Patron saint of the musicians, Saint Cecilia is among the most venerated Roman martyrs of the Catholic Church.
Her body, discovered in 822 in the catacombs of Saint Callistus, was transferred to the titular basilica of Saint Cecilia in Trastevere, built on the very site of the house she had given to Pope Urban to make a church. Pope St. Pascal I rebuilt it for the occasion.
Virgin consecrated to Christ, she had to marry but remained faithful to her vow by converting her husband Valerian and his brother Tiburce. All three suffered martyrdom. Cecilia, whom the flames had not been able to corrupt, was finally condemned to have her head cut off.
St. Cecilia began to sing while waiting for the executioner’s ax, but the latter, after three unsuccessful attempts, left her in agony for three days.
When in 1599 the solemn recognition of the saint’s relics took place, all Rome passed before the touching appearance of the incorrupt body of the Saint, still clad in her sumptuous patrician clothes, her head half detached from her trunk.
O God who, every year, gives us the joy of celebrating Blessed Cecilia, your virgin and martyr, make it that in rendering to her the homage of our veneration, we also know to follow her by giving the example of a holy life.