Today, on the liturgical calendar, we celebrate the feast of St. Cecilia, virgin and martyr. She lived in the late 2nd or early 3rd century. At an early age, she consecrated her life to the Lord, and took a vow of chastity. She didn’t reveal this vow to her parents, or her father ignored it, for she was given in marriage to a Roman named Valerian. On their wedding night, Cecilia told her husband that she had taken a vow of chastity, and that an angel was protecting her. He wanted to see the angel, but she said that he wouldn’t unless he was baptized Christian. Valerian so admired her will and her faith that he converted, was baptized, and given the vision of the angel that protected Cecilia. He was so amazed that he converted his brother. All three suffered martyrdom under Emperor Alexander Severus. Cecilia was the last to die, and for her martyrdom, she was locked in her bath, and scalded. After she came out unscathed, the executioner attempted to sever her head. She suffered three strokes of the sword, and lived three days, long enough to ask the pope to build a church over her home. After about 700 years, her body was exhumed and found to be incorrupt. Exhumed again several hundred years later, and still incorrupt.
St. Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians. You can visit her church in Trasteverde, in Rome, on the West Bank of the Tiber, a nice 1.5 mile walk from St. Peter’s along the Tiber River.