Cécile was born as the eldest of three sisters at La Roche-sur-Yon and lived at
Digne-les-Bains. Her father was a teacher of history and geography. As a student at the
Lycee, she wrote poetry and sent her first manuscript, Les trois Muses, to the editor of
La revue forézienne, Pierre Messiaen, who was also a scholar of English. A correspondence
led to betrothal and marriage in 1907.
The marriage was blessed with two sons the elder of whom, born late the following year, was
Olivier Messiaen who became a celebrated composer and spoke of his idyllic childhood.
The couple spent a happy life throughout the marriage living mostly at Saint-Étienne.
Cécile was introduced by her husband to the works of Keats and undertook a daily schedule
of writing. Her collections of poetry were published from 1905 to 1913. Her subjects
addressed mostly domestic joys which led to her being known as the poet of motherhood.
Pierre served in the war of 1914-1918 during which period the family removed to Grenoble
before moving to Paris which Cécile found uninspiring.
Her health was not robust, however, and she died of consumption (TB), attended by her family.