Much of what we know about Saint Philomena's short yet extraordinary life comes to us from knowledge reputedly imparted to three visionary clients of the saint. Holy Mother Church has declared these visions worthy of our belief (ie: nothing in these visions is contrary to our Faith) but does not bind Catholics to accept them. Without further ado then here is a brief "life" of Saint Philomena.Philomena's parents were pagans, rulers of a Greek state. Stone and plaster gods could not provide them with their heart's desire 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." Summoned to Rome to appear before the mighty tyrant Diocletian, Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, Philomena's parents included their daughter (now thirteen years of age) in their entourage in order not to be seperated from their loved one and to show the Greek Princess the many splendours of the capital of the ancient world. How bitterly they must have repented of this desire for no sooner had the powerful Diocletian beheld the beautiful maiden than he manifested his desire to make her his wife. Having bound herself to her Beloved Spouse Jesus at the age of eleven with a vow of perpetual chastity, Philomena now refused the hand of the Roman Emperor. Threats, entreaties, promises, all were wasted on the pious maiden who chose the spiritual love of the Lord of Heaven and His Eternal Rewards above the sensual love and material benevolence of the Lord of the Roman World.
The poor saint was to suffer terribly for her attachment to heavenly ideals. Time and space do not allow us to examine all the barbaric tortures that the poor child had to endure as the Emperor strove to break he allegiance to the crucified Nazarene. At last the gentle maiden who had shown such iron resolution was beheaded. As the executioner's blade separated her head from her body, so did her pure soul separate from it's house of flesh and take flight into the bosom of Our Lord and the bliss of Heaven.
Within the Priscillian Catacombs were placed her earthly remains and for many centuries the Daughter of Light was separated from the world by the dark of the tomb. On the 25th May, 1802 her body was discovered by excavators and the light that had defied the darkness of Imperial and Idolaterous Rome burst forth once more on a world, covered now not with the shadow of paganism, but of the principles of the French Revolution. To that light were drawn the sick, the despairing, the doubting, the strong and the weak. All found shelter, love, consolation. Her relics were placed in a shrine in Mugnano, Naples. Miracles abounded in this sanctuary but were not limited to it. Devotion to the saint spread throughout the whole world and her clients invoke her for every cause. Unlike saints who are characterised by a power of intercession for a particular cause such as Saint Raphael for travel, marriage and health, Saint Philomena's power of intercession extends to all domains. The principle means of devotion to this saint are her cord, her medal, Saint Philomena's oil and Saint Philomena's chaplet. History will attest that there is no cause too great or too small for the saint's intercessory power. Spiritual graces and temporal blessings, cures of all kinds, help in financial difficulties, patroness of the missions, of children in short assistance in all the different states of life which the Catholic faithful find themselves. You too, dear reader, are a 'Catholic faithful'. Do you labour under some sorrow or difficulty? Of course! We all do. Go to Saint Philomena. She is just a prayer away.
St. Philomena, powerful with God, pray for us!
Prayer to Saint Philomena
O, Saint Philomena, Virgin and Martyr, whom God glorifies by so many miracles, whom the Vicar of Jesus Christ has names 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.Prayer to Saint Philomena, The Beloved 0 Philomena, martyr maiden fair,We love thee with the rose-wreath on thy hair!Thou, clasping close thy green immortal palm,Plead strong and sweet for us in Heaven's calmWith Him who bids thee succour every need.He says not nay when thou dost intercede, Then, mighty martyr, help us through life's raceAnd show us at the Gates of Gold, thy face.Novena Prayer to St. PhilomenaO 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 (make your request here). I am thoroughly convinced that through thy merits, through the scorn, the sufferings, 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.
Novena to Saint Philomena
O, great Saint Philomena, glorious Virgin and Martyr, wonder-worker of our age, obtain for me purity of body and soul, purity of heart and desire, purity of thought and affection. Through thy patience under multiplied sufferings, obtain for me a submissive acceptance of all the afflictions it may please God to send me and as thou didst miraculously escape unhurt from the waters of the Tiber, into which thou wert cast by order of thy persecutor, so may I pass through the waters of tribulation without detriment to my soul. In addition to these favors, obtain for me, O faithful spouse of Jesus, the particular intention I earnestly recommend to thee at this moment. O pure Virgin and holy Martyr, deign to cast a look of pity from Heaven on thy devoted servant, comfort me in affliction, assist me in danger, above all come to my aid in the hour of death. Watch over the interests of the Church of God, pray for its exaltation and prosperity, the extension of the faith, for the Sovereign Pontiff, for the clergy, for the perseverance of the just, the conversion of sinners, and the relief of the souls in purgatory, especially those dear to me. O great Saint, whose triumph we celebrate on earth, intercede for me, that I may one day behold the crown of glory bestowed on thee in Heaven, and eternally bless Him who so liberally rewards for all eternity the sufferings endured for His love during this short life.Amen.