SPIRIT OF THE MONTH

December 2005

St. Cecilia

St. Cecilia © Aris Dervis

© Aris Dervis 2005

 

Saint Cecilia

Feast Day November 22

Patron of Music, Musicians and Composers

Chaucer tells the story of St. Cecilia in the Canterbury Tales.
Roman Christian from birth, Cecilia was given in marriage to a noble pagan, Valerian.
On their wedding night when Valerian attempted to consummate the marriage, Cecilia told him she was betrothed to an angel who would be very angry if Valerian compromised her virginity. Like any normal husband, Valerian asked to see the angel. Cecilia told him he could only see the angel if he were baptized. Valerian raced off to get baptized by no one less than the Pope. Upon his return, Cecilia's angel-beau presented the two of them with flowery crowns of roses and lilies.
Alas, the good times were short. Cecilia's martyrdom consisted of a botched attempt to steam her to death, followed by an even more futile endeavor to decapitate her. For three days she languished in her tub, distributing alms to the poor and asking that her home be turned into a church.
Cecilia is credited with inventing the organ (her symbol, along with roses and lilies). We created this image to celebrate the birthday of the wonderful singer, Lynn Fischer.