strong woman who found herself
was buried in the catacombs of St. Callistus, but about the year 820
her remains were removed by Pope Paschal I and re-interred in her
church in Trastevere. When the church was rebuilt in 1599, her tomb
was opened and her body was found incorrupt. The body lay in state
in the church and many Romans viewed it; however, it disintegrated
fairly quickly through contact with the air.
the time, the sculptor, Maderna, made a life-size marble statue of
the body (illustration above) 'lying on the right side, as
a maiden in her bed, her knees drawn together and seeming to be asleep.'
Her hands (drawing at right) depict Cecilia's declaration of
faith. The forefinger of the left hand is extended to signify her
belief in one God. Three fingers of the other hand are extended to
signify the Trinity. Today this statue rests under the main altar
of the church. A replica is in Cecilia's original resting-place in
the catacombs of St. Callistus.
example is a challenging one, even today. She found herself, not in
possessions or social position or even in a husband, but in Christ.
And no one could take Christ away from her. Her story makes us turn
to ourselves and ask: how much could we lose and still be whole?
of the communion of saints for a long time, Cecilia is still worth
getting to know, especially by women. The communion of saints is grounded
in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But interwoven
with his story are the stories of countless other women and men who
live in vastly different ways the Spirit's call to discipleship. We
should not forget their heroic lives for they enable us to see gospel
values lived in various situations and inspire us to do the same.
like Cecilia could be a good friend and teacher to women especially,
young or old. She was a strong woman who found herself by centering
her life in Christ.
first Christian martyrs
Cecilia, an early saint
Lawrence, the deacon
Sebastian, the soldier saint act
with Compassion front