Patron saint of musicians
Feast day: November 22
Patron Saint of Music
• St. Cecilia is regarded as the patroness of
music because of stories that she heard
heavenly music in her heart when she was
married, and that as she was dying she
sang to God.
• St. Cecilia is represented in art with an
organ or organ-pipes in her hand.
• It is believed that St. Cecilia was born in
the 2nd or 3d century A.D.
• She was the daughter of a wealthy Roman
family, and a Christian from birth.
• St. Cecilia was an only child.
• She was promised in marriage to a pagan
• St. Cecilia had vowed her virginity to God.
• She told Valerian that an angel watched over
her to guard her purity.
• Wanting to see the angel himself, Cecilia sent
Valerian to be baptized by the Pope.
• He then saw Cecilia praying in her chamber,
guarded by an angel with flaming wings
• The angel placed crowns of roses and lilies on
their heads, and then vanished.
Valerian and Tibertius
• Tibertius, the brother of Valerian, entered,
and wondered at the fragrance and beauty
of the flowers at that season of the year.
• After their baptism the two brothers
devoted themselves to burying the martyrs
• They were arrested and when they
refused to sacrifice to the pagan gods,
were executed with the sword.
• Cecilia continued to make conversions,
and prepared to have her home preserved
as a church at her death.
• Cecilia was arrested, and condemned to
be suffocated in the baths. She was shut
in for a night and a day. The fires were
heaped up, and made to glow and roar
their utmost, but Cecilia did not even break
out into perspiration through the heat.
• She was then ordered beheaded, but the
executioner, after striking three times
without severing St Cecilia's head, ran
away, leaving her badly wounded.
• Crowds came to her, collecting her blood
while she preached to them or prayed.
• She lived for three days and died only
after receiving the sacrament of Holy
• She was buried by the Pope and his
• Exact date of death unknown.
• Cecilia’s remains were exhumed in 1599,
and said to be incorrupt.
• She had three fingers outstretched on one
hand and on the other just one finger,
denoting her belief in the trinity.
• The skull of Saint Cecilia is kept as a relic
in the cathedral of Torcello.
Patroness of Music
• St. Cecilia's following flourished during the
Middle Ages in Europe, and continued to
be a popular topic for the arts well into the
• In 1584 she was named patroness of the
academy of music founded in Rome.
• Her feast day, November 22, is celebrated
in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern
Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches.
• The name Cecilia means blind and so,
although we don't know if she herself
couldn't see, she is also the Catholic
patron saint of the blind.
• The Saint Cecilia medal, typically features
her at the organ, the traditional instrument
of the Catholic Church, sometimes with
angelic hosts gathered around her.
• The diocese of Omaha, Nebraska claims
her as their patron saint.
• St. Cecilia societies still flourish around the
world, often sponsoring musical events
Prayer to St. Cecilia
St. Cecilia, glorious Virgin and Martyr of Jesus Christ, I admire the
courage with which you professed your faith in the face of severe
persecution, and the generous love with which you offered your life in
witness to your belief in the Blessed Trinity. I thank God with you for the
wonderful graces He had bestowed upon you to make your life holy and
pleasing to Him even in the midst of the wealth that was yours. I thank
Him for the privilege offered to you of receiving the glorious crown of
martyrdom. Saint Cecilia, I also admire the purity of love that bound you
to the Savior, which was greater in your eyes than any human affection,
so that you declared yourself before the enemies of the Church, "I am the
bride of my Lord Jesus Christ". Pray for me that in imitation of you I may
keep my body pure and my soul holy, and that I may love Jesus with all
my heart. In these times so full of pleasure seeking and so lacking in faith,
teach us to profess our faith courageously and to be willing to sacrifice
ourselves in practicing it, so that our good example may lead others
closer to Christ and the Church He as founded. In thanksgiving to God
for the graces he bestowed on St Cecilia: Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory be.
St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr of Jesus Christ, pray for us.