Life & People
Life & People
Tucked away in the basement of the downtown Cathedral in Los Angeles, CA, are the remains of a nobody.
Whenever I visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angeles I head straight downstairs to the mausoleum to take a peek at my friend’s crypt. He’s still very much alive but has his place already for when his time is up. His name is Mike Dugan and I never get tired of reading the inscription below his name, “Mike tried!” I find his healthy attitude and sense of humor toward death very comforting. On a recent visit I felt the urge to check out an area I’ve never been before. I felt drawn to what appeared to be an area of dead space just beyond the mausoleum’s chapel. There is no visible indication that anything is to be found beyond the end of this corridor, until you get there.
In this out of the way alcove is a plain marble tomb with “Saint Vibiana” inscribed on it. There is nothing explaining who this Saint is, and why he, or she, was placed here, just the tomb and two individual kneelers. Intrigued, I pulled out my smart phone and did an internet search. Here’s an excerpt of what I found from the Cathedrals of California website;
"We know next to nothing about Saint Vibiana. Yet for nearly 120 years her name was attached to the Catholic cathedral in Los Angeles, and today her tomb is in the crypt of the new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angel.
Who was she? She is an enigma. She is nobody and everybody. Her feast is celebrated only by us here in Los Angeles. Because we don’t know the details of her life, in one way it is difficult to ascribe to her particular virtues we can imitate. Yet in another way this makes it easier for us to identify with her.
She stands for all of us, the insignificant ones who will never be written about in history books. Our lives may not be widely known, but they are known to God, who has called us each by name from before the beginning of time.
When we stand before the Tomb of Saint Vibiana, let us imagine our parents, our grandparents and great-grandparents. In many ways, they are like Vibiana, unknown to the world but beloved by God. To a world obsessed with celebrity, they are nobodies; but in the eyes of God, they are precious beyond all imagining.”
It makes perfect sense that the Patron Saint of Nobodies has been enshrined in the city that thrives on celebrity. Whether or not you’re Catholic, or even a Christian, Saint Vibiana is a symbolic reminder that we are all necessary, important, and worthwhile, forever encouraging us to relinquish of our foolish desire to ruthlessly compare ourselves to others.
There are no signs leading to the Patron Saint of Nobodies.
St Vibiana is a hidden treasure, located in a small alcove at the end of a nondescript corridor
in the basement mausoleum of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels, Los Angeles, CA.
Born and died in the 3rd century the remains of Vibiana were rediscovered on
December 9, 1853 in ancient catacombs near the Appian Way.
A marble tablet adorned her tomb upon which was inscribed
"to the soul of the innocent and pure Vibiana", above a laurel wreath.
A wreath was a symbol of martydom among ancient Christians.
There is no visible indication or directions to St. Vibiana.
At the bottom of the stairs to the mausoleum
follow the corridor to the very end and look to the right.