St. Cecilia was born into one of the leading families in Rome. In accordance with the cultural customs of the time, Cecilia’s family arranged for her to be betrothed to a young man named Valerius.
On her wedding night, Cecilia told Valerius that she had consecrated her virginity to God, and that an angel guarded her body, protecting her from any violation. Valerius would be able to see the angel if he went to a specific milestone in the road, and when he did, he met Pope Urbanus, who baptized him.
At the time, no one was allowed to bury the bodies of Christians, so Valerius and his brother dedicated themselves to the task, burying Christians in secret. They were caught and arrested, and when they appeared before a judge, they were ordered to worship Jupiter, the Roman god, and renounce Jesus Christ. When they refused, Valerius and his brother were martyred.
The police came for Cecilia after the death of her husband, and told her to renounce her faith. She refused, telling them she would rather die. The police brought her to a large oven, intending to suffocate her inside with toxic gasses.
Cecilia did not choke on the gasses, and instead began to sing. Her persecutors were furious and tried to behead her, but after three strokes, they were unable to kill her. Soldiers brought her back to her own home, covered in blood, where she died three days later.
Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians.
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