Birthday of the Saint Philomena
Sunday after January 10th
Patronage day of Saint Philomena
Celebration of the finding of the Holy Body of Saint Philomena
Celebration of the Translation of the Holy Body and the martyrdom of Saint Philomena
Liturgical feast day in honor of Saint Philomena
Celebration of the name of Santa Filumena (Saint Philomena)
Second Sunday of August Solemn festivities in honor of Saint Philomena
Saint Philomena is a saint and martyr of the Roman Catholic Church, said to have been a young Greek princess martyred in the 4th century. Her veneration began in the early 19th century as a result of an archaeological find; after news of the find spread, several miracles were credited to her intercession. Nothing was known of this little known saint until her relics were discovered in the ancient Catacombs of Saint Priscilla at the Via Salaria in Rome on May 25th, 1802. The tomb was sealed with terracotta slabs in the manner usually reserved for nobility or great martyrs.
The tomb had three tiles marked with these words: LUMENA / PAXTE /CUMFI. Reorganizing these words a new phrase takes meaning saying clearly PAX TECUM, FILUMENA (Peace be with you Philomena), also inscribed on the tiles were symbols: 2 anchors, 3 arrows and a palm, which would appear to indicate virginity and martyrdom. It was a common custom of the early Christians to leave symbols and signs such as these, if somebody they thought to be a Saint, died. In the coffin they found the skeleton of a fourteen year old girl, along with a vial of her dried blood. After more than 1600 years, St. Philomena’s tomb is discovered!!!
On the 10th of August, 1805, the relics of the saint were transferred to Mugnano, a hill town near Naples and the home of Canon de Lucia. Continuous miracles of every kind accompanied this transfer:
- A mother of a blind son dipped her fingers into the oil of the lamp burning beside the tomb, placed the oil on the eyes of her son, and he was instantly healed.
- A lady of rank had a cancerous ulcer on her hand which required an operation. A relic of the saint was brought to her. In the evening she placed it on the wound. The following morning, when the surgeon arrived to operate, he found to his surprise that the wound had disappeared.
- Venerable Pauline Jaricot, a lady from France, was miraculously healed at the Shrine of St. Philomena from a live-threatening illness.
- Pope Leo XII (1823-1829), granted permission for altars to be dedicated and chapels to be built in honour of Saint Philomena. He called her the Great Saint.
- Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846), mainly as a result of a miracle of healing brought about by Saint Philomena on Blessed Pauline Jaricot, issued a decree authorising the public cultus of Saint Philomena.
- Blessed Pope Pius IX (1846-1878), named Saint Philomena Patroness of the Children of Mary in 1849. He approved a special Mass in her honour in 1854.
- Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903), raised the Saint Philomena Confraternity to the rank of an Arch-Confraternity, enriching it with many indulgences. He blessed and approved the Cord of Saint Philomena.
- Pope Saint Pius X 1903-1914) had great devotion to Saint Philomena.. He encouraged an increase of devotion to the Saint and commanded that decisions and declarations of his predecessors concerning her be in no way changed.
Philomena's parents were pagans, rulers of a Greek state. Stone and plaster gods could not provide them with their hearts desires for they longed desperately to have a child. On becoming Catholics the two were blessed with a child whom they named Philomena which signifies "Daughter of Light." She was Princess of Corfu.
It was on this account that they took her to Rome on a journey that her father was obliged to make on the occasion of an unjust war with which he was threatened by the haughty Diocletian. Philomena was then thirteen years old. On their arrival in the capital of the world, they proceeded to the palace of the Emperor and were admitted for an audience. As soon as Diocletian saw Philomena, his eyes were fixed upon her. The Emperor was enthralled by her beauty and wanted to marry her. But she refused and vowed to give herself to God. He wanted Philomena to be his wife, but she rejected his offer. Finally in a fit of fury he had her chained in a dungeon.
Philomena rejected all his offers, even though she was tortured and threatened with death. She was bound to a pillar and was savagely scourged. Seeing Philomena was terribly wounded Diocletian had her brought back to the prison to die.
But she didn't.
He ordered her to be thrown in a river with an anchor tied to her neck. The emperor was still hoping she would change her mind, but she refused again. After being thrown in the river Philomena survived again. Diocletian ordered to throw her again in the river, but also this time she survived. Then he ordered her killed by arrows. but she survived.
Due the fact that many who saw how she was treated, and that she was still alive, they started to accept and become Christian.
Determined to put end to this shame and stop conversions, the emperor had her beheaded. And this all because she refused to lose her virginity to Diocletian. An inscription near her tomb read: "Peace be with thee Philomena", along with drawing of 2 anchors, 3 arrows and a palm. It was a common custom of the early Christians to leave symbols and signs such as these, if somebody they thought to be a saint, died. She is known for the extraordinary miracles that occur when she asked to pray for us.
It's highly recommended, that if you need any help, you ask for her prayers.
Her shrine is in Mugnano, Italy.
Patroness: of youth; of the Children of Mary; desperate causes; forgotten causes; impossible causes.
Lene Jacinta M. from Norway told:
I have the St. Philomena chaplet, and one day I decided to pray it for 9 days, especially for financial aid for myself and some missionaries in Guatemala. The next day I received $1019 on my bank account! When the novena was over, I learned that the missionaries had gotten the help they desperately needed; they wrote on their website: "We want to give a huge thank you to each of you who sent us contributions toward our trip as well as prayers for the Lord's supply. The Lord did it, and we'll be flying out on the 26th of July en-route for Berlin with a stop over in Madrid."
On the 16 July, Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, I began a St. Philomena chaplet novena again, for financial aid to myself and the Little Flowers Family Apostolate. The day after I'd begun the novena, I received $202 on my bank account. St. Philomena is really helping me out when it comes to economy - and I always make sure to give something back to God in thanksgiving for the aid He gives me through the intercession of this great Saint! I always make a donation to a Marian website or something else that is Catholic.
Link to the official website of the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena : http://www.philomena.it/
The story of Saint Philomena Revealed to Mother Maria Luisa di Gesù
Three people, unknown to each other and living far apart, had what was apparently a revelation made to them about Philomena’s life. Compared – when they were known – these three accounts were found to be identical.
The best known recipient of the revelation was the Foundress of the Oblates of Our Lady of Sorrows, Mother Maria Luisa di Gesù, a Dominican Tertiary.
On the 3rd of August, 1833, this nun was praying after Communion, before a statue of Saint Philomena and she felt a great wish to know the true day of the Saint’s martyrdom, because, after all, August 10th was only the day the relics arrive in Mugnano – a great day for Mugnano, but of not so much importance to people who lived elsewhere. She had often thought of this, but suddenly the desire filled her heart. And then she felt that she must close her eyes…and that she could not open them to look at the statue any more…and a gracious and soft voice came from the direction of the statue, saying:
“Dear Sister, August the 10th was the day of my rest, my triumph, my birth into Heaven, my entering into the possession of such eternal goods as the human mind cannot possibly imagine. That is why my Heavenly Spouse disposed, by His most high decrees that my coming to Mugnano should be on the day which had seen my coming to Heaven! He prepared so many circumstances which should make my arrival at Mugnano glorious and triumphant; giving joy to all the people, even though the priest who brought me had absolutely decided that my translation should take place on the 5th of the month very quietly in his own house. My omnipotent Spouse impeded him with so many obstacles that the priest, although he did all he could to carry out his plan, could not do so. And so it came about that the said translation was made on the tenth, the day of my feast in Heaven”
The result of this happening as that Mother Maria Luisa was overwhelmed with sadness at the thought that she should fall so easy a prey to an illusion. She took refuge in the sacrament of penance, confessing the whole thing to her director. He was not so hasty in disposing of the matter. He tested it. He wrote off to Mugnano, and asked Don Francesco whether it was true that he had originally intended to have the translation on the 5th and quite quietly in his own house. And the reply came that after clearly how many obstacles prevented his innocent attempt to bring his resent from Rome quickly and quietly into his own chapel!
At that, Mother Luisa’ director gave her an obedience to ask Saint Philomena to tell her some more about her life and martyrdom. So Mother Luisa went to her, and begged her not to take any notice of her unworthiness, but to consider that it was a matter of holy obedience, and to reveal a little more. And there came a day when, being in her cell, she felt her eyes being closed and heard the gracious voice again.The following is the account of the life of Saint Philomena as taken from the official account of Fr. Di Lucia’s Relazione Istorici di Santa Filomena and subsequent annals from locutions received by Sr. Luisa di Gesu in August of 1833, revelations that received approval by the Holy Office, (presently the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) on December 21, 1833.
My dear Sister, I am the daughter of a Prince who governed a small state in Greece. My mother is also of royal blood. My parents were without children. They were idolaters. They continually offered sacrifices and prayers to their false gods.
A doctor from Rome named Publius lived in the palace in the service of my father. This doctor professed Christianity. Seeing the affliction of my parents, by the impulse of the Holy Spirit, he spoke to them of Christianity, and promised to pray for them if they consented to receive Baptism. The grace which accompanied his words enlightened their understanding and triumphed over their will. They became Christians and obtained the long desired happiness that Publius had assured them as the reward of their conversion. At the moment of my birth, they gave me the name of “Lumena,” an allusion to the light of Faith of which I had been, as it were, the fruit. The day of my Baptism they called me “Filumena,” or “Daughter of Light,” because on that day I was born to the Faith. The affection which my parents bore me was so great that they had me always with them.
It was on this account that they took me to Rome on a journey that my father was obliged to make on the occasion of an unjust war with which he was threatened by the haughty Diocletian. I was then thirteen years old. On our arrival in the capital of the world, we proceeded to the palace of the Emperor and were admitted for an audience. As soon as Diocletian saw me, his eyes were fixed upon me. He appeared to be pre-possessed in this manner during the entire time that my father was stating with animated feelings everything that could serve for his defense.
As soon as Father had ceased to speak, the Emperor desired him to be disturbed no longer, to banish all fear, to think only of living in happiness. These are the Emperor’s words, “I shall place at your disposal all the force of the Empire. I ask only one thing, that is the hand of your daughter.” My father, dazzled with an honor he was far from expecting, willingly acceded on the spot to the proposal of the Emperor.
When we returned to our own dwelling, Father and Mother did all they could to induce me to yield to Diocletian’s wishes and theirs. I cried, “Do you wish, that for the love of a man, I should break the promise I have made to Jesus Christ? My virginity belongs to him. I can no longer dispose of it.” “But you were young then, too young,” answered my father, “to have formed such an engagement.” He joined the most terrible threats to the command that he gave me to accept the hand of Diocletian. The grace of my God rendered me invincible, and my father, not being able to make the Emperor relent, in order to disengage himself from the promise he had given, was obliged by Diocletian to bring me to the Imperial Chamber.
I had to withstand for some time beforehand a new attack from my father’s anger. My mother, uniting her efforts to his, endeavored to conquer my resolution. Caresses, threats, everything was employed to reduce me to compliance. At last, I saw both of my parents fall at my knees and say to me with tears in their eyes, “My child have pity on your father, your mother, your country, our country, our subjects.” “No! No,” I answered them. “My virginity, which I have vowed to God, comes before everything, before you, before my country. My kingdom is heaven.”
My words plunged them into despair and they brought me before the Emperor, who on his part did all in his power to win me. But his promises, his allurements, his threats, were equally useless. He then flew into a violent fit of anger and, influenced by the Devil, had me cast into one of the prisons of the palace, where he had me loaded with chains. Thinking that pain and shame would weaken the courage with which my Divine Spouse inspired me, he came to see me every day. After several days, the Emperor issued an order for my chains to be loosed, that I might take a small portion of bread and water. He renewed his attacks, some of which would have been fatal to purity had it not been for the grace of God.
The defeats which he always experienced were for me the preludes to new tortures. Prayer supported me. I did not cease to recommend myself to Jesus and his most pure Mother. My captivity had lasted thirty-seven days, when, in the midst of a heavenly light, I saw Mary holding the Divine Son in her arms. “My daughter,” she said to me, “three days more of prison and after forty days you shall leave this state of pain.” Such happy news made my heart beat with joy, but as the Queen of Angels had added that I should quit my prison, to sustain, in frightful torments a combat far more terrible than those preceding, I fell instantly from joy to the most cruel anguish; I thought it would kill me. “Have courage, my child,” Mary then said to me; “are you unaware of the love of predilection that I bear for you? The name, which you received in baptism, is the pledge of it for the resemblance which it has to that of my Son and to mine. You are called Lumena, as your Spouse is called Light, Star, Sun, as I myself am called Aurora, Star, the Moon in the fullness of its brightness, and Sun. Fear not, I will aid you. Now nature, whose weakness humbles you, asserts its law. In the moment of combat, grace will come to lend you its force, and your Angel, who was also mine, Gabriel, whose name expresses strength, will come to your aid. I will recommend you especially to his care, as the well beloved among my children.” These words of the Queen of virgins gave me courage again, and the vision disappeared, leaving my prison filled with a celestial perfume. I experienced a joy out of this world. Something indefinable.
What the Queen of Angels had prepared me for was soon experienced. Diocletian, despairing of bending me, decided on public chastisement to offend my virtue. He condemned me to be stripped and scourged like the Spouse I preferred to him. These are his horrifying words. “Since she is not ashamed to prefer to an Emperor like me, a malefactor condemned to an infamous death by his own people, she deserves that my justice shall treat her as he was treated.” The prison guards hesitated to unclothe me entirely but they did tie me to a column in the presence of the great men of the court. They lashed me with violence until I was bathed in blood. My whole body felt like one open wound, but I did not faint.
The tyrant had me dragged back to the dungeon, expecting me to die. I hoped to join my heavenly Spouse. Two angels, shining with light, appeared to me in the darkness. They poured a soothing balm on my wounds, bestowing on me a vigor I did not have before the torture.
When the Emperor was informed by the change that had come over me, he had me brought before him. He viewed me with a greedy desire and tried to persuade me that I owed my healing and regained vigor to Jupiter, another god, that he, the Emperor, had sent to me. He attempted to impress me with his belief that Jupiter desired me to be Empress of Rome. Joining to these seductive words promises of great honor, including the most flattering words, Diocletian tried to caress me. Fiendishly, he attempted to complete the work of Hell which he had begun. The Divine Spirit to whom I am indebted for constancy in preserving my purity seemed to fill me with light and knowledge, and to all the proofs which I gave of the solidity of our Faith, neither Diocletian or his courtiers could find an answer.
Then, the frenzied Emperor dashed at me, commanding a guard to chain an anchor around my neck and bury me deep in the waters of the Tiber. The order was executed. I was cast into the water, but God sent me two angels who unfastened the anchor. It fell into the river mud, where it remains no doubt to the present time. The angels transported me gently in full view of the multitude upon the riverbank. I came back unharmed, not even wet, after being plunged with the heavy anchor.
When a cry of joy rose from the debauchers on the shore, and so many embraced Christianity by proclaiming their belief in my God, Diocletian attributed my preservation to secret magic. Then the Emperor had me dragged through the streets of Rome and shot with a shower of arrows. My blood flowed, but I did not faint. Diocletian thought that I was dying and commanded the guards to carry me back to the dungeon. Heaven honored me with a new favor there. I fell into a sweet sleep, and I found myself, on awaking, perfectly cured.
Diocletian learned about it. “Well, then,” he cried in a fit of rage, “let her be pierced with sharp darts a second time, and let her die in that torture.” They hastened to obey him. Again, the archers bent their bows. They gathered all their strength, but the arrows refused to second their intentions. The Emperor was present. In a rage, he called me a magician, and thinking that the action of fire could destroy the enchantment, ordered the darts to be made red in a furnace and directed against my heart. He was obeyed, but these darts, after having passed through a part of the space which they were to cross to come to me, took a quite contrary direction and returned to strike those by whom they had been hurled. Six of the archers were killed by them. Several among them renounced paganism, and the people began to render public testimony to the power of God that protected me.
These murmurs and acclamations infuriated the tyrant. He determined to hasten my death by ordering my head to be cut off. My soul took flight towards my heavenly spouse, who placed me, with the crown of virginity and the palm of martyrdom, in a distinguished place among the elect. The day that was so happy for me and saw me enter into glory was Friday, the third hour after mid-day, the same hour that saw my Divine Master expire.
What is noteworthy from a historical perspective is not only that this revelation was confirmed y two other individuals unknown to each other (one a priest, the other an historian), but these other confirmatory historical facts: 1) The Third Century Roman Emperor was known for executing Christians by the use of arrows, an exemplified by St. Sebastian; 2) The Third Century Roman Emperor was also known for killing Christians by tying anchors around their necks and throwing them into the water; 3) The reference to “Lumena” — the name given to her at birth, “Light” — and then at Baptism, “Fi Lumena”, “Daughter of Light”, may explain the arrangement of the tiles found at the grave (“Lumena”, her first given name, was on the first tile).
“To Philomena, Nothing is refused”
“My children, St. Philomena has great power with God. Her virginity and generosity in embracing heroic martydom has rendered her so agreeable to God that He will never refuse anything that she asks for us.” -St. John Vianney, the Curé of Ars
NOVENA PRAYER TO SAINT PHILOMENA
We beseech Thee, O Lord, to grant us the pardon of our sins by the intercession of Saint , virgin and martyr, who was always pleasing in Thy sight by her eminent chastity and by the profession of every virtue. Amen.
Illustrious virgin and martyr, Saint Philomena, behold me prostrate before the throne whereupon it has pleased the Most Holy Trinity to place thee. Full of confidence in thy protection, I entreat thee to intercede for me with God, from the heights of Heaven deign to cast a glance upon thy humble client! Spouse of Christ, sustain me in suffering, fortify me in temptation, protect me in the dangers surrounding me, obtain for me the graces necessary to me, and in particular
(Here specify your petition).
Above all, assist me at the hour of my death. Saint Philomena, powerful with God, pray for us. Amen.
O God, Most Holy Trinity, we thank Thee for the graces Thou didst bestow upon the Blessed Virgin Mary, and upon Thy handmaid Philomena, through whose intercession we implore Thy Mercy. Amen.
Another Novena Prayer to ST. PHILOMENA
O FAITHFUL VIRGIN and glorious martyr, St. Philomena, who works so many miracles on behalf of the poor and sorrowing, have pity on me. Thou knowest the multitude and diversity of my needs. Behold me at thy feet, full of misery, but full of hope. I entreat thy charity , O great Saint! Graciously hear me and obtain from God a favorable answer to the request which I now humbly lay before thee ... (Here specify your petition.) I am firmly convinced that through thy merits, through the scorn, the sufferings and the death thou didst endure, united to the merits of the Passion and death of Jesus, thy Spouse, I shall obtain what I ask of thee, and in the joy of my heart I will bless God, who is admirable in His Saints. Amen.
Saint Philomena, Powerful with God, Pray for us!
St. Philomena has been successfully invoked by her supplicants in every sort of need, such that she has become another patron of "hopeless" and "impossible" cases, like St. Jude or St. Rita, but she is known to be especially powerful in cases involving conversion of sinners, return to the Sacraments, expectant mothers, destitute mothers, problems with children, unhappiness in the home, sterility, priests and their work, help for the sick, the missions, real estate, money problems, food for the poor and mental illness. But truly, as her devotees have discovered, no case, of whatever matter, is too trivial or too unimportant to concern her.
Saint Philomena, the Wonder-Worker
Saint Philomena - Powerful with God - Pray for us! ... I am the wonder-worker of God for those who believe in my intercession.
Resources (Audio, Books, WebSites) for St. Philomena AUDIO --- Click here => CD One - It is Time to Meet St. Philomena by Dr. Mark Miravalle.
*** Our thanks to Richard Fox and Family of Saint Philomena Organization for permission to provide this audio presentation free of charge. For CD Two, St. Philomena Prayers & Songs -- use Family of Saint Philomena's Web Link provided. As a .pdf file download (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) which can be saved on your computer for future reference/printing selected pages as required:
As a .rtf file download which can be read by any typical word processing application like Microsoft WORD. The difference is you can edit and print as desired. Most likely, this file format was used to generate the above .pdf file format.
more information on the website:
Sainted devotees of St. Philomena
- St. John Marie Vianney, Curé of Ars (1876-1859). It was Pauline Jaricot who talked to him about the Saint of Mugnano and introduced her to him. It was she that gifted him with one of her relics. There is not a biography of the Curate of Ars where our Saint is not mentioned. In France he was the greatest promoter of the devotion towards the Saint of Mugnano. He had a statue of St. Philomena placed in his parish church, and then built a Basilica in her honor in Ars. This Basilica, built in the same style of the one in Fourvière, which dominates over Lyon, was terminated after the death of Saint John Marie Vianney. The Saint Curate attributed to the intercession of our Saint, all the numerous miracles performed in Ars.
- St. Peter Louis Marie Chanel (1803-1841). He was missionary and first martyr (April 28, 1841) of the mysterious and wild Oceania. His mutual devotion for St. Philomena came from the Curate of Ars. When he embarked in 1836 for the Archipelago of Tonga, he had in his breviary three pictures: Our Lady, St. Joseph and St. Philomena. To the young St. of Mugnano he would turn in the difficult moments of his apostolate amongst the mistrustful and hostile indigenous. Although not expert in constructions, he started building, trustful in “a Saint for whom he harbors a great devotion”. In honor of the Saint he recited a novena every year in the period of her feast. To one of the first baptized he gave the name Marie Philomeno.
- St. Peter Julian Marie Eymard (1811- 1868). His greatest merit was the foundation in 1856 of the Congregation of the Most Blessed Sacrament. He was a very close friend of the Curate of Ars whom he visited regularly. He had a great devotion towards St. Philomena. He loved to kneel down in front of the Saint’s reliquary. In 1854 he was cured by the martyr, after a novena recited in her honor.
- St. Madeleine Sophie Barat (1779-1865). She founded in 1802 the Society of the Sacred Heart. In the difficult times of her life and her religious order, Mother Barat invoked with faith the Saint of Mugnano. In her biography she states that on the 11th of September 1846 Barat placed her hands on a surgery patient who was instantly healed. She attributed her healing to St. Philomena, whom she had invoked.
- St. John Nepomucene Neumann (1811-1860). In 1840 he joined the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, founded by St. Alfonso Maria de Liguori. He dedicated himself to the missionary activity in the States of New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and in Christian education for youth, founding many parish catholic schools. In 1846, trustful of the help of the Martyr, “to whom God denies nothing for whomever invokes her” and without worrying about the money, he completed the building of the new Church of St. Philomena.
- St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917). On her numerous journeys, especially the ones from New York to Buenos Aires and through the Andes, she always carried with her a small statue of St. Philomena. We can say that Cabrini, and the Bishop of Philadelphia Mons. Neumann, had the merit of promoting the devotion of the Saint in America more than anyone else. Pius XII declared her Universal Patroness of the Emigrants.
- St. Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968). For her St. Philomena was the “Princess of Heaven”. After the liturgical reform of 1961, Father Pio used to imperatively reply to whoever dared to doubt the existence of the Saint: “for the love of God! It might well be that her name is not Philomena, but this Saint has performed many miracles and it is not the name that did them.” This is the wisest reply: who wants to understand, will understand!
- St. Maddalena Gabriella of Canossa (1774-1835). She founded the Order of the Canossians (Work of the Charity daughters), an institution of great religious and human advancement. Mother Madeleine continuously urged her religious sisters towards the love of Christ and the Virgin of Sorrows, and she entrusted them to the patronage of St. Philomena.
- St. Hannibal Marie Di Francia (1851-1927). Referring to St. Philomena he used to say: “St. Philomena has become famous for the great miracles that the Lord has worked through her.”
- St. Damien de Veuster (1840 – 1889). Father Damien, Belgian missionary of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts, spent his life spiritually assisting and curing the lepers relegated to the isle of Molokai in the Hawaiian archipelago. A great devotee of St. Philomena, he dedicated to her the first chapel he built in the leper colony.
- The Blessed Bartolo Longo (1841-1926). Founder of the famous Sanctuary of Pompeii was a great devotee of St. Philomena. In 1896 he wrote “Life of St. Philomena Virgin and Martyr”. It was based on the “revelations” of the mystic Neapolitan Sister Marie Louise of Jesus,
- The Blessed Anne Marie Taigi (1769-1837). She received the healing of one of her young nieces. The Jesuit P. Gabriel Bouffier affirms that this admirable mother invoked the young Martyr from the Catacombs every night and made her family invoke her also. She had her image displayed in her house and on death’s door, like a good Christian mother, after having given the last recommendations to her sons, she placed them under the special protection of St. Philomena, of whom she had always propagated the cult.
- The Blessed Pius IX (1792-1878). This Pope’s devotion was deep and sincere throughout his whole life. In 1849 he visited the Sanctuary. When young, he was healed by intercession of the Saint. He proclaimed her Second Patron in the vast Neapolitan Kingdom.
- Venerable Pauline Marie Jaricot (1799-1862). Pauline Marie Jaricot, founder of the Living Rosary and the Society for the Propagation of the Faith was highly appreciated by Pope Gregory XVI who wanted to personally receive her when she passed through Rome. She had been directed to Mugnano to invoke her healing to our Saint. The astonishing miracle of her healing, which he verified in person, induced Pope Gregory XVI to sign the well known decree of 1837. It was she that gave the relic of St. Philomena to the Curate of Ars and she was one of the promoters of Philomena’s devotion in Lyon and in the whole of France.
- Servant of God Sister Marie Louise of Jesus (1799-1875). Intent on spreading of the cult of St. Philomena and by the echoes of her miracles in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, she founded the religious family of the “Oblates of Our Lady of Sorrows and St. Philomena”. However, her “revelations” on the life and martyrdom of St. Philomena, although answering the need to know more about her life, has effectively brought our Saint towards the legend, detaching her from history. In truth the cult of St. Philomena did not start from her revelations, nor has it been divulged through them. The Church, in all the official acts in relation to the cult of our Martyr, has never taken it into account. There is however the sincere devotion of Sister Marie Louise and the beneficial influence that her written work has given to the veneration of St. Philomena.
- Venerable Marie Christine of Savoy (1812-1836). With her husband Ferdinand II, she came for the first time to the Sanctuary of Mugnano on April 11, 1835. Immediately after her visit to the Sanctuary, the happy news about the conception of the heir to the throne was announced. The Queen attributed her pregnancy to the intercession of St. Philomena. Many prodigies happened through her intercession. Pius IX in 1853 proclaimed her as Venerable and Pius XI in 1937 declared heroic her virtues. In numerous biographies the great devotion of Marie Christine of Savoy towards St. Philomena is highlighted.
- Servant of God, Julie Colbert (1785-1864). Julie Colbert was very devoted to St. Philomena and greatly attached to her Sanctuary. She promoted the devotion of the Saint in the city of Turin. She founded the Daughters of Jesus Good Pastor. The Marchioness of Barolo visited the Sanctuary of St. Philomena in January 1834 and in February 1852, at which time she left a silver heart with a letter for the grace received. Barolo entitled a small, beautiful hospital for sick and crippled young girls to the Saint.
- Servant of God Andrew Filomeno Garcia (1800-1853). He emigrated to Montevideo when he was about twenty-three years of age, became mendicant friar at the Franciscans of Santiago. For many years he travelled through the cities and the countryside of Chile, carrying in one hand a small box for offerings, in the other a big picture of St. Philomena that he would show to everybody. To the ones who would stop to listen to him, Friar Garcia would tell about the miracles of the small Saint, leaving them enriched. He also composed prayers and hymns in honor of St. Philomena. He died in Santiago in 1853. Two years later, his body, found in pristine conditions, was buried in the Church of his monastery, at the altar of St. Philomena.
- Venerable Father Vito Michael Di Netta (1787-1849). He was a missionary heroic figure of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer founded by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Doctor of the Church, whose preaching in Nola has remained memorable. Father Di Netta nurtured a great devotion towards St. Philomena whom he always invoked in times of the danger he faced as a missionary.
- Venerable Jean Claude Colin (1790-1875). Ordained priest in 1816, he founded the Society of Mary. On April 29, 1836 Pope Gregory XVI approved the Marist Congregation and in 1837 Colin was elected its General Superior. Father Colin used to turn to St. Philomena with the same love and trust of the Curate of Ars. In Belley, in an old Capuchin Monastery, he founded an oratory dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, in which he placed a statue of St. Philomena.
Distinguished and common faithful, devotees of St. Philomena.
- Mother Mary Theresa (1809-1863). Foundress of the Congregation of the Healing Adoration, owes her vocation to St. Philomena. While painting a picture of St. Philomena, which is now in the Cathedral of Bayeux, she received her vocation and conversion.
- Abbot Louis Petit (1852-1914). He cultivated within his family the love for St. Philomena. He was a seminarian when his parents moved to Paris, living in the area of the parish church of St.-Gervais. This church was the only one in the capital with the cult of St. Philomena well established. In 1872 he founded the periodical L’Echo de Ste. Philoméne, which he managed to publish for two years. Not yet a priest, he also published Histoire du culte de St.e Philoméne, “History of the cult of St. Philomena.” He was ordained in 1879 and two years later joined the Congregation of St. Vincent de Paoli, where he was director of the Messager de Ste. Philoméne until his death. The purpose of his life had been the spreading of the cult of St. Philomena and he created a center from which to radiate it.
In the Parisian district of High Vaugirard, he built the lovely chapel of St. Philomena in Rue Dantzig. From here his written work and his Messager reached France and the rest of the world. In 1883 he received the approval of the Cord of St. Philomena from the Sacred Congregation of Rites and spread its devotion through his periodical.
Louis Petit also had the inspiration to found the Work of St. Philomena, with the intention of giving Christian education to the working classes. He joyfully witnessed this pious association become a Universal Archconfraternity with an official act of Pius X on May 21, 1912.
The first century of the finding of St. Philomena’s bones was solemnly celebrated in Rome in 1902. He had the honor of closing these celebrations with a sung Mass.
When the Abbot Petit came to Mugnano to venerate St. Philomena in 1883 and 1902, he uses the wonderful missal donated by Pope Leo XIII for the celebration of the Sacred Mass. He died in Paris in 1914, full of merits towards our Saint whom he deeply loved and venerated.
- An endless list. In the whole world, countless individuals of every social condition have venerated St. Philomena. Here are mentioned only a few:
- Father Joseph Varin, one of the restorers of the Society of Jesus in France, used to pronounce at least forty times a day the name of the Saint and celebrated a mass in the Sanctuary dedicated to the her.
- Father O’Sullivan spread the cult of St. Philomena in Portugal, Ireland, and USA.
- Many writers and artists have had admiration and devotion towards the Saint:
- Michael De St. Pierre French catholic novelist, in his biography about the Curate of Ars highlights great fondness for St. Philomena;
- Jean Dupré consecrated to St. Philomena the first fruits of his works
- the Italian poets Joseph Borghi and Sylvius Pellico wrote hymns in honor of the “Pure Virgin” and the “Invincible Martyr”.
- Many Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops, from all over the world have come to give homage to St. Philomena in Mugnano and have left their ex voto:
- Card. Louis Ruffo Scilla, Archbishop of Naples, who wanted to donate a statue of St. Philomena to the Sanctuary; the English Cardinal Thomas Weld;
- Card. James Philip Franzoni, Prefect of Faith Propaganda;
- Card. Louis Lambruschini, Secretary of Pius IX; Card. Angelo Mai, Prefect of the Vatican Library; Card. Gabriel della Gerga Sermattei;
- Card. Philip Judge Caracciolo, Archbishop of Naples.
- In 1837 the Archbishop of Cesarea, went to Mugnano.
- In 1852 the Sanctuary was visited by: the Bishop of Chicago, Mons. John James Oliviero Vande Velede; Mons. Vincent Spaccapietra, Archbishop of Smirne, John Hilary Bost, Bishop of Merida in the Venezuelan Republic.
More information at the Catholic Online website:
This likeness of Saint Philomena, at Ars, was pronounced by her illustrious devotee, the Cure' of Ars (Saint Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney), to be the closest in appearance to hers, as she had revealed herself to him
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