WHY IS ST. CECILIA AN IMPORTANT PATRON SAINT FOR THE DOMINICAN SISTERS?
In the first days of the Dominican Order, before there were any Dominican saints, the friars and sisters looked to some of the Church’s earliest saints as patrons of the Order. These were chosen because they embodied the qualities that defined the followers of St. Dominic: study (portrayed by St. Catherine of Alexandria), preaching (modeled by St. Mary Magdalene), and praise (embodied by St. Cecilia).
St. Cecilia was a fitting intercessor for this new Order with its motto, “To praise, to bless, to preach.” St. Cecilia was also seen to accompany Our Lady in some of her apparitions to St. Dominic and the early brethren, most notably when Mary was seen blessing the friars’ cells.
For the Nashville Dominicans, the choice of St. Cecilia was a natural one, as our sisters were invited to Nashville in 1860 to establish an academy for girls that would place an emphasis on music and the arts. How fitting that the convent, sitting on a hill above what is now known as “Music City”, declares by its name the noble influence song can have on the human person.
Even today, our Sisters claim St. Cecilia as a witness of purity and praise, an example of life lived in the world but not of the world, and of a fidelity to Christ that is not afraid even of death.
The Memorial of St. Cecilia is celebrated on November 22
O God, who gladden us each year with the feast day of your handmaid Saint Cecilia, grant, we pray, that what has been devoutly handed down concerning her may offer us examples to imitate and proclaim the wonders worked in his servants by Christ your Son. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.