In honor of the feast of St. Cecilia I give you Stefano Maderno’s masterpiece!

The statue is modeled after the body of St. Cecilia herself when her body was exhumed 1599. Stefano Maderno was commissioned to carve this statue of St. Cecilia depicting how she was found lying in her tomb. She was incorrupt, her neck nearly severed by the executioners blows, and her hands and fingers placed to show that she died believing in the Triune God (three Persons in one God). The statue can be found under the high altar in the church of St. Cecilia in Rome, Italy.

St. Cecilia is the patroness of music. She also has an amazing sense of humor. Once I cantored  a Mass a capella and without sheet music. I was supposed to sing Faith of Our Fathers as the processional song, I was sure I knew the melody. So I said a quick prayer to St. Cecilia and started right on in. Apparently that melody is only a few notes away in the beginning measures from the melody for Jesus My Lord My God and My All and I got horribly mixed up. So I ended up singing Faith of Our Fathers to the melody of Jesus My Lord My God and My All. Thanks to St. Cecilia the words and the melody matched perfectly. I remember singing and thinking, “this really shouldn’t be working, what on earth am I singing? It sounds alright, but I know this isn’t the melody to Faith of Our Fathers.” The sensation of singing without recognizing the melody that was coming out of one’s mouth is surreal. But knowing at the same time that the tune was 1) in tune 2) didn’t sound bad, was the most peculiar experience ever. It wasn’t until after Mass that I was told what melody I was using and then I recognized what had happened.

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