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And today we celebrate...Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day: St. Cecilia

Patron Saint of Musicians

CECILIA

Public Domain

Virgin and Martyr (d. second century)

Her life

+ Cecilia was born in Rome and, despite a vow of virginity she made as a young woman, her parents arranged a marriage to a pagan nobleman named Valerian.

+ Inspired by his wife’s example, Valerian became a Christian and he chose to respect Cecilia’s vow of virginity.

+ Sometime between the year 161 and 192, Valerian and his brother, Tiburtius, were martyred for their faith. Cecilia, herself, suffered martyrdom only a few days later.

+ Saint Cecilia was buried in the catacomb of San Callisto but her relics were later moved to the Roman Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastavere.

+ Honored as the patron of musicians and singers, Saint Cecilia remains one of the Church’s most popular saints and her name is included in the Roman Canon (the First Eucharistic Prayer).

+ Much of the legend of Saint Cecilia that we have today comes down to us in the Golden Legend, a collection of lives of saints written by Blessed James of Voragine in the 13th century. This became one of the most popular books in the Middle Ages and remains an important source of early stories of the saints.

For prayer and reflection

How many sacred works have been composed through the centuries by people deeply imbued with the sense of the mystery! The faith of countless believers has been nourished by melodies flowing from the hearts of other believers, either introduced into the liturgy or used as an aid to dignified worship. In song, faith is experienced as vibrant joy, love, and confident expectation of the saving intervention of God.”—Pope Saint John Paul II, Letter to Artists (no. 12)

Spiritual bonus

On November 22 we also remember Blessed Salvatore Lilli. A Franciscan priest who served in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, he was sent as a missionary to Armenia in 1880. He built schools, homes for the abandoned, and clinics, teaching modern hygiene and sanitization in local villages. He was serving as a parish priest and superior of the Franciscan House at Mujukderesi, Turkey, at the time of death. He was arrested by Turks along with his seven companions and forced to embrace Islam, to which Lille and his companions refused and hence they were killed and their bodies desecrated and burned on November 22, 1895. Blessed Salvatore was beatified in 1982.

Vocations

The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia (Nashville, TN): www.nashvilledominican.org

Prayer

O God, who gladden us each year
with the feast day of your handmaid Saint Cecilia,
grant, we pray,
that what has been devoutly handed down concerning her
may offer us examples to imitate
and proclaim the wonders worked in his servants
by Christ your Son.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

Access our archives of daily saint biographies here
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