New Catholic Dictionary – Saint Cecilia

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Cecilia, church of Saint-Alexis de Griesheim-près-Molsheim, Alsace, Bas-Rhin, France; by Ott Frères, 1914; photographed on 21 September 2016 by Ralph Hammann; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Latin: blind. Virgin, martyr, died Rome, 230. According to her legendary acts, which originated in the 5th century, she was a virgin of noble birth, espoused to Valerian, a pagan whom she converted, with his brother Tiburtius. The two brothers and their jailer suffered martyrdom and were buried by Saint Cecilia. She was then arrested, and placed in an overheated room, but was mirculously saved from suffocation and decapitated in her own home. From her zeal in singing the praises of God, Cecilia has been associated with music; many musical societies and academies are named in her honor. She is mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. In very early art she is usually represented in a prayerful attitude wearing the crown of martyrdom; since the 14th century she is depicted playing the organ, as she appears in the famous picture by Raphael at Bologna. Patroness of musicians, organ-builders, singers, and poets. Emblem: musical instruments. Her relics, discovered by Pope Paschal I in that portion of the Catacomb of Callistus known as Saint Cecilia’s cemetery, were moved to her church in the Trastevere quarter of Rome. Feast, Roman Calendar, 22 November.

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Cecilia”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 15 September 2012. Web. 20 January 2019. <>