Did Saint Cecilia play a musical instrument during her life?


While Saint Cecilia is often depicted playing the organ, it is likely that she never played a musical instrument.

Saint Cecilia is widely known as the patron saint of music, but has she ever played an instrument or did she have a beautiful voice?

According to Catholic Encyclopedia, she was in no way musical, except for her “inner” music.

Medieval images of the saint are very frequent; since the 14th and 15th centuries we give it the organ as an attribute, or is depicted as playing the organ, evidently to express what was often attributed to him in eulogies and poems based on Acts, namely, that while the musicians played at her wedding, she sang in her heart to God alone (“Cantantibus organiz illa in rope suo soi domino decantabat”); maybe the organized cantantibus was wrongly interpreted by Cecilia herself as the organist. In this way, the saint was brought into a closer relationship with the music.

the Golden legend describes her marriage in the same way.

When this blessed virgin was to marry a young man named Valerian, and the wedding day had come, she was dressed in royal garments of gold, but underneath she wore her hair. Hearing the organ make the melody, she sang in her heart, just to God, saying: “Lord, I pray that you do not defile my heart and my body so that I am not confused. ”

At the same time, some biographies claim that she sometimes sing with heart and voice.

Whether or not she played a musical instrument or possessed a beautiful voice, it is her inner holiness that has inspired many musicians over the centuries. She remains the patron saint of music and she currently resides in Heaven, joining with all the other saints in singing a song of praise to God.

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