Cecilia – virgin, martyr, and patroness of church music – is among the most famous of the Roman martyrs. Born in Rome during the second century A.D., much of St. Cecilia’s early life is unknown. However, St. Cecilia is regarded as a noble woman of Rome who, along with her husband Valerian and brother-in-law Tiburtius, were martyred.
The legend about Cecilia’s death says that after being struck three times on the neck with a sword, she lived for three days, and asked the pope to convert her home into a church. Since the time of the Renaissance she has usually been portrayed with a viola or a small organ.