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St. Philomena Miracle worker, Virgin & Martyr Feast August 11th

“Let the little children come unto me, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matt 19:14)

 

Daughter of Light

What do St. John Vianney, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, St. Peter Eymard, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini and St. Pio of Pietrelcina all have in common? Besides being saints, that is!

They were all devoted to St. Philomena, a mysterious saint whose life and heroic death were not uncovered for a millennia and a half after she died.
St. Philomena (meaning “daughter of light”) lay quietly in her resting place in Rome for over 1,600 years. Then, in His infinite wisdom, God decided it was time to reveal this pearl of great price to the whole world and she made her “debut” in 1802, when the bones of a female between the ages of 13 and 15 were discovered in the catacomb of St. Priscilia.

An inscription near her tomb read "Peace be with thee, Philomena," along with drawings of two anchors, three arrows and a palm. Near her bones was discovered a small glass vial, containing the remains of blood. Because it was a popular custom of the early Christians to leave symbols and signs of martyrdom such as these, it was easily determined that St. Philomena was a virgin and a martyr.

Painting of St. Philomena - a young girl with a crown of flowers on her head, holding lilies and an arrowHer popularity soon became widespread, with her most memorable devotees being St. John Vianney, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, St. Peter Eymard, and St. Peter Chanel. After being miraculously cured, Ven. Pauline Jaricot insisted with Pope Gregory XVI to begin the examination for the beatification of St. Philomena, who was to become known as the "wonder worker." After hundreds of other miraculous cures, she was beatified in 1837.

Pope Leo XII granted permission for the erection of altars and churches in her honor. Pope Gregory XVI authorized her public veneration, and named her patroness of the Living Rosary.

The cure of Pope Pius IX, while archbishop of Imola, was attributed to St. Philomena. In 1849, he named her patroness of the Children of Mary. Pope Leo XIII approved the Confraternity of St. Philomena, and raised it to an Archconfraternity. Pope Saint Pius X raised the Archconfraternity to a Universal Archconfraternity, and named St. John Vianney its patron.

St. Philomena holds a special place in the hearts of all America Needs Fatima members, as she was named the Patroness of the Living Rosary and the Patroness of the Children of Mary. She is the only person recognized as a saint solely on the basis of her powerful intercession, and powerful it is! She has come to the aid of countless souls who have turned to her and placed their hope in Our Lord’s words that “the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

 

Filling in the Blanks

Now, as amazing as the discovery of the saint’s tomb was, there still remained many questions about this saint. Where did she come from? Who were her parents? Why and how did she die? In 1833, she obligingly appeared to Dominican Sister Maria Luisa di Gesù (1799–1875), revealing details about her short life and her heroic death.

According to Sister Maria Luisa di Gesù, St. Philomena told her she was the daughter of a king in Greece who, with his wife, had converted to Christianity in the late third century.

At the age of about 13 she took a vow of consecrated virginity. When the Emperor Diocletian threatened to make war on her father, her father went with his family to Rome to ask for peace.

St. Philomena, kneeling in her cell. In one hand are lilies, and the other arrows, an anchor attached to a rope around her neck, and the instruments of her scourging. Around her head is a crown of roses. The Emperor fell in love with the young Philomena and, when she refused to be his wife, he subjected her to a series of torments:

  • scourging, from whose effects two angels cured her;
  • drowning with an anchor attached to her (two angels cut the rope and raised her to the river bank);
  • being shot with arrows, (on the first occasion her wounds were healed; on the second, the arrows turned aside; and on the third, they returned and killed six of the archers, after which, several of the others became Christians).

Finally, the Emperor had her decapitated. The story goes that the decapitation occurred on a Friday at three in the afternoon, as with the death of her Spouse, Jesus Christ.

When her tomb was discovered in 1802, two anchors, three arrows, a palm and an ivy leaf, symbols of her martyrdom, were found on the tiles there.

St. Philomena also revealed to Sr. Maria that her birthday was January 10th, and that her martyrdom occurred on August 10th, which happened to be the exact same date that her relics arrived in Mugnano, Italy, where they remain for veneration to this day.


Favorite of the Cure of Ars

St. Philomena, standing and holding lilies. At her feet are an anchor, arrows, whips, and a sword.One day, St. John Marie Vianney, Curé of Ars (1876-1859), was given a very special gift from a very special lady. Ven. Pauline Jaricot, foundress of the Living Rosary, she talked to him often about the mysterious Saint of Mugnano and introduced St. Philomena to him formally by giving him one of her relics.

There is not a biography of the Curate of Ars where St. Philomena is not mentioned. In France he was the greatest promoter of her devotion. He had a statue of St. Philomena placed in his parish church, and then built a Basilica in her honor in Ars. This holy man of God, in his characteristic humility, attributed all the miraculous works that occurred in Ars to the intercession of St. Philomena.

It is further recorded that he called St. Philomena the New Light of the Church Militant, a title befitting this little child who, because of her great love for God amidst trial and persecution, is truly a saint for our times.

St. John Vianney commissioned this painting of St. Philomena and it is housed in the Shrine of Ars, France.

 


 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for May 25, 2020

“I will take away not the grace but the feeling of grace...

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May 25

 

“I will take away
not the grace but the feeling of grace.
Though I will seem to leave you
I will be closer to you.”

Our Lord to St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

Pope St. Gregory VII

In 1073 at the death of Alexander II, the people of Rome cri...

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Pope St. Gregory VII

Pope Gregory VII was born Hildebrand in Tuscany, Italy. Little else is known of his early life. Hailed, historically, as one of the greatest of the Church's pontiffs and one of the most remarkable men of all time, his name, Hildebrand, meant “bright flame”. Those who hated him, which were many, interpreted the name as “brand of Hell”.

Hildebrand was a Benedictine monk, for a time living in Cluny, from whence he certainly gleaned the monastery’s ideal of societal reform.

As a cleric, he became chaplain to Pope Gregory VI, and a few years later, under Leo IX was made Cardinal Deacon. A man of outstanding energy and insight, Hildebrand became a power in Rome. It is greatly due to him that the practice of electing popes through a college of cardinals was established.

In 1073 at the death of Alexander II, the people of Rome cried out for the holy genius who had helped steer the Church for twenty years, “Hildebrand for Pope! Holy Peter wants Hildebrand, the Archdeacon!” Once before the holy monk had eluded the tiara but this time a proper college of cardinals, seconding the popular cry, induced him to accept an honor duly his.

Hildebrand assumed the name Gregory VII, and threw his energy and zeal into a continued reform, especially fighting simony (the sale of ecclesiastical posts) and clerical incontinence.

He confronted Emperor Henry IV head- on about his practice of choosing men for ecclesiastical positions. On meeting with dogged resistance, the pontiff finally had recourse to excommunication which drastically curtailed the proud monarch’s power, ultimately bringing Henry on foot to the Pope at the Castle of Canossa. Because of Henry’s rebellious obstinacy, Pope Gregory saw fit to leave him out in the cold for three days before receiving and reinstating the royal penitent.

But Henry failed to make any true personal reform and alienated his princes who elected another ruler. Still, he later rallied and went as far as electing another Pope, a Clement III, calling down upon himself another sentence of excommunication. He also attacked and entered the Eternal City in 1084, which forced Pope Gregory into exile. Henry had his protégée “pope” crown him Emperor. Ultimately repelled by an army fighting for the true pope, the Emperor Henry left Rome, but complications sent Gregory VII again into exile, this time to die.

His last words before his death were a summary of how he had lived, “I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile.”

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion t...

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Mary and the Simple Country Wife

There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion to Holy Mary, just as her mother had taught her to do. This simple young lady considered herself fortunate to have married a handsome soldier. Little did she know that her soldier-husband had made a deal with the devil, that he would sell his wife for a certain sum of money.

One crisp, autumn morning the couple went out for their customary walk. Oddly, this time the young man insisted on heading towards the forest. It was at the forest where he intended to deliver his young bride over to the devil.

On their way to the forest, the couple passed in front of a Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The wife, overtaken with a desire to enter the church begged her husband to allow her to pray a Hail Mary in that church.

As the young lady entered the church, Holy Mary came forth from it, taking the form of the wife and accompanied the man into the forest.

When they at last approached the devil at the forest, he said to the man, “Traitor! Why have you brought me instead of your wife, my enemy, the mother of God?”

“And you,” said Mary, addressing the devil, “how have you dared to think of injuring my servant? Go, flee to hell.”

And then, turning to the man, Mary said to him, “Amend your life, and I will aid you.”

She then disappeared and that wretched man repented, amended his life and became a husband worthy of his simple country wife.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

 

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There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion to Holy Mary, just as her mother had taught her to do. This simple young lady considered herself fortunate to have married a handsome soldier.

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