St. Philomena Patroness and Protector of the Living Rosary
Virgin, Martyr and Wonder Worker
The very name of Philomena contains the words: filia luminis,
daughter of light. She is the enlightener of a dark and corrupt
age confounding the sneers of materialism. She is the Patroness
of the Children of Mary. Her mission today is to draw us to the
Immaculate Heart of Mary through imitation of her heroic virtues
of purity, obedience and humility. Saint Philomena is an anchor
of HOPE in this dark age of despair.
Credited with countless miracles and intercessions since discovery
of her tomb in the most ancient catacombs of St. Priscilla in Rome
in 1802, St. Philomena is prayed to by people of diverse ages,
culture and social standing around the world. The young virgin
who was martyred at age 13, willingly traded her earthly life for heavenly salvation and continues her work today promoting the virtues of purity and sanctity among the world’s youth and bringing the faithful closer to our Blessed Mother and Jesus Christ. It would seem she was held in quiet reserve by God for nearly seventeen centuries and summoned at a time when so much uncertainty and absence of faith abound.
It is said that Saint Philomena revealed Her story to three people who did not know one another and who resided in different parts of the world. These private revelations unveiled the story of Saint Philomena’s life in great detail and were amazingly identical accounts.
On December 21, 1833, the Holy Office declared that there was nothing contrary to the Catholic faith in the revelations that Sister Maria Luisa di Gesù (1799–1875), a Dominican tertiary from Naples, claimed to have received from the Saint herself. This is an abbreviated version of the St. Philomena’s story. For the full story, you may go to:
Saint Philomena was a young consecrated virgin whose remains were discovered on May 24/25 in 1802 in the Catacomb of Priscilla. Three tiles enclosing the tomb bore an inscription, Pax Tecum Filumena (i.e. "Peace be unto you, Philomena"), that was taken to indicate that her name (in the Latin of the inscription) was Filumena, the English form of which is Philomena. Philomena is the patron saint of infants, babies, and youth.
The remains were removed to Mugnano del Cardinale in 1805. There, they became the focus of widespread devotion; several miracles were credited to the saint's intercession, including the healing of Venerable Pauline Jaricot in 1835, which received wide publicity. In 1833, a Neapolitan nun reported that Philomena had appeared in a vision to her, and the Saint had revealed that she was a Greek princess, martyred at 13 years of age by Diocletian, who was Roman Emperor from 284 to 305.
According to Sister Maria Luisa di Gesù, Saint Philomena told her she was the daughter of a king in Greece who, with his wife, had converted to Christianity. 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. The Emperor "fell in love" with the young St. Philomena and, when she refused to be his wife, 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 Jesus. The two anchors, three arrows, the palm and the ivy leaf on the tiles found in the tomb were interpreted as symbols of her martyrdom.
In the Neapolitan nun's account, Saint Philomena also revealed that her birthday was January 10, that her martyrdom occurred on August 10 (the date also of the arrival of her relics in Mugnano del Cardinale), and that her name "Filumena" meant "daughter of light". (It is usually taken to be derived from a Greek word meaning "beloved".) Publication of this account gave rise to critical study both of the account itself and of the archaeological finds, leading to uncertainty that the tomb was in fact that of a martyr.
To read the full story and for excerpts from Fr. Di Lucia’s Relazione Istorici di Santa Filomena and subsequent annals from locutions received by Sr. Luisa di Gesu in August of 1833, visit the website: http://www.philomena.org/patroness.asp.