The Canterbury Tales: The Second Nun's Tale
by Geoffrey Chaucer
Cecilia Timeline and Summary
- Cecilia, a Roman noblewoman, longs to live her Christian faith by remaining unstained for her entire life.
- When she is forced to marry, she converts her husband to Christianity.
- Before her husband's brother converts, Cecilia teaches him about Christian theology.
- When her husband and his brother-in-law are about to be beheaded for refusing to sacrifice to the Roman god Jupiter, Cecilia encourages them to stand up for their faith.
- The prefect Almachius calls Cecilia before him to question her on matters of faith. Cecilia calls him foolish and powerless and his gods worthless. She refuses to sacrifice to them.
- Almachius tries to kill Cecilia by having her boiled in a cauldron, but this doesn't cause Cecilia the slightest discomfort.
- Almachius sends an executioner to cut Cecilia's head off, but he is unable to do it after three attempts and is not allowed to take a fourth.
- Cecilia lives with her head dangling from her body for three days, preaching and teaching to her followers all the while.
- After her death, Pope Urban consecrates Cecilia's house as a church.