- During excavations on the ancient Catacomb of St.
Priscilla in Rome on May 25, 1802, they came across a well preserved tomb which had
inscribed the words LUMENA /PAXTE/CUMFI on three different tiles. Reorganizing these words
a new phrase takes meaning saying clearly PAX TECUM, FILUMENA
(Peace be with you Philomena), also inscribed on the tiles were symbols: a lily, arrows,
an anchor and a lance, which would appear to indicate virginity and martyrdom.
The tomb contained the remains of a young girl aged between
twelve and thirteen, next to a vial of her dried blood, she died approximately 17centuries earlier, the contents were sent
to the treasury of rare collections of Christian Antiquity at the
In 1805 a Neapolitan priest, Don Francesco di Lucia, requested the relics of the martyr
and after receiving them officially, was granted permission to enshrine them in his
village church at Mugnano. (Italy, near Naples)
Favors began to occur through the intercession of the martyred virgin, whose story was
revealed to three different persons, a nun, a priest and an artisan. The three identical
stories relate to her martyrdom, for protecting her virginity.
- In 1837, Pope Gregory XVI, who had personally witnessed the miraculous
recovery of Ven. Pauline Jaricot, was responsible for Philomena's canonization and her
place on the Calendar on August 11. He gave St. Philomena the title of
"Patroness of the Living Rosary".
- Pope Leo XIII raised the Confraternity of St. Philomena to the rank
of archconfraternity and approved the wearing of her Cord, attaching to it indulgences and
- Pius IX also showed her a special devotion and made her "Patroness of the
Children of Mary" in 1849.
In 1854, Rome approved a Proper Mass and Office in St. Philomena's honor.
- Many favors and miracles have been granted by the saint to her devotees,
among them the Cure of Ars, St. Peter Julian Eymard, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, St. Peter
- St Philomena's story, however, is a very tragic one, not only because of
her martyrdom for preserving our holiest Christian values, but because of what has been
done to her in the light of all revelation and of her proven sanctity. Despite the
reputable testimony of Popes and Saints, despite hundreds of proven miracles through the
intercession of St Philomena, the enemy has crept into our Catholic Church leading it by
rationalism, permitting accusations of Church authorities to cloud the image of this most
beloved saint. One of them claimed that the ampule of blood was found outside the tomb,
another that Philomena was "in pretense a Saint, but in reality she is neither a
saint, nor a Virgin, nor a Martyr, nor a Philomena" .....
On March 29, 1961 the Sacred Congregation of Rites issued the following
liturgical directive, which was recorded in the Acts of the Apostolic See: "But
the Feast of St. Philomena, Virgin and Martyr (August 11th), should be removed from every
Although this directive from the Church never denied Philomena's sainthood
nor prohibited private devotions to her, it was a sad day for Christ's Church, founded on
his blood and strengthened by the blood of the martyrs.
Let us keep in our hearts the praises of the popes and saints who testify on her behalf.
In the words of St John Vianney, the Curé of Ars: "Her virginity and generosity in
embracing heroic martyrdom has rendered her so agreeable to God that He will never refuse
anything that she asks for us."
In the words of Fr. Paul O'Sullivan : "What then must be thought of a devotion that
Pope after Pope has not only sanctified by His supreme authority, but recommended by His
own personal example and love?"
- St Philomena certainly has many enemies, the most notorious of course is
the devil, during an exorcism, some demons confessed that, "Our accursed enemy is
this great Virgin and Martyr, St. Philomena. Devotion to her is a new and terrible warfare
St Philomena may rightly echo the words of our Lord (John 10:32), "I have shown you
many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?"
- Peace be with you Saint Philomena.
Work of God Apostolate