Sign in | Log in

Life & People

Blessed Are the Nobodies

Darrell Fusaro (January 6, 2013)
Fusaro 2012

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.

DISCLAIMER: Articles published in i-Italy are intended to stimulate a debate in the Italian and Italian-American Community and sometimes deal with controversial issues. The Editors are not responsible for, nor necessarily in agreement with the views presented by individual contributors.
This work may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior written permission.
Questo lavoro non può essere riprodotto, in tutto o in parte, senza permesso scritto.


Hello! edeakbk interesting edeakbk site!


one of the most beautiful prayers

from a nobody

Great post!

I try to visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels about once a month, and I always make the trip down to the mausoleum to offer prayer at the tomb of St. Vibiana. Thanks for making her whereabouts better known.

website correction for old

website correction for old cathedral is vibianala

This saint was once resting

This saint was once resting above the altar at the L.A. cathedral, St. Vibiana's. This once magnificent cathedral was sold to a private party and is now used as an event center that hosts, fashion shows, parties, and weddings. Some of these events are downright disgusting. All the while, the altar, confessionals, and many other catholic representations remain intact. Check out the website, vibianasplace

The sad thing is - the old

The sad thing is - the old cathedral in its private secular remodel looks better than the new "real" cathedral for the archdiocese.

I agree

I heard a lady tell a story about driving out of Los Angeles on the 101 North and passing the "cathedral." Her friend in the front passenger seat, upon seeing the "church" for the first time while driving by, remarked

"Catherine, why is there a cross on that warehouse?"

How ironic, since the inside looks like a warehouse, too...


I'm curious Appian Way is in Rome - There must be some records in Rome and or at the Cathedral as to why the remanis of this Saint is Celbrated here


Hi! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers? I'm kinda paranoid about losing everything I've worked hard on. Any tips?

See this link on the saint

The "Find a Grave" website has an article on Saint Vibiana:

Interesting, thank you!

Interesting, thank you!

St. Vibiana

Years ago I was told that her body was given to the archdiocese in the 19th century by the Pope. Don't remember the name. Second for years she was housed next to a church either in Ventura or Santa Barbara, which burned down except here tomb. Seh was put there for a new Cathecral to be built.