Had St. Cecilia been a used car salesperson, she would have been “Top-Ranking Producer.” She must have had a knack for persuasion since on her wedding night, she convinced her groom, one pagan and very rich young lusty aristocrat named Valerian, that he should denounce the gods, convert to Christianity, not go to bed with her but instead take a vow of chastity his entire life. She managed to accomplish all these things. In fact, so fervent was her passion that Valerian’s zeal rubbed off on his brother Tiburtius. The brothers were both tried and condemned to death for abandoning the Roman gods.
Cecilia’s gift for convincing people of the true faith got her in trouble with the authorities because she became a threat to the established order. She must have converted hundreds if not thousands of pagans over to Christianity in a short period of time. In one night it was claimed she won over 400 people; with that record she would have succeeded to win over the entire city of Rome had the authorities not taken her to court. In those days, taken to court was just a formality for getting rid of you via cruel and unusual punishment. And this is what Cecilia suffered: floggings, draggings, eyelid wrenching until she was condemned to beheading. After three hard strikes on the head, the executioner still lacked luck in separating head from body. Instead the gashes left by the sword allowed her blood to gush out in three streams into the crowds of admirers who fervently got to work mopping up the stuff with their handkerchiefs, sponges, bowls and cups–all for the sake of their healing power as by now the word had gotten out on the street that Cecilia was definitely a saint.
After three days of agonizing pain from the wounds, Cecilia gave up her ghost to the Lord around the year 230 AD. A huge cathedral is dedicated to her in Rome where her remains were laid to rest. She is the patron saint of chanting, musicians and music.