In 1802, archaeologists discovered a tomb in the catacombs of Santa Priscilla in Rome. Inside the tomb were the remains of a girl and a vial of dried blood. Affixed to the tomb were three terracotta slabs with Latin inscriptions, which assembled said PAX TECUM FILUMENA, 'Peace be with you, Philomena'. There were also symbols such as a lily, arrows, an anchor and a palm, identifying her as a Roman virgin martyr from the early days of Christianity, in the wake of the saints Agatha, Lucy, Agnes and Cecilia. The bones were studied by archaeologists without much fanfare. Nothing was known except her name and the fact that she was a virgin martyr who died in the 4th century. Three years later, a priest from Mugnano, Francesco De Lucia, was in Rome when he heard about the discovery. He was impressed by Filomena, and his request to have her relics transferred to the church of Our Lady of Graces in Mugnano
was approved. At the same time, three different mystics in various parts of the world began receiving details of St. Philomena's life through private revelations. The most significant was a vision received by Sister Maria Luisa of Jesus in 1833, in which it was revealed that the Emperor Diocletian wanted to marry 13-year-old Philomena. When she refused, she was subjected to torture, although she never repented. In 1827, Pope Leo XII donated the three terracotta slabs of the original tomb in the Roman catacomb to the church of Mugnano del Cardinale, which had by then become a shrine. Because of the numerous miracles that had taken place at her tomb, Pope Gregory XVI declared Philomena a saint. Canonisation in that way - basically based on miraculous intercession - was extraordinary. Over the decades, kings and queens, saints and blessed, poor and rich alike have travelled to Mugnano to seek the intercession of St Philomena: Leo XII, Gregory XVI, Pius IX who celebrated Mass at her altar on 7 November 1849, Leo XIII, Pius X, the Servant of God Pauline Jaricot, the Servant of God Maria Christine of Savoy, Blessed Bartolo Longo and Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, the Curé d'Ars, John Mary Vianney who encouraged his parishioners to seek her intercession.
So many graces have been asked of her and so many have been granted. Let us recite the novena and surely her powerful intercession will satisfy us.
This is the entire revelation made by Saint Philomena to Sister Marie Louise of Jesus on 3 August 1833.
On Aug. 3, 1833, Sister Maria Luisa di Gesù, a
34-year-old religious from a Naples retreat, was looking in her room at a
statuette of St. Philomena, saying to herself, "On the 10th day of this
month the arrival of the body of this Saint is celebrated in Mugnano."
The Saint deigned to speak to her and said,
"God disposed that my deposit should be brought to Mugnano on the 10th, so
that celebrating my arrival, the day of my martyrdom should still be celebrated,
because on the dì August 10, one hour after noon, Diocletian had my head cut
The Religious told this to her Confessor, who
commended the affair to God, and then said to her, "well tell St.
Philomena that she should tell you in full her life."
The Religious replied, "I will do obedience,
but if the Saint does not want to answer me, I have nothing to do with
In the evening the Religious knelt before the
statuette, and after the recitation of three Creeds and three Glorias, she
heard the Saint utter the following: "I am the daughter of a King of
Greece. My parents were barren. There happened among us a Roman physician named
Publius. My parents sent for him to know from what cause their sterility came.
This physician was a Christian. Sire, replied my
Father, If you want to have children, you must receive Holy Baptism and embrace
the Catholic Religion. My relatives immediately agreed; they were instructed,
received Holy Baptism with their confidants. A year later I was born, and they
placed the name of Philomena on me. At this fact many families in the kingdom
became Catholic. I grew up with Christian education; and aged 5 I took my First
Communion, aged 11 I made a vow of virginity to God. Arriving at the age of 13,
Diocletian the Emperor intimated war on my father, who was forced to take
himself to Rome to negotiate peace and avoid war, and he also wanted my mother
and me with him.
When we arrived in Rome we found Diocletian in
the palace of the Baths. As soon as he saw me he promised my father peace and
his protection, on the condition that he should give him me in marriage. My
father consented, and withdrawing from him he passed word to me, but I
answered, I cannot, for I have consecrated my virginity to Jesus Christ.
Unceasing prayers my father and mother made to
me, saying, Have mercy on your father and mother and country, and I answered,
My father is God, my country is Heaven.
My father took to him and said, Philomena does
not want to marry.
The Emperor said to him, "Bring the young
girl here, I will have the Roman ladies persuade her." My father saw
himself forced and led me. The emperor received me with all amiability, and
then he handed me over to the Roman ladies, and my father together with my
mother had to retire.
Those ladies laid every study to persuade me to
accept the marriage with Diocletian, but seeing my steadfastness they accounted
for it to the Emperor, who wanted me in his presence, and seeing himself
disappointed in his hopes because I was inflexible to all promises, he said to
me, "You do not want me lover, you will experience me tyrant."
I replied, I do not care for you lover, nor do I
fear you tyrant. The enraged Emperor ordered that I be locked in prison, and
every 24th he made me bring bread and water.
After 37 days the Blessed Virgin appeared to me,
and said, "Dear daughter you will remain until 40 days in this prison, and
then you will be exposed to various martyrdoms; but the Archangel Gabriel and
your Guardian Angel will assist you, and you will come out victorious." When
the 40 days were completed I was exposed naked to scourging, whence coming out
all sores and half dead they threw me into prison. But God soon healed me, and
on the morrow they found me quite healthy.
The Emperor hearing all that had happened, made
me ask again if I wanted him for a husband, but hearing the refusal renewed, he
mounted in greater indignation, and ordered me to be sawn.
Again I was led into the prison all wounded and
full of blood. In the morning those who thought me already dead found me
healthy and ruddy, singing psalms in praise of God, for the night my body was
anointed with odoriferous ointment by an Angel, so that I remained perfectly
healed. Then it was ordained that I should again be thunderbolted with red-hot
thunderbolts, but bound as soon as I was raptured into ecstasy, and the
thunderbolts instead of injuring my body, returning killed six thunderbolts.
At this prodigy by order of the Emperor an anchor
was taken, and they tied it around my neck and threw me into the Tiber; but the
Angels broke the ropes of the anchor, and made me pass through on dry feet. The
people seeing this other prodigy, began to cry out to their executioners,
"She is free, she is free," but those for fear of popular revolution
cut off my head. This took place on the day August 10 on Friday an hour after