Saturday, September 7, 2013

St. Philomena - Virgin, Martyr and Wonder Worker. Sunday, 8th September, Nativity of the BVM. 16th Sunday after Pentecost. St Hadrian, M

St Philomena Powerful with God!


Discovered by excavators in the catacomb of St. Priscilla, in Rome on May 25th, the Feast of Our Lady of Christians in 1802, were the remains of a young girl, of about twelve or thirteen years of age, along with a vial or ampulla of her dried blood.

Inscribed on the tomb were several symbols: a lily, arrows, an anchor and a lance, which would appear to indicate virginity and martyrdom.

The remains of this young Grecian Princess were transferred to the treasury of the Rare Collection of Christian Antiquity in the Vatican, and soon forgotten by the general public, especially since there was no record of a virgin martyr named Philomena.

In 1805, a Neopolitan priest, Don Francesco di Lucia requested, and after a brief delay, received the relics of Philomena to enshrine at his Church at Mugnano, near Naples.

Almost immediately, and before their arrival in Mugnano, signal favours began to be granted through her intercession and unusual events began to occur.

One of the most famous miracles attributed to her intercession is the Miracle of Mugnano in which Venerable Pauline Jaricot was cured of an illness that all the most experienced doctors were unable to remedy.    As her devotees have discovered, no request, of whatever nature, is too trivial or too important to concern her.

Within 35 years of her discovery St. Philomena was raised to the altars and proclaimed the Wonder worker of the 19th century.    St. Philomena is a powerful intercessor - especially in our times when so much confusion and lack of faith abounds.    Her Feast day is August 11th.


Life of St. Philomena as Revealed to a Dominican Nun

On August 3rd, 1833, Mother Maria Luisa di Gesu, a Dominican Tertiary Nun, was praying after Communion before a statue of St. Philomena.

She knew that the relics of Saint Philomena had arrived in Mugnano, Italy on August 10th, to be kept for veneration in Mugnanos's village Church, but felt a great desire to know the true date of the saint's martyrdom.

While she was praying, she felt that she must close her eyes, and when she did, she heard a gracious soft voice speak to her from the direction of the statue saying:

            " Dear Sister, August 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 this 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 10th, the day of my feast in Heaven."

Mother Maria Luisa thought she had fallen prey to an illusion, but her confessor and director was not so hasty in disposing the matter, and after testing it, gave Mother Luisa an obedience to ask saint Philomena to tell her more about her life.

There then came a day when Mother Luisa was in her cell praying, felt her eyes being closed, and heard the gracious voice again. 

St. Philomena Reveals Her Life Story

This is what saint Philomena told of her own story:

                  "I am the daughter of the king of a small Grecian state, and my mother too, was of royal blood.     As they had no children, my parents continually offered sacrifices and prayers to the false gods to obtain a child.

We had in our family a doctor named Publius and he was a Christian.    He pitied the blindness of my parents, and especially he had compassion on my mother in her childlessness.

Inspired by the Holy Ghost he spoke to them of our Faith, and, also, inspired made them this promise:   'If you want a child be baptized and embrace the religion of Jesus Christ.'     Grace accompanied his words and enlightened their minds, softened their hearts, and moved them to consent.

They were instructed and were baptized with some of their courtiers who were in their confidence.

A year later - on January 10th to be exact- I was born, and was called Lumina, because I had been conceived and born in the light of the faith, to which my parents were truly devoted.

And then I was called Filumena - daughter of Light, of that light of Christ, which dwelt in my soul by the grace received in baptism.     And because of my birth many families in the kingdom became Christians.     I grew up with the teaching of the Gospel printed more and more deeply in my heart.

When I was five, I received for the first time Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, and in that day was planted in my heart the desire to be united forever to my Redeemer, Who is the Spouse of virgins.    

And when I was eleven, I consecrated myself to him by vow.

Then came the thirteenth year of my life.     The peace of Christ, which had until that day had reigned in the household and the kingdom of my father was disturbed by the proud and powerful Emperor Diocletian, who unjustly declared war against us.

My father, realizing his inferior strength, decided to go to Rome to make some pact for peace with the Emperor.     So great was the tender affection my father had for me that he could not bear me out of sight for an hour, and so I went with him on his journey to Rome, and rather than be left behind without us, my mother came too.   

Arriving in Rome, he asked for an audience with the tyrant, and when it was granted, took me and my mother with him to the Palace of the Caesars.     While my father pleaded his cause and pointed out the injustice of the war that was made on him, the Emperor kept looking at me, and finally interrupted my father, saying:   'Do not distress yourself further.   Your anxiety is at an end.  Be consoled.  You shall have all the Imperial force for your own protection, if you will but consent to a single condition, namely to give me your daughter, Filumena for my wife.'

My parents accepted his condition, and on our return home sought to convince me of my great fortune in becoming the empress of the Romans.

But I rejected the offer without a moment's hesitation, saying that I was already betrothed to Jesus Christ, as I made a vow of virginity when I was eleven.

My father tried to persuade me that, as a child and a daughter, I had no right to dispose of myself, and he used his authority to make me accept the proposal.     But, my Divine Spouse gave me the strength to persevere in my resolution.    Then my mother had recourse to caresses, begging me to have pity on my father, on my mother, and on my country.

"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, 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, but prayer supported me; I ceased not 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 her Divine Son in her arms.  'My daughter,' she said to me, 'three more days of prison and, after forty days, thou shalt 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,' said Mary, then to me, 'art thou unaware of the love of predilection that I bare to thee?   

The name which thou received in baptism, is the pledge of it, by the resemblance which it has to that of my Son and to mine.   Thou art called Lumena, as thy 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 thee.   Now, nature whose weakness humbles thee, asserts its law;  in the moment of combat, grace will come to lend thee its force, and thy angel who was also mine, Gabriel, whose name expresses force, will come to thy succor; I will recommend thee especially to his care, as the well-beloved among my children.'

These words the Queen of virgins gave me again courage, and the vision disappeared, leaving my prison filled with a celestial perfume.

What she had announced to me was soon realized.

Diocletian, despairing of bending me, took the resolution of having me publicly tortured, and the first torment to which he condemned me was to be scourged.  'Since she is not ashamed,' said he, 'to prefer to an emperor like me, a malefactor, condemned by his own nation to an infamous death, she deserves that my justice shall treat her as he was treated.'

He then ordered my clothes to be taken off, and that I should be tied to a column; he had me beaten with such violence, that my body, bathed in blood, appeared but one single wound.

The tyrant, perceiving that I was going to faint and die, had me removed from his eyes, and dragged again to prison, where he believed I would breathe out my last sigh.

But, he was disappointed, as I was also, in the delightful hope of going quickly to rejoin my Spouse, for two angels, shining with light, appeared to me, and pouring a health-giving balm over my wounds, rendered me more vigorous that I had been before the torture.

The next morning the emperor was informed of it; he had me brought into his presence, viewed me with astonishment; and then sought to persuade me that I owed my cure to Jupiter whom he adored.  'He desires positively,' said he, ' that you should be empress of Rome.'

And, joining to these seductive words promises of the greatest honors, and the most flattering caresses, he endeavoured to complete the work of Hell, which he had begun; but the Divine Spirit, to whom I am indebted for my constancy, filled me at that moment with so much light and knowledge, that to all the proofs which I gave of the solidity of our faith, neither Diocletian nor any of his courtiers could give any answer whatever.

Then his frenzy came on anew, and he commanded me to be buried, with an anchor to my neck, in the waters of the Tiber.

The order was executed, but God permitted that it should not succeed, for, at the moment in which I was precipitated into the river, two angels came again to my succour, and after having cut through the rope that bound me to the anchor, while the anchor fell to the bottom of the Tiber, where it has remained till the present time, they transported me gently, in the view of an immense multitude, upon the banks of the river.

This miracle worked happy effects upon a great number of spectators, and they were converted to the faith; but Diocletian, attributing it to secret magic, had me dragged through the streets of Rome, and then ordered that I should be shot in a shower of arrows.

I was stuck all over with them; my blood flowed on all sides; when he commanded me, exhausted and dying, to be carried back to my dungeon, Heaven honoured me with a new favour there.

I fell into a sweet sleep, and  I found myself, on awakening, perfectly cured.

Diocletian learns of 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.

The archers bent their bows, they gathered all their strength; but the arrows refused to second their intentions.

The emperor was present; he became enraged at the sight; he called me a magician, and, thinking that the action of fire could destroy the enchantment, he ordered the darts to be made red in a furnace, and directed a second time against me.

It was done, indeed; but the darts, after having gone over a part of the space which they were to cross to come to me, took quite a contrary direction, and returned to strike those by whom they had hurled.

Six of the archers were killed by them, and several among them renounced paganism, and the people began to render public testimony to the power of God that had protected me.

These murmurs and acclamations made the tyrant fear some more painful accident; he therefore hastened to terminate my days, by ordering my head to be cut off. 

Thus did my soul take flight toward my heavenly Spouse, who placed me, with the crown of virginity and the palm of martyrdom, in a distinguished rank among the elect, who partake of the enjoyment of His Divine presence.

The day that was so happy for me, and saw me enter into glory, was a Friday, and the hour of my death was the third after mid-day ( that is to say, the same hour that saw my Divine Master expire)."





Novena to St. Philomena

        Illustrious virgin and martyr, Saint Philomena, behold me prostrate before the throne whereupon it has pleased the Most High 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.


Prayer to St. Philomena

           O Saint Philomena, Virgin and Martyr, whom God glorifies by so many miracles, whom the Vicar of Jesus Christ has named Protectress of the Living Rosary and the Children of Mary, manifest more and more plainly from the heights of heaven, that a voice holy as thine cannot be denied and that we have the right to rely upon thine aid.   Obtain for us the grace to be faithful to Jesus Christ, even to death. Amen.


"Pray to St. Philomena, whatever you ask from her she will obtain for you." - (Pope Gregory XVI)

"Our accused enemy is this great Virgin and Martyr, St. Philomena.   Devotion to her is a new and terrible warfare to Hell." - (Devils during exorcism)

August 10th is the Birthday of St. Philomena - her liturgical feast day is August 11th


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