Saint Philomena: The Obscure Princess Martyr
Philomena: the obscure little martyr saint of the Catholic Church. Hardly anything is veritably known about her. Sure, there have been some private revelations concerning her life, but those aren’t dogma, and even with those private visions granted to the saints as testimony, still little is known of this young saint. Perhaps, that is why it has taken me so long to really take her close to my heart as I have as of late. I knew little of her. She wasn’t a St. Therese having written her own autobiography, delving deep into her life. When I moved to Oregon for a job position and my roommates vouched the reason they got the house with furniture was due to a novena to St. Philomena, I didn’t take it too seriously. I mean, it was remarkable, sure, that they prayed to her for a house near the church with furniture, and then ended getting the one across the street fully furnished. But, still, even if I wasn’t about to discredit Philomena, I still didn’t feel inclined to pray to her, didn’t think she’d hear me, didn’t feel that connection you sometimes do toward certain saints.
When I finally turned to Philomena, it was during a little crisis of my own. I am not going to go into that crisis. I am just going to say, she seemed to hear me. After that, I began to pray to her quite often. I even got a little second class relic of hers. She hasn’t cured me of any incurable diseases necessarily, but I suddenly am beginning to realize how powerful and kind she is. Even the tiniest little requests, she seems to hear and grant quickly.
|These images were found on her tomb. If you switch the order, you will get: Pax Tecum Filumena, which is equivalent to "Peace be with you, Philomena" in English. Top two images found at: National Centre for St. Philomena in Australia|
Saint John Vianney, the miracle-working priest who is so well-known, was very attached to Philomena. He once said, "My children, Saint Philomena has great power with God, and she has, moreover, a kind heart; let us pray to her with confidence. Her virginity and generosity in embracing her heroic martyrdom have rendered her so agreeable to God that He will never refuse her anything that she asks for us." She proved her kindness toward him many times. One time, when he was approaching death, he asked God for some more time since he felt he had empty hands. At the moment, a Mass was being said for him in honor of Philomena, and he was cured. (2016, Melvin, n.p.)
|Image found at: Saint Philomena Facebook Page|
Not only was the well-known Saint John Vianney a big supporter of our little saint, but so was venerable Pauline Jaricot. Pauline was very ill and noticeably so when she made her trip in 1835. The Holy Father, Pope Gregory XVI himself came out to see this sickly woman to console her. She asked him if she came back well from her trip to Mugnano, where Philomena’s shrine was, if he’d deign to proceed the final inquiry in Saint Philomena’s Cause. “Yes, my daughter,” he answered, “for that would be a miracle of the first class.” He then turned to one of the superiors of the Sacred Heart nuns and commented on how ill Pauline seemed to him, saying, “We shall never see her again.” (2016, Melvin, n.p.)
When Pauline arrived in Mugnano, her health seemed to worsen. She went near the Saint’s shrine to receive Holy Communion, and ended up fainting. The crowd thought death had taken her, but when they attempted to carry her out, she regained consciousness well enough to signal those around her to bring her back to the relics. They did so, and tears fell from her face and color returned again to her cheeks. Pauline was cured.
When Pauline returned to the pope in good health, he told her he would build a chapel in Philomena’s honor. This healing of Pauline’s helped pave the way in getting the obscure martyr better known and recognized.
There are countless stories like the above not only told by "ordinary folk" like you and me, but venerables, blesseds, and saints of the Catholic Church. If you doubt Philomena, give her a "go" and ask for her prayers. You will soon see how amazing this little saint is.
Melvin (2016) The Cure of Ars and Saint Philomena. http://www.thelivingrosary.com/vianney.asp
Saint Philomena: Virgin, Martyr and Wonderworker https://www.facebook.com/SaintPhilomenaVirginMartyrWonderworker/?fref=ts
Melvin (2016) The Match That Lit the Fire. http://www.philomena.org/foundress.asp
N.A.(2011) Discovery of the Holy Relics of St. Philomena. Website: http://philomena-australia.org/index_files/Page712.htm