Shelagh McCarthy as Saint Cecilia
St Cecilia, the patron saint of music, was so devout that she swore she would remain forever a virgin. She managed to convince both her husband to be and her brother of this necessity and converted them to Christianity. Upon her wedding night, as both Cecilia and her husband Valerian prayed yet remained pure, heavens showered flowers upon her head.
The Romans later tried to execute her because of her belief and they tried to behead her 3 times without success until she finally died. She is sometimes shown beheaded, always with musical instruments and often gazing up at the heavens.
It turns out that Cecilia's sainthood has been revoked. The cult of Saint Cecilia was started by a Roman matron, named Cecilia, and Cecilia as a Saint might not be based on historical facts.
Shelagh McCarthy ( http://shelaghmccarthy.wix.com/shelaghmccarthy ) , mother of two boys, an artist and book binder, a BL worker and a catholic, has been a great source of knowledge in my iconing project. Many of the patterns were shown to me by her on manuscripts, she is found of relics and like gardens. I first planned a more gory version topped by rotting bishops's hats (she is fond of those) but I found it impossible to paint a beheaded version of someone I know and like. As she is a great ponderer, I could not paint her gazing heavenly without a shadow of doubt.