Saint Cecilia is one of the most venerated virgin martyrs of the Church. Her name is mentioned in the Roman Canon of the Mass and always in the Litany of the Saints. She belonged to a noble family of Rome. Her father was a pagan and her mother a Christian. From her early youth she consecrated her virginity to Christ. Her father insisted on her marrying a young pagan nobleman named Valerian. On the evening of her wedding day, she told Valerian that she had an angel guarding her virginity. Valerian said that if he could see the angel, he too would believe in Jesus Christ. Cecilia told Valerian that if he were baptized a Christian he could see the angel. He went and was baptized by Pope Urban I–he and his brother Tiburtius. They returned to Cecilia, and both of them saw a most beautiful angel standing beside her. These two brothers, Valerian and Tiburtius, proclaimed themselves Christians, and were martyred in the year 229, along with their jailer whose name was Maximus. Cecilia buried them. Less than a year later the Roman soldiers broke into Cecilia’s house. They tried to suffocate Cecilia in a bath, and when they could not, one soldier struck her three times on the neck with a sword. She lay on the ground for three days before she died. She was buried in the Catacomb of Saint Callistus. She was eighteen years old when she was martyred. There is a church built to Saint Cecilia in Rome, and dedicated to her. At the end of the sixteenth century, her body was found to be incorrupt and as beautiful as the day she died, preserving, after thirteen centuries, all its virginal loveliness and modesty.
See also: Homages to a Heroine (On Saint Cecilia) by Brother André Marie, M.I.C.M.