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Sunday, March 17

SAINT CECILIA


Saint Cecilia had a rough time of it.  Born into a wealthy Christian family in 2nd or 3rd century Rome, Cecilia vowed her virginity to God.  She explained this to Valerian, (the pagan she was forced to marry) on their wedding night.  He (surprisingly) heeded her wish, and was baptized by Pope Urban.  The couple, along with Valerian's brother, worked to help the Christian cause, burying martyrs and converting people.  This occupation cost the brothers their lives at the hands of the city prefect who also  sentenced Cecilia to death by suffocation in the bathhouse.  She emerged from the hot box unharmed after a day and night and was promptly lined up for beheading.  The executioner made three attempts but was unable to sever her head.  The wounds however were mortal, and Cecilia's followers came to grieve and mop up her blood as she slowly died over 3 days.  

When forced to marry Valerian, Cecilia heard "heavenly music in her heart." This reference has made Saint Cecilia the patron saint of musicians, composers, poets and  instrument makers.  It is not know if she lost her eyesight in all her trials but as Cecilia means "blind" she is also the patron saint of the blind.

This oak statue of Saint Cecilia is Portugese from the 18th century.  She was purchased in √Čvora in the Alentejo Province of Portugal and was originally from a chapel dedicated to Saint Cecilia, no longer in existence.

From the collection of T. Jardim









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