Monday, 21 November 2016

St Cecilia

St Cecilia was the daughter of a wealthy Roman family & a Christian from birth. She was promised to the pagan, Valarian, in marriage. She is said to have heard heavenly songs during her wedding and thus is regarded as the patron saint of music. Valerian subsequently was baptised & he and his brother made it their mission to bury Christain martyrs put to death on the orders of the Emperor. Cecillia, her husband and brother in law were also to suffer this fate. Cecilia's execution took place on 22nd November, now celebrated as her feast day.

The church of St Cecilia in Trastevere was founded over the house where she and her husband lived and the garden in front of the church contains a classical marble vase that may have adorned the courtyard of their home.

When Cecilia's tomb was opened in 1599 her body was found lying on its side with the wounds from the executioner's sword visible on her neck. The sculptor, Stefano Maderno made a drawing and later created the beautiful statue that lies beneath the altar.

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