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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 April 19, 2021

He asked to die like a thief and steal Paradise....

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April 19

 

A dying man asked a dying man for eternal life. 
A man without possessions asked a poor man for a Kingdom. 
A thief at the door of death asked to die like a thief and steal Paradise. 
 
One would have thought a saint would have been the first soul 
purchased over the counter of Calvary by the red coins of Redemption. 
 

But in the Divine plan it was a thief 
who was the escort of the King of kings 
into Paradise.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

 
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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Alphege of Canterbury

Alphege hastened to the defense of his people, and pressing...

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St. Alphege of Canterbury

As a youth, Alphege became a monk in the monastery of Deerhurst in Gloucestershire, England, afterwards an anchorite and later an abbot in a monastery in Bath. At thirty, at the insistence of St. Dunstan and to his great consternation, he was elected Bishop of Winchester. As bishop, he maintained the same austerity of life as when a monk. During his episcopate he was so generous toward the poor that there were no beggars left in the diocese of Winchester.

Alphege served twenty-two years as bishop of this see and was then translated to the see of Canterbury at the death of Archbishop Aelfric.

During this period, England suffered from the ravages of the Danes who joined forces with the rebel Earl Edric, marched on Kent and laid siege to Canterbury. When the city was betrayed, there was a terrible massacre, men and women, old and young, dying by the sword.

The Archbishop hastened to the defense of his people, and pressing through the crowd begged the Danes to cease the carnage. He was immediately seized, roughly handled, and imprisoned.

A mysterious and deadly plague broke out among the Danes, and, despite the fact that the holy prelate had healed many of their own with his prayers and by giving them blessed bread, the Danes demanded an exorbitant ransom for his release. As the Archbishop protested that the country was too poor to pay such a price, he was brutally assassinated.

St. Alphege was the first Archbishop of Canterbury to die a violent death. In 1023, the martyr's body was translated with great ceremony to Canterbury accompanied by the Danish King Canute. Although he did not die directly in defense of the Faith, St. Alphege is considered a martyr of justice.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a...

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The Robber Who Stole Heaven

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a notorious robber who made his living by bringing misfortune on others. His occupation being what it was, he would only increase his property by decreasing that of his victims.

One day, he was admonished by a local religious to change his course of life and thereby insure his eternal salvation. The only answer the robber gave was that for him there was no remedy.

"Do not say so," said the religious, "do what I tell you. Fast on each Saturday in honor of the Virgin Mary, and on that day of the week do no harm to anyone. She will obtain for you the grace of not dying in God’s displeasure.”

The robber thought to himself, “This is a small price to pay to insure my salvation; I will do as this holy man has prescribed.” He then obediently followed the religious’ advice, and made a vow to continue to do so. That he might not break it, from that time on he traveled unarmed on Saturdays.

Many years later, our robber was apprehended on a given Saturday by the officers of justice, and that he might not break his oath, he allowed himself to be taken without resistance. The judge, seeing that he was now a gray-haired old man, wished to pardon him.

Then the truly miraculous occurred. Rather than jump for joy thanking the judge for his leniency, the old robber, said that he wished to die in punishment of his sins. He then made a public confession of all the sins of his life in that same judgment hall, weeping so bitterly that all present wept with him.

He was beheaded, a death reserved for the nobility, rather than hanged. Then his body was buried with little ceremony, in a grave dug nearby.
Very soon afterwards, the mother of God came down from Heaven with four holy virgins by her side. They took the robber’s dead body from that place, wrapped it in a rich cloth embroidered with gold, and bore it themselves to the gate of the city.

There the Blessed Virgin said to the guards: "Tell the bishop from me, to give an honorable burial, in such a church to this dead person, for he was my faithful servant." And thus it was done.

All the people in the village thronged to the spot where they found the corpse with the rich pall, and the bier on which it was placed. And from that moment on, says Caesarius of Heisterbach, all persons in that region began to fast on Saturdays in honor of she who was so kind to even a notorious robber.

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

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a notorious robber who made his living by bringing misfortune on others. 

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