Saint Cecilia

Saint Cecilia (died c.230) who, since legend speaks of her singing to God in her heart, became known as the patron of music. According to tradition she was betrothed to a youth named Valerian, whom she converted to Christianity, and the two were martyred for refusing to honor the Roman gods. She is said to have been thrown into a boiling bath but to have escaped unharmed. The executioner attempted to behead her in three strokes, but he failed, and she lived three more days. In 821 her remains were interred in a crypt in the Basilica of Saint Cecilia in the neighborhood of Trastevere in Rome, believed to stand on the site of her house.   Her feast day is November 22.

The story of Saint Cecilia is unsupported by any contemporary evidence.   Her name does not occur in the 4th-century Depositio Martyrum, a list of martyrs, nor is she mentioned by Saint Jerome, Saint Ambrose, Pope Damasus I, or the early Christian poet Prudentius, all of whom were especially interested in martyrs. Her legend appears to rest on the tradition that the ancient church in Trastevere was founded by a Roman matron named Cecilia.

The English poets Geoffrey Chaucer, John Dryden, and Alexander Pope have celebrated her in literature.   She has been the subject of many paintings including the seventeenth century painting shown which is possibly an early work by Pietro da Cortona.

Saint Catherine of Alexandria
Christian Martyr
Christian
Paintings
Saint Martin
Patron Saint of France