St. Philomena is the Patron Saint of the Children of Mary.
St. Philomena is a remarkable saint. She was raised to the status of sainthood solely based upon the number of miracles attributed to her intercession! She is the only saint who has been canonized solely because of miracles. Indeed, little is known about her actual life. Her tomb was discovered on May 24, 1802. This, itself, was a surprising find, as excavators had believed that all relics had been previously removed from that particular cemetery back in the 16th century. The excavators knew that their find was sure to make headlines. Little did they know, their discovery was about to make history.
Contained within the tomb were three marble slabs that joined to form the inscription: Lumena Paxte Cum Fi. Correctly arranged, the inscription reads: Pax Tecum Filomena (Peace to you Philomena). Contained within her tomb was a vial of blood (indicating martyrdom). In addition, on the slabs were inscribed an anchor, arrows, and a palm. Physicians who studied the remains discerned that she had been martyred at the age of 12 or 13 years.
From the moment of her discovery, miracles began happening. Indeed, according to Sr. Marie Helene Mohr's book St. Philomena - Powerful With God, while experts were examining the traces of blood that adhered to the vile found within the tomb, they were startled by a strange chemical reaction. "As the small particles were carefully detached and transferred to a clean new vase of clear visibility, glorious shining gems appeared. The Court of Inquiry was awed. Onlookers gazed reverently and wonderingly at the holy phenomenon" (8).
From that moment on, the miracles continued. The miraculous change of dried blood into gems, changes to the saint's remains, people cured from illness, and the list goes on and on and on. It was Pope Gregory XVI who began hearing of the numerous (indeed almost innumerable) miracles taking place. On January 30, 1837, after thorough prayer and investigation, Pope Gregory XVI elevated her to sainthood based solely upon these miracles. Interestingly, her popularity grew rapidly, and devotion to this little saint was common among popes and even a soon to be saint himself, the Cure of Ars (St. John Vianney).
The little we know about her life comes to us from private revelation. Sr. Mohr's book and Dr. Mark Miravalle's presentation from Catholic Lighthouse Media titled "St. Philomena A Saint for our Times" are excellent resources to learn more about these private revelations and the life of this remarkable saint. In addition, to obtain oil, the cord, a medal, or information on a novena or chaplet for St. Philomena, contact the Sanctuary of St. Philomena in Mugnano, Italy. The address is:
Santuario Santa Filomena
Rettore Sac. Giovanni Braschi
83027 Mugnano del Cardinale (Avellino)
St. Philomena's feast day was originally set for September 9. It was later changed to August 11. Today, it no longer appears on many liturgical calendars.