By Kelly Legg
A canonized saint honored as special protector is known as a patron saint. A patron saint may also be a benefactor of persons in a certain occupation or a guardian of those who bear the saint’s name. A patron saint may be invoked to intercede with God for help in a time of special need.
This month we are learning about St. Cecilia. In the Catholic Church St. Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians and of the blind. According to church history, Cecilia was a maiden of noble birth. At an early age, she dedicated her life to God with a vow of chastity. But her family had betrothed her to marry a young man named Valerian.
On her wedding day, she prayed that the Lord protect her virginity. History records, “The day on which the wedding was to be held arrived and while musical instruments were playing she was singing in her heart to God alone saying: Make my heart and my body pure that I may not be confounded.”
St. Cecilia’s prayers were answered, and Valerian was willing to take her as his wife without forcing her to break her vow. Not only did he accept her vow of chastity, he and his brother Tiburtius both converted to Christianity and were baptized by Pope Urban I.
At that time, Christianity was still illegal in Rome. Both Valerian and his brother Tiburtius performed many works of charity and mercy, including burying dead Christian martyrs. The brothers were discovered to be Christians and were killed. Cecilia was discovered soon after and was ordered to be killed for her beliefs. Her executioners put her in a fire, but it did not harm her. They also tried to suffocate her. When she emerged unharmed, they attempted to behead her. Even then, they were not totally successful after two attempts and she lingered on for three days. During that time, she made sure her wealth was distributed to the poor.
When her tomb was opened about 1,500 years later in Rome, her body was still found perfect with no decomposition. There are currently several hundred documented cases of incorruptible bodies in the Catholic church, many of which are canonized Saints.
Stay tuned for next month’s saint: St. Augustine, the patron saint of brewers.