One of the most mysterious saints of the Church, St. Philomena is also one of the most powerful intercessors in the entire heavenly court. What makes this fact all the more exciting is that for over fifteen hundred years, no one knew who Philomena was!
In 1802, a tomb was discovered in Rome that belonged to a certain "Filumena". Nothing was known of her, except that she was apparently an ancient martyr of about 13 years of age, but soon miracles abounded as devotion to her spread: miraculous cures, graces, and favors given first to a priest from the town of Mugnano and the townspeople. Then Pauline Jaricot, a French pilgrim, received an astounding cure, and reported this to her spiritual director, St. John Vianney. It was the Curé of Ars who did the most to spread devotion to the little virgin martyr, attributing all of his miraculous cures and works to her intercession. Blessed Pope Pius IX, Pope Leo XIII, and St. Pius X all had intense devotion to her and spread her cult.
We know nothing of her real life, but several visionaries unknown to each other have received the same general story: She was a daughter of a Greek king under threat by the emperor Diocletian. Having become Christians, the king brought his family to Rome to plead for peace, which the emperor consented to if Philomena would marry him. She refused, and then suffered a series of tortures, including scourging, drowning, and arrows, but she survived them all. At last she was beheaded and so obtained the palm of martyrdom. So go the visions; whatever the case, we can trust that there is a heavenly Philomena who has granted authentic and documented miracles, endorsed by great saints and popes.
In this short book, find the extraordinary story of Philomena, a saint for our times, even as devotion to her has waned and been forgotten. St. Philomena, pray for us!
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