.


  • Carries an organ.

MLA Citation

  • Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint Cecilia”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 17 April 2017. Web. 15 July 2020. <>