Saint Philomena

Have full confidence in this great Saint, for she will obtain all that you ask.” Saint Jean Vianney

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The Kindle book entitled Saint Philomena: Personal Testimony of Saint Philomena's Intercession in Healing My Bipolar, PTSD, Depression, Anxiety from Abuse can be purchased here for $1 and read on your computer with the free Kindle Reader if you don't own a tablet or Kindle

The Life and Miracles of Saint Philomena, Virgin and Martyr
, is available online for free here. You can also read about Philomena's story at That link also includes a list of Saints who had a devotion to Philomena, including the holy Saint Jean Vianney, also known as the Cure of Ars, France, who is the patron of all priests everywhere. You cannot read a biography of the Cure without learning of his intense devotion to this Saint and how it helped his own piety and the piety of his parishoners.

We have so much confidence in her intercession, which is the reason why when you leave a prayer request with us, we write it on a slip of paper and leave it at the foot of our Saint Philomena statue. We have seen this Saint work so many miracles in our lives in this way. Leave a prayer request with us

We have extracted the various miraculous stories from the book “Saint Philomena the Wonder-Worker” by Father Paul O'Sullivan, and put them on this webpage that you're on right now (just scroll down) for easier access.

Saint Philomena is an extremely important saint because of the great number of miracles that take place for those who pray to her, for any problem, big or small; and because she is patroness of so many things that effect everyone:

  • financial difficulties,
  • impossible causes,
  • forgotten causes,
  • lost causes,
  • desperate causes,
  • for joy,
  • for happiness,
  • youth,
  • children,
  • for a happy childhood or for those who did not have a happy childhood,
  • babies,
  • safe child delivery,
  • pregnancy,
  • the innocent,
  • court trials,
  • personal trials to endure,
  • mental illness/the mentally ill,
  • against mental illness,
  • the sick,
  • bodily pains,
  • any pain or disease of any type in any organ or body part,
  • for happiness in life,
  • for joy in life,
  • for joy despite trials in life,
  • for peace despite trials in life,
  • for hope,
  • Children of Mary,
  • Living Rosary,
  • newborns,
  • infants,
  • against barrenness,
  • against sickness,
  • the poor,
  • priests,
  • prisoners,
  • students,
  • teachers,
  • for happy accomplishments,
  • against curses of envy,
  • against curses of hatred,
  • against curses of anger,
  • for creativity,
  • for learning new skills or new information,
  • for creating high quality work, any type of work, any field of work,
  • for knowledge of one's vocation in life, purpose in life, what work will make us happy to do,
  • what life path God wants us on that will make us happy, what life path to avoid,
  • time management, having time to pray as well as time to do everything else without anxiety,
  • organization,
  • of encouragement,
  • for programmers,
  • for creatives (artists, writers, painters, sculptors, photographers, designers, etc.),
  • for engineers,
  • anything cerebral,
  • anything mathematical,
  • anything digital,
  • anything spiritual,
  • anything mechanical,
  • anything organic,
  • anything aesthetic,
  • animal care,
  • plant care,
  • child care,
  • spiritual direction, for spiritual directors, to help priests know how to spiritually direct parishioners, for parents to understand how to spiritually direct their children,
  • for businesses,
  • for employees,
  • for employers,
  • test takers,
  • victims of abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, spiritual abuse, familial abuse, abusive relationships, abusive friendships, being discarded or treated in an inhumane way,
  • recovery from abuse,
  • releasing/forgetting bad memories when they are no longer relevant and are trapping us in pain,
  • relief from pain, physical pain, psychological pain, spiritual pain, emotional pain, relationship or environmental pain, vice/sin,
  • health and healing,
  • healing of any type of disease, physical or spiritual disease; for trusting in God during trial/hardships/suffering,
  • spiritual protection, physical protection, psychological and emotional protection, and trusting in God during trials/hardships,
  • PTSD sufferers, victims of violence, victims of rape, victims of attempted rape,
  • those in charge of caring for PTSD sufferers,
  • those in charge of taking care of those with any mental/emotional/spiritual disorders,
  • broken families,
  • forgiveness within families,
  • uniting families,
  • happiness within families,
  • friendship within famlies,
  • friendship,
  • those who are or feel alone,
  • conversions,
  • forgiving children,
  • forgiving parents,
  • forgiving spouse,
  • appreciation of family members,
  • appreciation within families,
  • grace of appreciation of God (a grace that leads to happiness and wards off depression and anxiety and rage; we have to appreciate how God works in our lives; without the grace to appreciate Him and His blessings, God removes His blessings),
  • against wars (both internal, personal, and day-to-day life, including within the office, within families, among friends, etc.),
  • newly weds,
  • married couples,
  • marrying the right person/avoiding marrying the wrong person,
  • for bringing the right people together in relationships and for avoiding the wrong people in relationships of any kind,
  • avoiding evil company that will end up betraying/wounding us or corrupting us,
  • exorcisms, deliverance, spiritual warfare,
  • avoiding bad people who try to appear to be good,
  • of people lied to,
  • against unwarranted mistrust,
  • leading us to people who are sincerely holy, whom we can trust, and the grace to continue to trust in God during hardships, trials, sufferings, with those who aren't sincerely holy or trustworthy,
  • of confidence in God,
  • of fearlessness,
  • of all fears,
  • of sufferers of anxiety,
  • of sufferers of depression,
  • against dehydration,
  • against starvation,
  • nutrition,
  • health,
  • of good decisions,
  • of wisdom,
  • of those wounded by sins against them,
  • of those afraid because of sins against them,
  • of not giving into those who sin against us,
  • against smugness,
  • against arrogance,
  • against cruelty,
  • against false love,
  • against fantasy bonds,
  • healing high maintenance people when they turn their problems over to Philomena themselves,
  • healing Pharisee behavior when they turn to Philomena themselves/for sincere love of God/for healing superiority complex,
  • against narcissists, against narcissism, to avoid narcissists or developing narcissism,
  • against controlling behavior, against controlling others, against attempting to control others or things beyond our control, against delusions of control,
  • against delusions,
  • for healing/exorcising narcissism (in those suffering from it who themselves turn their narcissism over to her),
  • against psychopaths, to avoid developing psychopathy, to avoid psychopaths, against psychopathy,
  • for healing/exorcising psychopathy (in those suffering from it who themselves turn their psychopathy over to her),
  • against emotional numbness from abuse,
  • Christian victims of persecution, social persecution, persecution by government, persecution by family, persecution by friends, persecution by anti-Christians, physical persecution, verbal persecution, legal persecution, psychological persecution,
  • victims of betrayal,
  • victims of being discarded,
  • victims of adultery,
  • against insincerity,
  • against histrionics,
  • against jealousy,
  • those suffering under the burden of the sin of jealousy/envy,
  • pagans,
  • for those suffering under the burden of sin,
  • for those suffering under personality disorder,
  • against obsessions,
  • against addictions,
  • for sincerity (without which there can be no love),
  • victims of dominance,
  • victims of sexual abuse (physical, psychological, spiritual),
  • victims of lust,
  • those suffering with sexual addiction (to liberate them, help them overcome addiction and bad decisions that result from addiction),
  • victims of any kind of abuse (big or small abuse, spiritual abuse, psychological torture),
  • victims of shame curses,
  • victims of the occult,
  • of those who are tempted to use the occult (including astrology, numerology, tarot, fortune tellers/witchdoctors, New Age, yoga, ouija, sex magick, wicca, contacting spirits, seances, communicating with unknown spirits/ghosts, curses, “spells,” etc.) or blaspheme (taking God's Name in vain, using His Name as a curse/swear, etc.), which opens immediate doors to demonic activity and destruction in our lives, but turn to Philomena instead to experience the supernatural,
  • sufferers of those under the sin of playing with the occult,
  • to close dangerous spiritual doors that occultists opened,
  • for miracles,
  • against nihilism,
  • against mercilessness,
  • against materialism (belief in only the material world),
  • against atheism,
  • for those suffering under the burden of sins of impurity,
  • against bad memories,
  • against irrational or violent emotions,
  • for those suffering under the burden of rage,
  • against rage,
  • for victims of rage,
  • against peacelessness,
  • for a good night's rest,
  • against nightmares,
  • for good dreams, for holy and meaningful dreams,
  • against misleading dreams, against spiritual attacks during dreams,
  • for quality sleep (which prevents depression, anxiety, disorders),
  • of those who are victimized by those around them or materialistic society and only view themselves as objects or as discardable or worthless (to rehabilitate them so they see themselves as beloved children of God),
  • of those suffering with self-loathing (to liberate, rehabilitate them),
  • of those suffering with hatred of anyone (to liberate them),
  • against self-pity (which traps us in torments of the past),
  • against dehumanization,
  • for those who dehumanize others (to liberate them of this sin),
  • for those with control problems (controlling other people, or people who suffer with dependency disorders),
  • for leading us to God's Mercy,
  • for leading us to understand God better and in a personal way,
  • for strength,
  • for patience,
  • for love of God,
  • for the graces of humility, purity and sincerity which bring us to God and grant us His joy and peace,
  • against worldliness (which causes so much anxiety and sorrow and hate and division),
  • for the grace to adhere to God's will which will bring us joy and peace,
  • for the grace to remain faithful to God's Will even when it isn't logical by human standards,
  • following God's Will even in fear of suffering,
  • following God's Will even when those we love most persuade us to do otherwise,
  • for a happy death
  • for growing closer to God during life,
  • for the great grace of trust in God,
  • for the great grace of love of God
A book about Philomena,

  1. Stories of how Philomena has interceded and helped:

Bold Radish Prayer Videos to Saint Philomena

Bold Radish has 4 Saint Philomena prayer videos. As always, if you don’t like the voice, mute the video. The prayer videos are:

Short Novena Prayer to Saint Philomena:

The Chaplet of Saint Philomena:

Prayer for the Intercession of Saint Philomena:

How to Honor Saint Philomena and so Obtain Her Help

Her Cord
From the very beginning of the devotion to St. Philomena, the use of her cord was one of the many ways by which the Saint was honored and her protection secured. We know for instance that the holy Curé of Ars blessed and distributed them himself. The Confraternity of the Cord of St. Philomena is now approved of by the Congregation of Rites and is enriched with many indulgences.

The cord is white and red and may be made of either linen, wool or cotton threads so interwoven as to give an almost equal preponderance to the two colors, the one representing virginity, the other martyrdom.

The use of the cord has become very popular, for it has been the means of working innumerable miracles and obtaining thousands of cures. It is used by the sick, by those in tribulations, by those who are fighting against temptations -- and always with the most amazing results. It is a protection against evils and accidents of every kind. The formula of blessing the cord is that found in the Roman Ritual. Attestations like the following are innumerable.

The Superioress of a well-known convent affirms: "St. Philomena is just a wonder. For the past four years I have given her cord to a great number of sick, including some members of our own community. All were cured, excepting two or possible three, and in these few cases it indeed seemed clear that the best thing for them was to go to our good God."

The Mother Superior of the Reparation Convent in C. . . : "For years back I have had recourse to St. Philomena in all my needs. I was myself threatened with a most serious operation, but I put on the cord, and thank God, there was no further need of an operation. Now I go to her for everything."

A young lady declares: "My confidence in St. Philomena is intense. I never fail to recommend her devotion. I was grievously ill and put on her cord, which restored me to health."

A priest declares: "I was very ill and had great reason to fear the gravest consequences. I put on the cord of St. Philomena and promised to promote devotion to her. It was enough; I was able to get up the same day."

From a nun: "One of our children fell dangerously ill and was threatened with the gravest complications. We put on the cord of St. Philomena on the little sufferer, who experienced immediate relief, and in a few hours all danger had passed."

Children who have been girded with the blessed cord of the Virgin Martyr have, in those countless mishaps and accidents which are so frequent in the case of the young, been most marvelously preserved from harm. Mothers would do well to see that their little ones wear this blessed cord. What dangers would they not escape!

These are a few of the thousands of cases that we could quote, but they are sufficient to show the extraordinary efficacy of the devotion.

Cords, oil, and devotional items available through the Mugnano Shrine website.

The Oil of Saint Philomena
The oil that has been used in the lamps burning before the statue of St. Philomena is very frequently used by the sick, as we have seen in the case of St. Gervais, Paris. Some anoint their eyes and have their sight restored; some their limbs, which are strengthened; some their ears, which recover their hearing. The oil taken from any lamp burned before St. Philomena statue may be used. Relic oil from her shrine in Mugnano available from

Chaplet of Saint Philomena
The little Chaplet of St. Philomena consists of white beads, a token of virginity, red beads, the sign of martyrdom, and a St. Philomena medal. There are three white beads in honor of the Blessed Trinity, in whose honor the holy virgin laid down her life. The red beads are thirteen in number and signify the thirteen years that St. Philomena lived on earth. This little Chaplet is one of the simplest ways of praying to the Saint. [see the Appendix for prayers.] When saying it, we may very properly ask, firstly, for the grace of purity, in honor of the virginity of the Saint, who sacrificed life and honor in defense of this angelic virtue. Secondly, we should do well to ask for the strength and courage ever to do our duty, a virtue for which she was so eminently distinguished and which she is so ready to obtain for all her devoted clients.

This great grace alone helps a Christian to arrive at the highest sanctity, in the most practical and easy way.

A novena to St. Philomena may be made by saying the beautiful Litany of St. Philomena, or some other prayer to the Saint, for nine days in succession. When the intention is very important, it is well to assist at Mass and receive Communion during nine days.

Marvelous results, too, are obtained by having a novena of Masses said in her Sanctuary at Mugnano.

Many clients of the Saint place great confidence in the use of her blessed medals. These are easily obtained and are very pretty. Like every other object used in connection with the Saint, they are of the greatest efficacy. They have the special advantage of being easily used and may be carried in one's pocket or attached to one's beads.

Pictures of Saint Philomena
Great graces have been obtained by venerating the Saint's pictures. These have been placed in the living room or in bedrooms. Many favors have been granted to those who keep a lamp burning before the picture, even though this be lighted only one day in the week. It is well to place these pictures near the sick and suggest to them the extraordinary advantages of praying with confidence to this great Saint, whose power has been very specially manifested in favor of the sick and infirm. Countless cures are being daily granted in answer to the simple but confident prayers of her devout clients.

We can suggest nothing more calculated to please the Saint and secure her powerful protection than the offering of a picture or statue to some church or convent where a center of devotion to her may be thus established. Many of her great sanctuaries have had this simple beginning.

Spreading Devotion to Saint Philomena
Another very efficacious method of winning the love and friendship of the "Dear Little Saint" is by spreading her devotion and making her wonder-working power known far and wide.

The easiest way of attaining this end is by distributing the Life or History of the Saint to as large a number of people (particularly Catholics) as possible. It is almost impossible to peruse the simple narrative of all the wonders she works and the favors she obtains without feeling a powerful attraction and a warm affection for the dear Thaumaturga. Those who spread her devotion may rest assured of her powerful protection.

To spread devotion, you can link back here

Discovery of Relics of Saint Philomena
It was on May 24, 1802 that the excavators came on a loculus that had never been violated. Everything pointed to the fact that the chamber was exactly as it had been when the precious remains were enclosed there long centuries before. The discovery was looked upon from the first as something remarkable, and the opening of the sarcophagus was marked for the very next day, May 25.

On arriving at the spot, the learned custodian noted that the vault was walled up with three terra cotta slabs on which were depicted in red the symbols of martyrdom. They bore the following inscription:


It would seem that the slabs had been misplaced, as happened so often in the necessary haste of burial. The first slab should have been placed in the third place and when this is done the description becomes at once clear:



This "loculus" [tomb] is considered an excellent specimen of its kind and is rendered exceedingly valuable by the inscription on it of the very name of the Martyr whose remains were therein enclosed, a fact of rare occurrence.

In addition to this inscription, there were various emblems painted on the slabs.

First, there was an anchor which, from its resemblance to the Cross, was looked on as an emblem of hope. It is also at times a sign of martyrdom, as anchors were fastened to the neck of some of the confessors when they were thrown into the sea. Some think that St. Philomena was cast into the river Tiber.

Second, there were two arrows, one pointing upwards and the other downwards. These, too, might betoken the kind of death which the martyrs suffered, as some were shot to death with arrows.

Third, there was a lance, which might have had a similar significance.

Fourth, there was a palm -- the emblem of the martyr's triumph.

Fifthly, and lastly, there was a lily, an emblem of purity.

Upon the opening of the tomb, the relics of a Virgin Martyr were found, with a glass vase containing portion of her blood in a dried form.

The dried blood found in vials close to the martyrs' resting places have been subjected at various times to chemical tests and proved to be blood. (3) In the case of the blood of St. Philomena we have a far higher guarantee of its genuineness than any given by such process. The wonders wrought daily in and by this precious relic, and witnessed by countless pilgrims, as well as by keen ecclesiastical experts, furnish us with a supernatural proof of the authenticity of the relic.

The bones, the ashes and the blood of the Saint were carefully placed in a wooden case, which was closed and sealed in three places. This was borne above ground, where it was again opened and minutely examined by experts, among whom were doctors, surgeons and theologians.

The skull was found to have been fractured. The bones were apparently those of a girl, and the doctors surmised that she was twelve or thirteen years of age.

Moving Her Relics to Mugnano and Supernatural Phenomena Surrounding These Events
Little indeed is known historically of our Saint previous to her glorious Martyrdom. Her real history commences when her blessed remains were found in May of 1802 after having rested in the obscurity of the Catacomb of St. Priscilla for upwards of 1,700 years.

After the final examination of the relics, a document was made out and placed in the case containing the remains. This was once more closed and sealed and deposited in the chapel or treasury where the bodies of saints and martyrs were kept, awaiting the Holy Father's orders for bestowal on some church. Three years later, namely, in 1805, the Bishop of Potenza arrived in Rome, accompanied by a humble priest from Mugnano del Cardinale, a village not far from Naples, in the diocese of Nola. During his stay in the Eternal City this good priest, Don Francisco di Lucia, did all in his power to achieve the body of some Virgin Martyr for his church. To this end, he obtained permission to visit the Treasury of Relics, where at first he was perfectly unmoved. As he approached, however, the spot where the relics of St. Philomena were deposited, an indescribable emotion took possession of him, and he felt all at once a burning desire to obtain these precious remains.

Insurmountable difficulties arose. It was against the custom to bestow such treasures on a simple priest. His petition was absolutely and irrevocably refused. An intimate friend of his, seeing his distress, succeeded by personal influence in getting for him the body of another Saint, which he reluctantly accepted, in lieu of what he so earnestly craved for. During the negotiations for the relics, Don Francisco was consumed with fever, lost all appetite, and fell seriously ill. The Bishop of Potenza became seriously alarmed for his life.

One evening, while the good priest was brooding over his disappointment, a sudden inspiration came on him: He promised to take St. Philomena as his special patron and to take her to Mugnano, if only he could get possession of her relics. He was instantaneously cured. Both he and the Bishop were convinced that the cure was a miracle of the Saint. Shortly after, the apparently insuperable difficulties were removed and Don Francisco became the happy possessor of the ashes, the bones, and the blood of St. Philomena.

From this moment forward began an uninterrupted series of miracles and wonders, the like of which have been rarely or perhaps never seen in the history of the Church. The sick were healed, the dying restored to health, sinners were converted, and evil-minded men punished. Prodigies the most extraordinary, graces the most abundant, blessings the most copious were the daily fruits of the Little Saint's intercession.

The Bishop and Don Francisco, deeply grateful for the latter's wonderful cure, promised to take the holy relics in their own carriage and give them the place of honor. The day of departure arrived. The bustle and fuss of preparation drove the promise out of the heads of the travellers. One thing, however, they made perfectly sure of and that was that the relics were safe. They were placed under the seat occupied by the Bishop and securely fastened. Scarcely, however, had His Lordship taken his place in the carriage when he felt sharp blows on his legs. He was forced to get out, and gave orders to the coachman to fasten the box more securely. It was, however, perfectly clear to all present that he case was as secure as it could possibly be. Nothing could displace it. Very much surprised, His Lordship resumed his seat, but the blows became so violent that he was once more forced to relinquish his place and leave the carriage. This gave occasion to new discussions and further examination. All now saw for themselves that the case was so well fastened that not even the violent jolting of the carriage could move it, yet the carriage had not moved a single pace. For the third time the Bishop took his seat -- but in vain. Again he was smitten sharply on the legs and so severely hurt that he beat a hasty retreat, declaring that on no condition would he travel with the box where it was: "Rather," said he, "will I take it in my arms all the way." It was removed and given the place of honor in the front of the carriage, whereupon all trouble ceased, and the journey was begun. Only now did our travellers recollect their promise, and at once recognized, in the unaccountable blows, the wish of the Saint that her rights should be respected. Full of reverence and awe, these holy men took off their hats and, with cheeks bedewed with tears, tenderly and repeatedly kissed the blessed relics.

The rest of the journey to Naples was happily made. Our travelers lodged in the house of a good friend, where the relics were encased in a statue of the Saint specially made for the purpose, and this in turn was placed in a casket of precious wood.

The lady of the house, who was suffering from an incurable disease of long standing, proceeded with the help of others to robe the statue in precious garments. While they were thus engaged, the face of the statue was seen to undergo repeated changes of expression, and the relics exhaled a most delightful perfume. Before leaving the family which had given her so warm a reception, St. Philomena restored to perfect health the good lady of the house, to the great joy of her friends, who had entertained the gravest fears for her life.

From Naples to Mugnano
After a short delay in Naples, our travelers resumed their journey towards Mugnano, where the news of their approach caused the liveliest emotion and the good people gathered in crowds to welcome their celestial Patron.

Various prodigies occurred during the short journey, which was made on foot and during the night. Finding the darkness too intense to proceed, the bearers of the casket called on the blessed Martyr for help. Immediately a small break in the clouds allowed the light of the moon to fall on the road around the little procession, which was thus enabled to proceed with perfect safety.

Later on, as the procession was passing Cimitile, the relics became unaccountably heavy, causing the bearers great difficulty in carrying them. Cimitile in olden days had been the scene of countless martyrdoms and the saint wished, it would seem, to tarry a little near the glorious battlefield bathed by the blood of her fellow martyrs.

The whole neighborhood was at this time suffering from drought, and the cry arose from the multitudes that came flocking from all parts to welcome the Saint: "If she really wishes to show her power, let her get us the rain we so much need." Almost immediately, torrents of rain poured down, to the delight of the peasant-folk, who saw in the fact a manifest answer to their prayer.

Still more striking was another prodigy. The group of travelers bearing the relics arrived in Mugnano as the dawn was breaking over the hills. The roads were now thronged with crowds gathered together from all the neighborhood. It was necessary to pause while the enormous throng was being mustered for the procession. At this moment, a mighty whirlwind arose and came sweeping over the hillside. So appalling was this tempest that the people were terror-stricken. The cry arose on all sides: "God and St. Philomena save us!" One of the priests, addressing the frightened people, bade them fear nothing, for the storm was stirred up by the demons, who recognized in Saint Philomena the same dauntless Virgin who had so confounded them 17 centuries before and who was now coming again to put them to shame and snatch from them their victims. Still the wind shrieked and whistled in the most alarming way, approaching rapidly the spot where the relics were resting. Here it suddenly stopped, as if held at bay by an invisible power, and instead of sweeping past, as one would naturally have supposed, it mounted into the air and disappeared. Again and again it recommenced with relentless fury during the procession, but it was powerless to do the slightest harm to the people. All were amazed at its manifest impotence, for it failed to extinguish a single one of the lights that were borne by the side of the relics. For two whole days, this weird wind howled on the neighboring hills. Satan foresaw the graces that were to be so plentifully showered on this favored neighborhood and vented his rage in a vain display of baffled hate and fury.

A great change soon became visible in Mugnano. Blessings were granted in rich abundance; miracles of all kinds showed the wondrous power of the Saint; the faith of the people grew in intensity; and the Sanctuary soon became known far and wide by reason of the marvelous favors accorded to the pilgrims who flocked to the feet of the Little Saint.

The Life and Martyrdom of Saint Philomena
Trigger warning: attempted/planned rape, violent murder, psychopathic behavior directed towards Christians, psychopathic behavior directed towards children.

Saint Philomena was born of noble parents at Nicopolis in Macedonia in 289 A.D. Her father was Governor of the province. He and his wife were pagans, but on the day of their daughter’s baptism they were baptized also.

In baptism, the child received the name of Philomena, the Well-Beloved, or Daughter of Light. When the aged priest poured the saving water on the child’s head, the Spirit of God descended on him, and he prophesied like Zacharias of old concerning the future of the one just regenerated in the water and the Holy Ghost. He could not refrain from adopting the words of Holy Writ, “All generations shall call me blessed,” to Philomena, and, turning to her mother, a cloud of sadness swept over his face when he said, “And your own soul a sword shall pierce.” But she understood not the meaning of these words.

Years passed in happiness and peace for the parents. The child grew in wisdom and virtue, and they marveled at the glorious workings of grace in the little maiden’s soul. She was quite unlike other children: her conversation was in heaven. She showed a supernatural knowledge of the mysteries of faith. The sacred books were to her as a garden from which she culled the choicest flowers. She would often perplex her instructors with her questions concerning heavenly things. But an aged servant of the house, a saintly woman, Macrina, who had gone through the crucible of severe trials for the faith and who was well grounded in it, proved herself a wise teacher and faithful guardian of the child. Macrina was especially solicitous to instill into the girl’s soul a firm faith in and a tender love for our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. This was the fountain from which she herself had drawn the courage and strength to persevere in the practice of the most heroic virtue. And when after years of patient instruction and fervent prayer, she noticed that her pupil was well grounded in the knowledge of and devotion to this Mystery of Love, and had been rewarded in return with a desire of consecrating her virginity to God, the good soul wept for joy. This vow Philomena was permitted to make soon after her first communion. Her heart inflamed with an ardent love of God and with her life, one of innocence and purity, she longed for the palm of martyrdom. To shed her blood for Christ, to die for Him who had died for her, was her sole desire. She was well versed in the legends of the Christian virgins who had gained a martyr’s crown in the persecutions of bygone years, and her soul was charmed especially by the example of Agnes, whose triumph, achieved not very long ago, was still the theme of praise and admiration in Christian circles.

One warm summer’s night, while contemplating the stars and elevating her heart to the bliss beyond them, she was overcome by sleep. In the prophetic dream which was vouchsafed her, she saw a countless number of virgins clad in white robes, with palms in their hands, and heard them sing a hymn which filled her soul with exquisite melody. One of the virgins bent over her, and she recognized dear Saint Agnes, who beckoned her to approach nearer and to follow that radiant company. But she was unable to do so, because between them and her lay the sea, and a furious dragon prevented her from joining the procession.

Next morning, when she told Macrina her dream, the trusty servant smiled, took the roll of Holy Writ from its place and read to her: “After this I saw a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations and tribes, and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne, and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. And they cried with a loud voice, saying: Salvation to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and the angels, and the four living creatures; and they fell down before the throne upon their faces, and adored God, saying: Amen. Benediction, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, honor, and power, and strength to our God for ever and ever, Amen. And one of the ancients answered, and said to me: These that are clothed in white robes, who are they? and where did they come from? And I said to him: My Lord, you know. And he said to me: These are they who come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and they serve him day and night in his temple; and he that sits on the throne shall dwell over them; they shall no more hunger nor thirst, neither shall the sun fall on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall rule them, and shall lead them to the fountains of the waters of life, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (Apocalypse 7:7, 19)

My dear Philomena,” she continued, “in the procession you saw the holy martyrs, and the one that beckoned to you was Saint Agnes. May you happily cross the sea of tribulation, and gain the victory over the dragon.”

Marcellinus, the holy Pope, occupied the chair of Saint Peter in Rome. It was the year 302 of the Christian era. The Roman empire was under the sway of Diocletian, whose name will be synonymous with cruelty to the end of time. Instigated by his son-in-law, Galerius, he inaugurated the most cruel persecution which had so far befallen the Christians. While Diocletian and Maximinian attempted to annihilate the Christians in the West, Galerius devastated the East with still greater fury. He caused thousands of Christians to be murdered, and seemed determined to exhaust every means of cruelty in order to attain his end. Neither place nor time, nor age nor sex, were sacred to him. A contemporary writes: “If I had a hundred tongues I should not be able to describe the atrocities and cruelties perpetrated against the Christians by Galerius.”

All Asia Minor was filled with consternation at the news of the furious persecutions. The emissaries of the tyrant found their way into the remotest villages and smallest hamlets in the execution of the emperor’s commandments. Nicopolis did not escape the universal storm. The Christian community there was small, but its members were well known, the more so because Calistos, the chief Christian (Philomena’s father), occupied so eminent a position. His territory, it is true, did not belong to the Roman empire, but Galerius soon found a pretext for sending troops there. In this strait, Calistos assembled his council and, after due deliberation, it was deemed best that he should go to Rome and place his government under the protection of Diocletian, the chief emperor. At all events it seemed easier to obtain justice of him than of fickle Galerius.

Preparations for the journey were made at once. Eutropia, the Governor’s wife, insisted on accompanying him and, as they could not think of parting with their dear child Philomena, now thirteen years of age, they took her along. The voyage was safely accomplished and they reached Rome in the beginning of July. Calistos immediately took steps to secure an audience with the emperor and, with the help of various presents to the officers of the imperial household, he succeeded. A day was set when the emperor would receive him.

Ever since Diocletian had proclaimed himself the lord over life and death, an audience with the emperor was a great risk; it might cost a person’s life. He was the supreme master of his subjects’ lives and death. His throne was continually surrounded by a guard of pretorians and lictors, armed with their fasces and axes, watching for a sign from their master to put them to immediate use. As with his predecessors, love of power had become a mania with Diocletian. He thought him self a god and exacted divine honors and worship from the slavish creatures about his throne. About this time, this mania had developed, in consequence of circumstances attending the martyrdom of Saint Vitus and others, into a blind fury suggestive of demoniac obsession, and it is a well-known fact that his son died actually possessed by a devil. Conscience upbraided the tyrant, and nocturnal visions disturbed his sleep. The victims of his tyranny appeared to him in his dreams, and thereby he was driven to such a frenzy that he ordered the murder of his best friends.

It is obvious that under these circumstances Calistos had reason to tremble at the thought of the audience. But when he was admitted, together with his wife and child, into the emperor’s presence, Diocletian was exceptionally in good humor. To impress the strangers with his greatness and supreme dignity, he received them in his throne hall dressed as Jupiter and bearing the attributes of that false deity. His predecessors, Caligula and Heliogabalus, also had loved to play with these symbols of divine power. He was surrounded by the dignitaries of the empire and by the lictors.

As Calistos, Eutropia his wife, and their child, Philomena, entered the hall, a suppressed murmur escaped those present, called for the by the appearance of the child. Just budding from childhood into womanhood, the maiden was of dazzling beauty. Like a figure from a higher sphere, she glided into the hall, clad in a beautiful white garment, and impressing all present with her virginal purity and nobility of soul as well as with her personal beauty. The emperor also felt the influence of her presence and, with friendly mien, invited the strangers to approach, inquiring for the cause of their coming.

Calistos respectfully stated his case and the emperor listened composedly. But when in the course of his statement the Governor confessed that he was a Christian, Diocletian’s features underwent an ominous change. Nevertheless, he suffered him to conclude his address, meanwhile intently regarding Philomena. The virgin could not but feel an indefinable dread at his looks, and a glow of color rose to her face whilst her eyes modestly sought the floor. When Calistos had finished, Diocletian cast a knowing glance at his courtiers and said:

Hark, Calistos! It was quite superfluous to be so profuse in your statement. The proposition embodied in it is simply as follows: you fear that our co-emperor, Galerius, to whom we have entrusted the eastern empire, is about to take the city Nicopolis and to transfer from your full coffers the wealth which he so sorely needs. This fear is well founded, for I cannot but admire my son-in-law’s cunning, and only wonder that you were so long in discovering this fact. There is not the slightest reason for accusing us of injustice in this proceeding, for we are the lords of the Roman empire, and consequently of the world. Your possessions, in comparison with ours, are like a grain of sand compared with the ocean. What can the sand-grain do against the power of the waves? Its absorption is a law of nature: the right of might. True, you are entitled to resistance and can array your army against us; but what can a mouse do against a lion? And as you, with all your army, are but like a mouse in comparison with Galerius and his hosts, it is just that he annihilate you.” And turning to his courtiers he inquired: “Am I not right?”

Well said, imperial lord!” was the unanimous response. “You spoke like a hero, like a god.”

Calistos stood trembling with indignation at such mean treatment, but conscious of his inability to retaliate, he invoked God’s help secretly in his heart. Diocletian continued: “This is one view of the matter. But there is an aggravating circumstance: you profess the faith of the Nazarene. You are a Christian, Calistos, are you not?”

Yes, I am a Christian!” Calistos courageously replied.

And your wife, is she also Christian?”

I am!” modestly answered Eutropia.

And you, little one,” the emperor said to Philomena, “are you, too, infected with the poison? Do you adore the Nazarene?”

All eyes were intent on the maiden when she solemnly replied: “Yes, I adore Him whom you call the Nazarene. I was consecrated to Him from my birth, and shall belong to Him who is my God and Saviour in time and eternity.”

A murmur of dissent swept through the hall. Diocletian’s features darkened as he said: “You have all heard it: they are Christians, adherents of that damnable sect against which we have published our edicts and which we are resolved to annihilate. Hence Galerius has not only the power, but it is his duty to trample in the dust this lot of conspirators. This being the case, I cannot understand, Calistos, how you could dare to approach my throne and invoke my aid against my son-in-law Galerius. You remind me of the man who, to escape the claws of the tiger, took refuge in the jaws of the lion. Well done, indeed! Ha, ha, ha!” The courtiers dutifully joined in their master’s mirth.

Calistos felt his courage ebbing away. He clearly saw the impending danger and shuddered. He resolved to have recourse to a last means to appeal to the emperor’s vanity. He said: “True enough. I was well aware that I was about to enter the lion’s den when I resolved to appeal to you. You were pleased to compare yourself to a lion, and one of the foremost traits of the animal is magnanimity; while it is ever ready to engage in combat, it disdains to swallow a mouse. Thus it is also unworthy of your prowess to send the legions that subdued the nations of the earth and carried the renown of your name beyond the seas to conquer a city which is unable to resist them. Let robbers do this, but let not the glorious page of history which contains the record of your deeds be defiled by such an undertaking.”

You speak well,” replied Diocletian, “your comparison is good. It shall be as you wish: the lion disdains to swallow the mouse. You shall announce our generosity to your whole people. I shall induce my son-in-law to spare you and your’s! I take you under my protection, and during your sojourn in Rome, you are my guest.”

Accept my most sincere thanks,” answered Calistos, greatly relieved that his little strategem had succeeded. “I am your servant,” he continued, falling at the emperor’s feet.

But he told him to rise and said: “To prove your gratitude for the great favor I bestowed on you, we hope you will grant us the wish we are about to express, and which, moreover, will redound to your great honor.”

Ask what you will, most gracious lord! If it is in my power to grant it, I shall do so.”

Well said. I take you at your word. I ask you for the hand of your daughter.”

An ominous silence followed these words. The courtiers looked dubiously at each other, and Calistos was so overwhelmed that he was unable to speak. “Why do you not answer? I think such an offer should render you extremely happy,” remarked Diocletian.

True, you overwhelm me with honor; such an offer exceeds my most sanguine expectations. But pardon me if I remark that your imperial majesty was pleased to jest,” answered Calistos.

To jest? By no means! I was pleased with your daughter, for nowhere have I found beauty comparable to hers. I love her, and shall not rest until she is mine.”

Ineffable honor, most gracious lord! How shall we ever be able to thank you for such condescension?”

Do not speak of condescension. I love her, and that is sufficient. Am I not at liberty to choose my wives wherever I wish? Am I not the lord of the world? I choose your daughter. She shall share my throne and you, instead of being a petty prince in a semi-barbarous country, shall be among the first in my empire. This is my imperial will; thus have I decreed and thus shall it be. The offer is an acceptable one, is it not?”

If you are really in earnest, my lord, we prostrate ourselves before you, and filled with gratitude, kiss your hands.”

That is unnecessary. Your consent is sufficient. Of course, your wife is of the same mind?”

I agree with whatever my lord Calistos says and does. And, moreover, how could a mother refuse so great an honor for her child?”

Well said. Now, we have only to hear what the young lady has to say. You have heard, Philomena, the proposition I have made: do you consent to become my wife?”

With palpitating heart, and with a deathly paleness over spreading her features, the child regarded her mother, who beckoned to encourage her, and said: “O mother, I cannot say yes!”

Diocletian persisted: “What answer am I going to have?”

I beg your pardon, most gracious lord,” remarked Calistos; “our child is overwhelmed at the great happiness in store for her. She is unable to find words, and it will be necessary to give her time to compose her mind. Tomorrow she will gladly give her consent.” The emperor assented, and dismissed them.

Philomena’s parents had educated her for heaven; yet it was their desire that she should accept Diocletian’s offer, for they knew very well that by a refusal they would incur his displeasure with all its disastrous consequences. “Remember, my child,” Calistos addressed her, “what a splendid opportunity of doing good you shall have at the side of this mighty monarch. Sharing his throne, you will be able to protect your Christian brethren from persecution. Perhaps you shall even convince him of the truth of the Christian religion and convert him. Then the continual massacre of Christians will cease, the Church will flourish in peace and coming generations will call you blessed.”

But Philomena remained firm, and replied with a heavenly wisdom quite beyond her years: “Dear father, you allow yourself to become a victim of illusion; your hopes will never be realized. So deeply is Diocletian sunken in depravity that he is impenetrable to higher emotions. Instead of elevating himself at my side to the sublime heights of Christian truth, he would seek to draw me down with him into the abyss of corruption. Instead of saving him, I would be exposed to the danger of becoming his associate in crime, and the blood of the victims of his wrath would cry out against me, too. May the Lord preserve me from such a fate! Moreover, you cannot sever the sacred bond which binds me to the Lord. Well do you know that three years ago, I vowed my virginity to Him on the happy day of my first communion.”

You were then of too tender an age to know the importance of the step you took. A vow made at such an age does not bind.”

Far be it from me to take advantage of such an excuse. I knew well what I did when I followed her example whom we salute as the Mother of the Redeemer and vowed my virginity to God. Did not she herself set the example at a much earlier age in the temple at Jerusalem? No, no! I shall never cancel my vow. I know but one spouse, our Lord Jesus Christ.”

But consider that the man who claims you for his wife is Diocletian, the mighty Roman emperor, the lord of the world. He will place a crown on your brow and endow you with immeasurable wealth.”

Great, indeed, is Diocletian’s power and wealth; but who is he in comparison with the Eternal King to whom I am betrothed? I renounce Diocletian’s crown and choose for my part my Saviour’s crown of thorns on earth, and in heaven the imperishable diadem of victory promised to those who are faithful to Him. I renounce a wealth which I must leave behind me one day, and seek the inexhaustible treasures of heaven.”

But what if Diocletian, incensed at your refusal, turns his wrath against us and destroys us? Remember, that our fate rests with him, that we are entirely in his hands. Have you no consideration for us? Have you effaced the last vestige of filial love from your heart?”

It is better to lose our lives here below and to be reunited in eternal bliss than to try to avoid temporal death and thereby incur everlasting punishment. Therefore I beseech you by the blood of Christ to refrain from further effort to change my resolution of remaining faithful to my heavenly spouse, Jesus Christ, even at the cost of my life.”

A heavenly halo seemed to surround the maiden as she spoke these last words–words which no doubt were entered into the Recording Angel’s book of life.

Less firmly grounded in Christian principles than their daughter, Philomena’s parents were too strongly wedded to the world to share her sublime sentiments. Placed in the position of choosing between the highest glory on earth and an ignominious death, they preferred the former and hesitated not to influence their child to do the same. Especially did her mother Eutropia beg her with tears and blandishments to defer to Diocletian’s wish. Calistos, too, was inconsolable. “What does it profit us now,” he exclaimed, “to have received a daughter from the God of the Christians, when He is about to take her away from us at the very moment when she is to become our joy?” His faith, heretofore so firm, was shaken, and he inclined more and more to use every means to induce Philomena to submit. But all his efforts were of no avail.

In the midst of these troubles Diocletian summoned them to receive their answer to his proposal. They went with heavy hearts. The emperor received them alone in a small but luxuriously furnished apartment. Diocletian was seated at a table loaded with costly presents, such as gold rings, bracelets, a diadem with precious stones of immense value and a variety of other ornaments sufficient to captivate a thousand girls. Like the tempter in the desert who said to our divine Saviour, “All these will I give you, if falling down you will adore me,” Diocletian offered these gifts to Philomena on the sole condition that she marry him. He used every blandishment to influence her decision and was zealously seconded by Calistos and his wife. But Philomena remained firm; she refused the gifts and resisted all endeavors to gain her consent. At length the emperor, who saw that all his efforts were in vain, became furious and, violently pushing away the table so that the costly gifts fell to the floor, he approached the trembling maiden and exclaimed: “What, this stubborn damsel dares to spurn an emperor’s love? You prefer a crucified Jew to me, the lord of the world? I offered you my crown; you have refused it and shalt repent of your obstinacy. I am accustomed to have my will, and if a woman finds favor in my eyes I take her. With you I made an exception and begged for your love. You have refused me, and by the gods, you shall rue it!”

He called to lictors, and pointing to Philomena, cried: “Take her, cast her into the prison beneath my private apartment. She has dared to spurn me, the equal of the gods!”

The lictors proceeded to execute the emperor’s command. Philomena trembled as the men stretched out their hands towards her. But Calistos stood guard over his child and exclaimed: “Dare not touch her, or you are dead men!” Eutropia fell at the emperor’s feet, asking his pardon. “Have mercy on us,” she cried, “and do not separate us from our dear child, or, if the decree is irrevocable, let us die with her!”

Die,” laughed Diocletian, “who speaks of dying? Your daughter shall not die, at least not presently. I only intend to give her time to reconsider in prison her decision and to come to a more satisfactory resolve. Perhaps isolation will bring her to her senses. If this be not the case, I possess the means to turn her away from her love of the Nazarene. But for your sake I shall order that no harm befall her. As soon as she shall be ready to do as I wish, everything shall be forgotten, and from out of the prison’s cell she shall ascend the throne. But woe to her and you if she persists in her refusal!”

And turning to the lictors, he cried: “Why do you stand there idle? Do your duty!”

This was easier said than done, for Calistos, a man of powerful build, still guarded his child. Now one of the lictors ventured to lay hands on her, but scarcely had he touched her, when a powerful blow felled him to the floor. The father defended his child, and the other lictor prudently retreated a few steps. Diocletian was amused at the lictor’s defense and applauded Calistos. But the struggle had brought on several other guardsmen. They overpowered him and led Philomena away.

Ponderous and strong iron doors had closed on Philomena. She was in prison. For the first time in her life she was separated from her parents, totally excluded from all interaction with human beings, alone with her sorrow. She keenly felt the loneliness of her situation. Nature, tested to the extreme power of endurance, finally succumbed under the strain; grace, which had hitherto upheld and filled her with heroism, seemingly abandoned her. Weeping, she fell on her knees, buried her face in her hands and gave vent to her grief. Death-like silence reigned in the dark cell, into which only a slender streak of light found its way through a small opening high up in the wall. The walls were damp and mouldy, an icy blast was wafted through the foul air, and the straw couch on the stone floor seemed alive with gruesome vermin. A large rat ventured near Philomena, and she shrieked loudly. The terrors of her situation presented themselves to her in their full reality. She saw the innocent pleasures of her youth vanished for ever, her young life doomed before its promises were realized. She contemplated the sorrow of her parents, whose tears she was not permitted to dry without becoming unfaithful to God; she realized the terrible dilemma to which she was reduced either to sacrifice her filial love or to endanger the salvation of her soul. Prison, the anguish of suffering either the repulsive endearments of a libertine, or the torments of the rack and an ignominious and cruel death confronted her like spectres.

After the first paroxysm of grief had subsided, the poor child turned for help and strength to God in prayer. Her soul soared up into the presence of her divine Spouse and was penetrated with light and consolation. Then she sank into a sweet slumber, and the dream she had had three years ago again presented to her view the choir of virgins clad in white garments following the Lamb with palms in their hands. Again one of the virgins, younger and lovelier than the rest, bent over her, saying: Do you not know me, dear sister? I am Agnes, the spouse of Jesus Christ. Soon you, too, will join us.” And when Philomena extended her hands towards the vision, her heavenly visitor smiled. She awoke, and behold, on her hand she saw a drop of blood!

And before her stood Diocletian, who addressed her, laughing: “Well, my girl, have you slept well? I hope you have changed your mind during the night. Am I right?”

Terrified at the sound of the voice so detested by her, the maiden retreated to the remotest corner of her prison cell and called aloud for help. Nothing but the scornful laughter of her tormentor answered her.

Cease your noise, child! Nobody hears you. You are in my power, and even your so-called spouse Jesus of Nazareth will scarcely be able to deliver you. Therefore hear what I have to say. You are aware that I offered you my hand in marriage, and I am still ready to redeem my promise. Be sensible, do as I wish, or, by Jove! you shall not leave this dungeon alive!”

Have mercy on me! Spare me, a mere child!” she cried. “By all that you love and cherish, I implore you to leave me in peace!”

You shall have peace, tranquility and happiness in every shape–do but accept my offer!”

Never, never!” she cried, lifting up her hands in terror, “I cannot.”

Indeed you can’t! And I will overcome your stubbornness. Until now I had too much regard for you, because you art so delicate and tender. But now my patience is exhausted. Either you consent to become my wife, or I shall use violence and make you my slave. I am master of your life and death.” Furious with rage he took hold of her arm and held it as in a vise. The child trembled with fear and called aloud for help. “Now you are in my power: yes or no?” cried the tyrant.

No! No! You shall never have part in me. I belong to my heavenly spouse. O Jesus, protect Your servant!”

Ha, ha! She calls on the Nazarene!” laughed the emperor. “No doubt but He will presently appear and deliver her. We shall see! Ha, ha, ha!”

Jesus, help me!” sighed Philomena, trying with all her might to free herself from the emperor’s hold. “Jesus, help!”

Death and damnation, witch!” suddenly cried the tyrant, letting go his hold as if he had touched red-hot iron. He seemed beside himself, and dancing round the cell wild with pain, cried: “I shall teach you to give up your nefarious witch craft.” And furious with rage he left her.

What had happened? Had the “Nazarene” shown His power in favor of His servant? Yes, the power of the name of Jesus had asserted itself and baffled the tyrant, smiting and disabling him.

Scarcely had Diocletian recovered his composure, which had been sorely shaken by the sudden attack, than he ordered the poor child to be put in heavy chains like a criminal, to prevent her from exercising her “sorcery.” For the present, however, he ceased his visits, for the pain he had experienced when laying hold of Philomena had been so excruciating that he did not feel tempted to try the experiment again.

Philomena’s condition was now more pitiful than ever. The heavy chains which weighed down her tender limbs bereft her of the power of motion. Darkness and silence enveloped her, and she saw no one but the prison-master, who brought her a jug of water and a piece of hard bread every morning. Her parents were not permitted to visit her. In this condition the poor child remained for thirty-seven days, her only solace being prayer to her divine spouse. A supernatural peace descended into her soul and confirmed her in her resolution to remain faithful to her Saviour until death.

The Apparition

Diocletian might deny to human beings admission to the prison, but he could not prohibit the appearance of heavenly visions. It was a warm summer’s night. The emperor’s palace resounded with the revelry of drunken courtiers, but silence deep and solemn reigned in Philomena’s dungeon. She was absorbed in prayer. Suddenly she became aware of a light brighter than the sun. It filled her cell, and from it stepped forth the figure of a majestic lady bearing a child in her arms, and her benignant countenance filled Philomena’s heart with heavenly joy.

Fear not, Philomena,” said the vision. “I am she who was never invoked in vain by anyone. I am Mary, your Mother. I came to announce to you a glad message. Three days more, and your captivity ends. But a great trial awaits you before then: have courage, however, for in the hour of tribulation my Son’s grace shall mightily assist you. Moreover, I commanded the angel who once announced to me the message of salvation to watch over you. He will be at your side and never leave you for a moment, until he shall have brought you to the throne of my Son, where a crown awaits you. His name is Gabriel and his power will do great things for you, for you are my well-beloved daughter for whom my Son has prepared everlasting glory. Therefore be of good cheer! Already the angels await your coming and your Spouse is ready to meet you.” With these words the Blessed Virgin placed the divine Child into Philomena’s arms, who embraced her and filled her heart with joy.

While the visit from heaven consoled the holy maiden in her prison, the spirits of darkness took possession of the revelers in the emperor’s banquet hall. Diocletian himself lay prostrate on a couch; he was overcome by wine and was no longer able to sit up. Maximian, a soldier of herculean size and strength, roared like a wild beast and destroyed costly vases in his drunken fury. Daja, a semi-barbarous Thracian, sang a Bacchanalian couplet; Sennon, the centurion of the imperial body-guard, cursed fiercely and belabored with the shaft of his spear his pretorians who lay about drunk.

Suddenly, in the midst of a song, Daja stopped. A thought had entered his mind which impelled him to rouse his imperial master from his torpor. “Imperial lord,” he cried, “what news about tomorrow? Are there no Christians to be tortured, no heads to be cut off, no rack to be employed? Business is becoming slack and I am tired of Rome. In Nicomedia, we have more diversions. Galerius is an inventive genius when he sets his mind to torturing Christians.”

Well said, Daja,” replied Diocletian, with a heavy tongue. “I have a piece of work for you. Philomena, the Christian, who spurned me, and moreover made me feel her power of sorcery in the night of my visit, must die.”

And die at once!” cried Daja. “Shall I go to the dungeon right off and choke the witch to death?”

Not so fast, Daja!” answered Diocletian. “Death shall come to her by degrees. Slow torture shall be her reward for spurning me, the emperor.”

What punishment has your imperial majesty decreed for the contemptible wretch?” inquired Maximian.

I think I shall condemn her to receive the same punishment which Pontius Pilate decreed for the Nazarene: I shall have her scourged. It is the most ignominious and cruel of all tortures. If she survives we shall still have time for further proceedings against her.”

Loud applause greeted this announcement. The rioters reveled in the thought of feasting their eyes on the victim of the terrible punishment in store for the delicate maiden. The morning had scarcely dawned when Philomena was led forth from the dungeon, and after again resolutely refusing Diocletian’s offer, she was taken to the inner court of the palace and subjected to the unspeakable torture of the scourge. This punishment was so severe that very often those condemned to it died during its infliction. We therefore cannot but admire the power of divine grace which sustained the life of this tender child amid so cruel suffering.

The execution of Diocletian’s cruel order ended. The holy maiden’s tender body was covered with wounds, her blood had saturated the floor and walls. Like her Saviour, there was not a sound spot on her from the soles of her feet to the crown of her head. A few more stripes and she would have fallen dead. Death would indeed have been a mercy but she was not privileged to die as yet, and the scourging was merely the beginning of her torture. She was released from the pillar to which she had been bound, enveloped in a sheet, which was soon dyed by her blood, and borne back to her dungeon. There she was left alone in the expectation that she would be found a corpse in the morning.

Who can describe the jailer’s amazement when, instead of a corpse, he next morning found the maiden in blooming health? All the wounds were healed, the pain was gone and the bloody sheet alone gave evidence of the sufferings of the day before. Her countenance shone like the sun, and, rejoicing, she sang hymns. Two angels had appeared to her during the night and poured a heavenly balm into her wounds, which healed at once. They left her filled with supernatural consolation.

The jailer hastened to inform the emperor of the unusual occurrence. He had the maiden brought into his presence and was filled with amazement on beholding her in perfect health and full vigor whom he had seen covered with wounds and blood, and well-nigh dead the day before. Unable, however, to recognize the hand of God in so extraordinary an event, the resplendent beauty of his victim impelled him to try again to persuade her to fulfill his wish.

Behold,” he said to her, “how the gods love you! Jupiter has decreed that you shall find happiness at my side; therefore be docile and bow to our imperial will. You have experienced how dangerous it is to oppose us. We were compelled to have you chastised like a rebellious child. Be wise now, and do not incur our displeasure a second time; rather obey, and renounce the Nazarene, who proved to you his inability to protect you.”

Be silent, unclean tyrant, and do not blaspheme my Saviour,” Philomena replied. “I do not ask Him to deliver me from the torments which you choose to have inflicted on me, but I implore His help to endure them. The liberty which I crave is death. Cease, therefore, your vain promises: I shall never consent to fulfill your wish. You cannot give me true happiness, because you do not possess it yourself. You are a mean wretch, and the vengeance of the Almighty, whose servants you murder, will fall upon you before very long.”

Diocletian frowned darkly. “Beware,” he said, “and guard your tongue. The emperor is not accustomed to such speech.”

Would that my words would be conducive to your welfare, instead of rousing your anger, and that you would learn to know Him whom you persecute and who one day shall be your Judge.”

Of whom do you speak? Of Jesus, the Nazarene, the carpenter’s son, your lover? I do not wish to know Him. Between Him and me there is eternal hostility, combat and conflict to the end.”

This is true, alas! But who, think you, will gain the victory?”

Foolish question! How can you doubt? Where are now the followers of the Nazarene? Their number is reduced to a mere handful, and these we annihilate as fast as we discover them. Ha! a few months more and not a single Christian shall be found in the whole Roman empire.”

Philomena smiled pityingly. “Could you but look into the future, emperor! Long after the last vestige of the Roman empire shall have been swept from the face of the earth, the Christians will be as numerous as the sands on the seashore. Millions will call reverently and adoringly on the name of Jesus, whilst your name shall be detested by all who hear it.”

Cease your impertinence,” fiercely cried Diocletian, “or I shall have your malicious tongue cut out.”

But Philomena minded not the tyrant. Like a prophetess she stood before him, her eyes turned heavenward and her spirit borne beyond time and space into the future.

Yes,” she exclaimed, “Jesus of Nazareth will triumph. His is the victory. I behold its emblem, the cross, the sign of salvation, rising above this city and shining in the clouds. Not one of your predecessors persecuted the Christians as fiercely as you, but you shall be the last of persecutors. The innocent blood shed by you cries aloud to heaven for vengeance. Emperor and empire–both will be extirpated, but the Church, the Saviour’s spouse which you think to have destroyed, will spread and flourish.”

Enough of your insolence, audacious wench! I shall close your bold mouth forever and send another adorer of the Nazarene to the lower realms. You shall die but your death shall be inglorious. I shall have you drowned like a dog or a cat. In the darkness of the night I shall have you cast into the Tiber, a stone around your neck, and may the fishes make a meal of your flesh. Ho, lictors, seize the witch, but take care that she escape you not: Christians are adepts at sorcery. At midnight cast her into the Tiber where it is deepest.”

The order was executed. Philomena was seized, bound and returned to the prison, there to await the night.

Dark and black the clouds lowered over Rome, increasing the gloominess of the night which had descended on the city amid a fearful storm of rain, thunder and lightning. Not far from the city walls a bark propelled by strong arms started off and sped swiftly towards the middle of the stream.

I am really sorry for the delicate maiden,” said one of the rowers; “it is sad for one so young and beautiful to die.”

What does it concern us, Gabas,” replied another; “are we not accustomed to our work? For three years the slaughter of Christians was our occupation. A bad business, tis true; but we must make a living. We are soldiers; the murder of Christians is one of our secondary duties. Is it our concern that Diocletian furnishes us with so much of this kind of work? Let him answer for it! As to that maiden, it is well that she is about to find peace. She must die one way or the other, and drowning is an easy death. Take care that the anchor holds fast and that the rope does not break, so that the business may be speedily dispatched.”

Between the rough men sat Philomena with her hands tied behind her back, and a rope to which was attached a huge anchor about her neck. She was pale, her eyes were closed. Nature within her revolted at the violent death, and her soul sought courage and strength in prayer. Soon the bark had reached the middle of the river. Four strong hands laid hold of the maiden, raised her gently and dropped her with the anchor about her neck into the waves. A heavy fall, a gurgling sound–and all is over.

She will not return,” said one of the men. “But let us make haste lest the storm overtake us.”

At that moment a stroke of lightning lit up the expanse of water, and the other rower cried out in alarm: “What is it?”

Woe unto us,” replied his companion, “the dead come back! There is Philomena.”

Impossible! The rope was new and strong, and the anchor heavy enough to draw down the most expert swimmer. Perhaps it is her ghost, or a spectre. See how it moves and shines! I think it will be best for us to make for the shore and vanish as soon as possible. It is not advisable to meddle with the spirits of murdered people.”

The men rowed with all their might to reach the shore, but in the furious storm which now broke upon them they found it a hard task.

What a storm!” remarked Gabas. “It seems heaven and earth are angered at our deed. Woe to us, see! She is following us.”

True enough, a shining figure seemed to follow them, and now they clearly recognized the maiden martyr. Flooded with supernal splendor, her figure floated on the waves. Her face appeared above the water, her hands were free and folded on her chest, the rope and anchor had disappeared in the depth, and, as if by angels’ hands, the Saint’s body was borne towards the shore by the waves.

Scarcely had the terror-stricken soldiers landed when they ran into the city and acquainted their commander with what had occurred.

You are bereft of your senses or overcome by drink,” said he. “You made a bungling job of your task. If you had really drowned her, she would not return. Your cowardice played a trick on you.”

Go and see for yourself! We have done as we were ordered. The anchor was heavy enough to sink a hundred children like her, and the rope was new and strong. It could not break.”

Then she is a sorceress and freed herself by witchcraft. But it shall avail her nothing. Die she must. I myself will go and see whether you are the victims of a delusion or not. Here, Sarmio, Tullus, Cassius! Each of you take two men and follow me! Take chains and ropes to bind the sorceress so that she may not escape us a second time.”

The men lighted torches, did as they were ordered, and followed their chief as if about to capture a band of robbers. On nearing the shore of the Tiber, they beheld from afar a shining light, amid which Philomena knelt in prayer between two angels. At this sight the soldiers became terror-stricken.

They are not human beings,” said Sarmio, “and with spirits I shall not engage in combat. See how her face shines, and, oh, the other two have flaming swords in their hands!”

Bah! it is all an illusion,” replied the centurion. “Go for them. Against our weapons they cannot prevail. Lower your lances, and forward!”

The soldiers reluctantly obeyed. Just as several lances were about to touch the holy martyr’s chest, one of the angels beckoned towards them and, as if struck by lightning, they fell to the ground. The lances fell from their hands but else they were unharmed. The centurion was the first to recover from his fright. With a fearful curse he tried to rise, but found himself unable to do so.

Now Philomena spoke, and said, smiling: “Why have you come with spears and swords and clubs to capture a weak maiden? There is no need of all these weapons. I shall follow you of my own free will, because it has been ordered thus by my divine spouse. I had hoped to die in the water into which you cast me, but it is God’s will that I should suffer more in testimony of my faith in Christ crucified. Did He not permit it, you would have no power over me, for he has given me into the custody of His angels. Now let us go hence, for I must suffer for my heavenly spouse.”

Suddenly the angels disappeared, and the soldiers regained the use of their limbs. Their courage returned, and the centurion roared: “Now, sorceress, you are in our power. Ho, there! Hold her fast and bind her, lest she escape us again.”

She was loaded with chains and securely bound. Yet the uncouth warriors treated her with a certain awe and did not offend her modesty, for even though the angels had departed, the Lord guarded the virgin purity of His spouse.

The news of the extraordinary event spread all over the city, and when, at early dawn, the procession reached the imperial palace, a great crowd of people had assembled there to see the “sorceress.”

Diocletian had a bad night. Alarming dreams had terrified him and the spirits of his murdered victims appeared to him in shapes more terrible than ever. After being notified in the morning of what had happened concerning Philomena, he was sorely frightened. He refused to see her, and when asked what was to be done with her, he cried in superstitious wrath: “Do with her what you like, but by all means put her out of the way. Hang her, burn her, kill her with clubs do but kill her! I want to have peace.”

This suits me exactly!” rejoined the centurion. “It will afford capital sport for my Thracian archers, whose arrows have never had so beautiful a target.”

The virgin martyr was taken from the prison into which she had been cast and led outside the city walls, and from there, bound to a tree. The centurion measured the distance, the archers took their stations, and at the word of command, a shower of arrows flew off against the helpless victim. The archers did their business well. Most of the arrows went true, and with the exception of the face, there was scarcely a part of her body that was not pierced by the sharp points. The pain was excruciating, and when the arrows were pulled out, the blood flowed in streams. The cruel sport was repeated, and now the deadly missiles were aimed at vital parts. Death-like pallor overspread the maiden’s countenance; she closed her eyes, heavily her head sank on her chest. Loss of blood had exhausted her.

She is done for,” said the soldiers when they removed the arrows. “At best she can live but a few hours. It is unnecessary to torture her any longer. Let us leave her to die in peace.”

The ropes that bound the martyr to the tree were cut, the bleeding victim was placed on a bier and carried into a dark vault in the amphitheatre, where the corpses of the dead gladiators were usually laid away. Two soldiers remained on guard before the vault with orders to report when she died.

Time hung heavy on the guards. “O Strabo,” said the one to his companion, “I do not see why we should stand here and roast in the sun, only to see a poor, tortured child die. I move that we permit her to die in peace while we go over to old Tryphon, who dispenses that excellent Falernian.”

Bravo, Marcellus! By the gods, your motion is a good one. Let us be gone! The girl is as good as dead, she will not wake up again. I am off.”

Tryphon’s Falernian was excellent indeed, so excellent that the two guards, when they returned towards noon, found it difficult to gain a firm footing. But who can describe their consternation on beholding Philomena, whom they had supposed dead, sitting before the vault on a stone, singing psalms and smiling at their approach? They could not believe their eyes and were afraid to go near.

By all demons, Strabo,” said the one to the other, “there is something wrong there. I never saw the like in my life. It is witchcraft. Let us save ourselves; let Diocletian attend to her himself.” And he ran as fast as his legs, still weak from the effects of the wine, could carry him. His companion took the matter cooler. He reported to his captain, who informed the emperor of the turn things had taken. The news spread through the palace; everyone was anxious to see the miracle and hastened to the scene. Diocletian, too, despite his superstitious fear, went out.

Now, Philomena,” he summoned courage to address her, “how long will you persist in your sorceries and witchcraft?”

It is not by sorcery and witchcraft that death is kept away from me,” she replied; “it is by the power of God, who wishes to glorify His name before the heathens. Instead of ascribing the marvels which you see to witchcraft, you should rather acknowledge the Lord’s power and cease to persecute His Church. For the more obdurate you are, the greater is your crime and the heavier will be your punishment.”

Why persist in speaking of punishment and the Nazarene?” replied Diocletian. “Long since would He have annihilated me, if he did but possess the power. Have I not tortured and murdered His followers every day for years, and was He able to prevent it? I despise your threats, and you shall die in spite of your ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ and all His angels. Ho, lictors, bind her again to the tree! Let the archers make her a living target before my very eyes. Die she must!”

The order was quickly obeyed. Again the arrows sped with unerring aim from the bows; but behold, not one of them touched the martyr’s body.

Ha, now I see why you could not kill her! You do not even hit her! And you call yourselves Thracian archers? You are miserable cowards and craven wretches, but no soldiers!”

The archers resented the imputation, and in proof of their sure aim showed him the arrows still red with blood, which they had used in the morning.

Try again!” commanded Diocletian; “I shall have each one scourged who misses her this time.”

The archers gnashed their teeth in silent rage but again sent their arrows in the direction of the martyr. They stuck fast in the tree above her, they fell to the ground at her feet, but not a single one harmed her.

This is sorcery, imperial lord,” cried the centurion. “My men never missed their aim. A higher power must divert the arrows’ course.”

An augur who witnessed the scene explained: “Let the arrowheads be made red-hot. Witches fear the fire and their power is harmless against it.”

The suggestion was adopted. But lo, a new marvel! The red-hot arrows sped through the air until they reached the martyr; then, without touching her, they reversed their course and returned with double force on the archers. Six of them were killed outright, and the rest writhed on the ground in fearful pain. Terror and alarm seized the spectators, and many of them struck their chests and confessed the true God. Others fled in dismay. The emperor was sorely perplexed, he feared a general revolt. He summoned his counselors and said: “This thing is becoming unbearable. What is to be done with the sorceress? If she continues to baffle our efforts to kill her, our prestige will be gone. The heathens murmur and the Christians triumph. The Nazarene is gaining in favor and yet we may not confess ourselves defeated. What is to be done?”

Permit me to make a suggestion,” remarked Nicanor, one of the emperor’s trusted friends. “These Christians are adepts at sorcery, its true, and we have the proofs right here, before our eyes. We have had cases like this before; remember Vitus, who was belabored with clubs, placed in boiling oil and cast before wild beasts: all our endeavors were in vain. Yet, when the executioner cut off his head, the end came. Indeed, to cut off their heads is the only reliable way to get rid of the Christians.”

Well said, Nicanor! I believe you are right,” replied Diocletian. “The Nazarene seems to be master of the hidden arts, but I doubt whether he is able to replace a severed head. Well, we shall see.”

All present were anxious to witness the result of the experiment. The emperor ordered Philomena to be released from the tree and scornfully addressed her: “I see that your lover’s power is rather great. He seems to be a master sorcerer and has captured the minds of many by his art. Now I shall give him the opportunity of performing a new trick, and if he succeeds, I also shall believe in him. I will have you beheaded, and if he is powerful enough to replace your head in presence of this whole assembly and before my very eyes, I shall believe in him and cease to persecute his followers. No better opportunity was ever offered to the Nazarene to vindicate himself and his doctrine.”

Philomena replied: “Be silent, and blaspheme not the Most High Lord. God, the searcher of hearts, knows your falsehood and deceit. For a number of years, He wrought countless miracles before your eyes, but your mind remained obtuse because it is the abode of Belial, the spirit of darkness. You call yourself master and lord, but you are a mere slave, a blood hound, an executioner, a tool of Hell. Even should the Lord perform the miracle you have named, you would not believe, and your sin would be so much the greater. Do, therefore, what ever you wil. If you thirst for my blood, take it. My banishment in this abode of sin and cruelty was long enough. I court death, and sigh to be united with Christ.”

Your desire shall be fulfilled without delay, insane visionary! Ho, lictors, bring the block, and cut off this foolish girl’s head! And if the Nazarene can’t replace it, I will laugh him to scorn.”

You may laugh now; but when He shall come with a legion of angels to judge the world, then you will tremble.”

The lictors took hold of her, threw her to the ground and bound her. In silent prayer she laid her head upon the block. One of the executioners put aside the beautiful hair which covered her head and shoulders, another stood by with the axe raised high, ready to strike. The over-awed spectators stood in silence.

Now, Nazarene, is your opportunity!” cried Diocletian, “now show your power before all the people! Let us see who is more powerful: you or I?”

Come, O Jesus, spouse of my soul!” prayed the martyr.

Diocletian laughed. “Your Jesus comes not. I am losing patience. Executioner, do your work!”

The axe descended and the martyr’s head rolled in the sand. The blood spurted high. Once more the eyes of the severed head opened, and then they closed forever. A beautiful smile graced her lips, not a muscle moved, not a sign of pain was visible. A halo of light encircled the head for a moment and then vanished. The martyr was at rest.

The emperor boasted of his triumph and blasphemed: “See now the Nazarene’s power! She fell a victim to her folly like so many others before her. You are vanquished, Nazarene!”

The virgin martyr Saint Philomena died on the 10th of August, A. D. 302, on a Friday, at the very hour when our Saviour died on the cross. But the Nazarene was not vanquished. God is eternal: hence He selects His own time for reward and for punishment.

Diocletian had long ago mouldered in the dust. The Roman empire belonged to history. Fifteen centuries had elapsed and the generations that flourished in them were forgotten. Saint Philomena’s very name was no longer known, when it finally pleased the Lord to glorify her before the world. On the 25th of May, 1802, a marble slab was discovered in the Catacombs of Saint Priscilla in the Via Salaria at Rome, bearing the following inscription: Lumena in pace Fi, which was interpreted to mean: “Filumena in peace”. The stone bore the emblems of martyrdom: an anchor, an arrow, a palm branch, a scourge and two arrows reversing their course, and finally a lily in token of her purity. With the relics was found a flask containing some of her blood. When the latter was examined, a series of extraordinary miracles began with the luminous appearance of the dried particles of blood, which now shone like burnished gold, now like diamonds and precious stones, and then again were resplendent in all the colors of the rainbow.

The relics of the Saint were transferred to Magnano, near Naples, and thence the fame of “Little Philomena,” as she was called in Italy, began to spread all over the world, for so many miracles were performed by her intercession that she soon was styled the “Wonder-worker of the Nineteenth Century.” The saintly Cure d’Ars, Saint John Baptiste Marie Vianney, was a most zealous propagator of devotion to her.

The history of her martyrdom is not based on romantic imagination, but on private revelations made by the Saint in 1836 to three different persons, amongst them a saintly nun in Naples. Moreover, it is corroborated by the symbols found on her tomb and by numerous miracles wrought through her intercession.

Written by and copied from:
William J Walsh. “Apparition to Saint Philomena, Virgin, Martyr, Rome, Italy, 300″. The Apparitions and Shrines of Heaven’s Bright Queen, 1905. CatholicSaints.Info. 9 July 2014. Web. 31 July 2015. <>

One of the three persons to receive a vision of Philomena's life and martyrdom saw Diocletian, inconsolable and insane after the death of Philomena, raging and, in a fit of insanity, biting furiously his throne, lamenting that he could never “have” Philomena.

The martyrdom of Philomena recounts many Biblical-style miracles, including the youths thrown into the furnace for not worshipping the false god by King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3), and the angels who came and ministered to God after the temptation in the desert (Matthew 4:11).

The Blood of the Saint, The Miraculous Image, The Great Statue of the Saint, The Special Sign
The devotion spread rapidly all over Italy, passing from city to city, from town to town, penetrating even to remote villages. Children received her name in Baptism; the poorest peasants kept lamps burning before her picture; chapels were built, statues erected in her honor; and in whatever town, village or church she was honored, wonderful prodigies and cures were wrought, and the moral condition of the inhabitants speedily underwent a radical transformation. In one church alone, within a few months, 1,200 silver ex votos were offered at her altar, besides many others of gold, jewels and precious stones -- an eloquent testimony to the graces bestowed. In another, the cures, conversions and prodigies were so numerous that it was commonly said that nothing more wonderful happened in Mugnano itself.

Testimony of Fr. Paul O'Sullivan

In 1909 I had the happiness of visiting the Sanctuary of St. Philomena, bearing a letter of introduction to the custodians from the Papal Nuncio in Portugal, Monsignor (afterwards Cardinal) Tonti.

The good nuns, to whose care the Sanctuary of St. Philomena is committed, received me with such marked kindness and were so anxious that I should know everything about their great Saint that I was induced to prolong my stay for nine full days, listening with pleasure to the many beautiful incidents which the good guardians were pleased to recount. I spent a great part of each day in the Church of the Saint, and the good religious gave me every facility for venerating the precious relics as often and for as long as I pleased. Sometimes I accompanied the pilgrims who had come from afar and, with them, examined and kissed the reliquary containing the blood of the Martyr. Sometimes, when the chaplain was not present, it was my privilege to offer the relic for the veneration of the visitors, and frequently, when the church was closed, I was allowed to extract it from its repository for my private devotion.

The Blood of the Saint
The blood is not in a liquid state but quite dry and in appearance resembles ashes. It is preserved in a small crystal vase which allows the visitor to see it perfectly as though it lay on the palm of one's hand. I had the happiness of examining this priceless treasure as many as thirty or forty times. Each time, without fail, I saw the blood change most marvellously, and the transformation was so clear and distinct as not to allow room for the smallest doubt or misconception.

Precious stones, rubies and emeralds, pieces of gold and particles of silver appeared mingled with the blood. One might shake the reliquary, and again the precious stones appeared, not always in the same way, but still clearly and distinctly. At times, too, small black particles appear, which are supposed to presage some cross or affliction or foretell impending evils. These black particles were very noticeable when the great Pontiff, Pius IX, venerated the blood of the Saint and were supposed to be prophetic of the sorrows in store for the Holy Father.

At times the blood takes the form of black earth, and this appears to denote unworthiness of those who are venerating the relic. One very notable case was that of a priest whose life was far from what the sacred ministry demanded. When he knelt to kiss the reliquary, the blood became very dark. On his departure it regained its natural appearance. Some days later, he fell dead in the midst of a feast.

These extraordinary transformations are witnessed daily by the crowds who flock to the Sanctuary and have been verified and declared authentic by the highest ecclesiastical authorities.

The Miraculous Image
On the left-hand side of the church and in front of the chapel where the blood of the Martyr is preserved lies the wax figure containing the bones of the Martyr. This rests in a magnificent urn, the front of which consists of a crystal plate, enabling the visitor to see the image distinctly.

The figure is clothed in rich robes, and on one of the fingers of the right hand is a massive gold ring, set with a large topaz, which is one of the many gifts sent by St. Pius X to the Saint. The image, like the blood, undergoes extraordinary transformations, which have been witnessed by large numbers of pilgrims and visitors and have been likewise duly authenticated.

The statue in which the bones of the young Martyr are encased was -- when it first came from the hands of the artist -- far from being a work of art. The figure was uncouth; the face was of a morbid white color; the lips were thick and a grimace was noticeable about the mouth. Unfortunately the ebony case made to contain the statue, a gift of the Bishop of Potenza, was too short, and in consequence the position given to the figure was ungraceful. The case was, notwithstanding, closed and sealed, and the key kept in Naples.

The first change noticeable in the statue, took place almost immediately after the arrival of the Saint's relics in Mugnano. The 29th of September, 1805, was fixed as the day when the urn was to be placed on the altar prepared for it. To the surprise of all present, extraordinary changes were visible in the statue, though the seals were found to be intact and the key had remained, as we have said, all the time in Naples.

The awkward position given to the statue was changed for one more graceful; the color of the countenance became delicate and bright; and the grimace about the mouth gave place to a pleasing smile. The form of the statue had become elegant. The hair, the hands and the position of the arrows were all changed.

The next great change took place twenty years after: In 1824 the first case was replaced by one more beautiful. The hair had again changed and was more abundant. The eyes opened several times during the public devotions, and when the statue was placed in the new case, which was nearly a foot longer than the former one, the feet which at first were at some distance from the end, gradually extended themselves so as not to touch the extremity of the case.

A new and very striking prodigy occurred in 1841: The statue was so placed that only the profile could be seen by those standing in front. What was not the astonishment of the vast course of people when one day the face of the Saint, in the presence of all, turned around, so that fully three-fourths of it became visible.

On the 27th of May, 1892, the statue again changed its position in the presence of a whole pilgrimage, and the change was duly authenticated by the ecclesiastical authorities.

During my own stay in Mugnano, I saw the statue changing color very frequently, passing from pale to a light blush and again to a darker red. The lips were sometimes compressed and sometimes opened. No interference with the statue is possible, since it is placed in the wall and closed in by a thick plate of crystal glass and locked with three keys, which are held by three different authorities. One of these is the Bishop of Nola himself.

The Great Statue of the Saint
A third object of interest in the sanctuary of the Shrine is a magnificent statue in wood presented by Cardinal Ruffo-Scilla in 1806, which is used in public processions of the Saint. In the year 1823, during the procession, the bearers of the statue felt that it was unusually heavy, and the pilgrims at the same time remarked that the color of the face was much brighter than usual, giving the statue almost a lifelike appearance.

On the following day a kind of sweat, which filled the air with a fragrant perfume, was seen oozing from the forehead and eyes and falling on the breast, where it gathered round the reliquary which rested on the bosom of the Saint. This prodigy lasted a long time and, as in the case of the others, was seen by multitudes of witnesses and duly examined and authenticated by both the ecclesiastical and civil authorities. For these reasons, the statue is naturally held in the highest veneration by the people.

The Special Sign
But the marvel which made the greatest impression on me during my visit was the following: On the ninth day, I was in a side chapel. The Reverend Mother was speaking to a contractor, further up in the church, regarding some repairs. One of the sisters of the Sanctuary approached me and said quite simply:

"Father, have you seen the sign?"

"What sign?" I asked. "I have seen so many wonders during the days I have been here."

"Oh!" she said, "you haven't got the sign?"

"If it is anything more wonderful than what I have already seen," I replied, "I would not dare to ask for it. It would be presumption on my part."

"Oh! no, no," she answered. "You have come from a long distance and have remained here so many days; the Little Saint must give you the sign."

Saying this, she pulled me gently towards the altar where the urn containing the miraculous image is placed. She had not given me the slightest idea of what this sign consisted of. We knelt in front of the urn and began a short prayer. Suddenly, a sharp report rang out, as if the crystal glass had been struck sharply by something hard. The little sister jumped up, radiant with smiles, and said to me: "Now you have got it." The report was so distinct and sharp that the Reverend Mother, further up in the church, ignorant altogether of what we were about, jumped round and asked, "What is it for?"

"It is for the Father," replied the sister.

This knock is a well-known sign given from time to time to clients of the Saint and is, I am happy to say, looked upon as a special mark of her good pleasure. And surely it was a harbinger of good for me.

Arriving in Rome shortly afterwards, I had a private audience with the saintly Pontiff, Pius X, who manifested the greatest pleasure on hearing of my visit to Mugnano and gave me several marks of his favor, one of which was the permission to say a votive mass weekly in honor of the Saint.

side note: In devotion made at a distance to the dear little Saint, she often responds to prayers with three - very physical - knocks! It sounds like someone knocking three times on something.
I heard these three knocks once, very distinctly, when considering spreading devotion to Philomena.
Also, for all her spectacular manifestations, she does like to hide or remain in secret a lot. She remained hidden and unknown for 1700 years. She also likes to hide while people are praying to her sometimes to test their faith, as seen with other intercessory stories. And then, at other times, she renders help immediately.

Philomena Helps a Beautiful Couple When One Is Dying
A happy home is the reflection of Heaven, and the love which unites the members of a Christian household is a foretaste of the never-ending bliss of the Father's home above. The Baron and Baroness of Lepore were blessed by God with supreme happiness. The union and love which bound these two hearts together was indeed enviable. A great trial, however, was in store for the happy couple. The health of the Baroness began to fail, and soon a fatal illness manifested itself. Medical skill proved unavailing. Remedy after remedy failed to check the course of the disease, and soon death became a question of moments. The feast of the Translation of St. Philomena's relics was being celebrated for the first time in Terlizzi, near the castle where the Baroness lay dying. As life was slowly ebbing away, a friend hastened there with an image of the wonder-working Saint. The Baron eagerly seized it, showed it to the dying lady and touched her with it. She was cured so perfectly that both husband and wife were enabled to start a few days later for Mugnano to thank the dear Little Saint.

Philomena Helps a Dying Child
Two ladies came to me one day and told me that a little friend of theirs was very ill and asked if I would lend them my relic of St. Philomena. It was not convenient for me to give it at the moment. They called again and told me that the child was actually dying and again begged me to lend them the relic. I gave it to them at once.

On arriving at the child's home, they found the little one at the point of death. The mother was frantic with grief and implored the two doctors present to say that there was some hope. They told her frankly that there was none and warned her that the end was very near.

The two ladies arrived at this moment with the relic and placed it near the little sufferer, whose face already wore the hue of death. In a few minutes the worn-out frame showed signs of returning energy, the eyes opened, the breathing became natural and the little one began to play with a pet bird. St. Philomena once more had triumphed over death.

One of those who witnessed the scene begged that the relic might be given to her to take to a friend who likewise lay dying. She was suffering from a fatal tumour, and her doctor had told her plainly to make her last preparations, for any moment might be her last. All he could now do for her was to give some soothing remedies to relieve the pains. The poor patient presented a sad sight, swollen as she was to a huge size.

Her friend brought the relic from the home of the little child and placed it near the sick lady, and, lo, the wondrous power of the Thaumaturga was again put forth so that the sick woman was enabled in a short time to make a long journey to her distant home!

Philomena Helps a Sufferer of Pleurisy
Pleurisy occurs when the double membrane (pleura) that lines the inside of your chest cavity and surrounds each of your lungs becomes inflamed. Also called pleuritis, pleurisy typically causes sharp pain, almost always when you are inhaling and exhaling.

Pleurisy occurs as a complication of a wide variety of underlying conditions. Relieving pleurisy involves treating the underlying condition, if it's known, and taking pain relievers. - Mayo Clinic

I had a grave attack of pleurisy accompanied with excruciating pains, high fever and an irregular pulse. Two and a half pints of liquid had gathered in the pleura, and the case was considered very grave. I had on the cord of the dear Little Saint and felt great confidence in her help.

At the most acute stage of the sickness, two friends heard of my danger and at once a promise to have a novena of Masses said at the Sanctuary of the Saint in Mugnano. They asked the Little Thaumaturga not to wait for the Masses, but to show her power at once. The answer to their prayers was instantaneous. When the doctor, who had left me in great anxiety the previous day, returned and took my pulse, he was manifestly amazed.

"Why," he exclaimed, "your pulse today is like a good English watch! Let us see your temperature." On his examining the thermometer, a new cry of surprise burst from his lips: "My dear Sir, you have not even fever today!" He then proceeded to sound me and found further cause for wonder. The liquid had disappeared from the pleura.

Later on he said to me: "Your recovery is clearly miraculous, and it seems to me a very striking answer to prayer."

Philomena Helps a Little Child Who Fell Down a Well
The following story comes to us from Italy. It will show how efficacious is any object worn in honor of the Saint.

A beautiful statue of the Saint arrived in the town. Among those who gathered to see the image was a ragged little boy, who snatched a bit of paper in which the statue had been wrapped and hid it in his breast as relic of Saint Philomena. Some days later, he fell into a deep well, where he remained for a considerable time. On falling into the well, the little fellow called on St. Philomena. The Virgin Martyr appeared and pulled him out of the water, took him in her arms and held him up.

His companions ran for help, which only arrived after fully an hour. A rope was then let down and the lad cried out: "Pull me up!"

Great was the amazement of the crowd that had gathered when, on the boy's reaching the top, they found that the rope had been most ingeniously fastened around his waist, under the arms, and so cleverly arranged as also to support the feet. It was manifestly impossible that he could have so arranged the rope. He then proceeded to tell them how the Saint had saved him and how, when the rope was lowered, she fastened it around him. He described her minutely and added that she was very like a little girl, a girl of thirteen, standing in the crowd. The poor lad was drenched from head to foot and besmeared with mud, yet the paper he had snatched from the statue and hidden in his chest was perfectly dry.

Philomena Helps a Person with Complicated, Life-Threatening Erysipelas
Sister Malachy, Mercy Convent, L., writes:

"I had a grievous attack of erysipelas, aggravated by other grave complications. My state was desperate, and I received the Last Sacraments. St. Philomena was invoked in my favor, and I was blessed with her relic. Immediately, the fever -- which was at 104 degrees -- fell, so that my temperature in a few hours became normal, and I was pronounced to be out of danger. I attribute it all to St. Philomena."

Erysipelas is a bacterial infection that affects the skin - particularly of the face or legs. In the days before antibiotics, it was especially complicated. Symptoms include blisters; fever, shaking, chills; skin lesions with a raised border; painful, very red, swollen, and warm skin underneath the lesion; sores (erysipelas lesions) on the cheeks and bridge of the nose.
The "other grave complications" she was referring to were the complications associated with the disease: the infection may travel to the blood, spreading to the heart valves, joints and bones. There is also a possibility of return of the infection as well as septic shock - a very serious condition that occurs when an overwhelming infection leads to life-threatening low blood pressure. - From MedlinePlus

Philomena Helps a Person Get Needed Funds
His Lordship the saintly Bishop of Meliapor says:

"I have indeed learned to love St. Philomena and am most grateful to her. She has given me many signs of her powerful intercession. On one occasion, I was in need of funds for my Missionary College, and she obtained for me no less than a sum of 20,000 escudos. On another occasion, we had to begin important improvements in the College of Cucujaes, and these unfortunately threatened to be the cause of serious inconvenience. I promised St. Philomena that if she helped me and had the improvements concluded at a certain date, I would reopen an oratory which had been closed and dedicate it in her honor. She did all I asked her, and I on my part opened the oratory and dedicated it to her. Now I beg you to help me to procure a large and beautiful statue of the dear Little Saint. I wish it to be about six feet high."

Philomena Helps a Couple Stay Together
A young girl called on me some time ago. She was in great grief. She had been engaged to be married and had been intensely happy. Quite unexpectedly and without the slightest fault on her part, all her hopes were shattered and the marriage broken off. I did all I could do to comfort her, and though her grief was poignant, I could not help admiring her magnificent resignation to God's will.

"Go," I said, "to the statue of St. Philomena in the church, and beg her, if it be God's will, to settle this awful difficulty." "What prayer ought I say to her?" she enquired. " Promise," I counselled her, "to make a novena of Communions, and commence at once." Four days later, I was again called down to see a lady. It was my former visitor, radiant with joy. "Father," she said, "it is all right. I began my novena of Communions to St. Philomena, and all difficulties have been overcome, and we shall soon be married."

Philomena Helps an Otherwise Hopeless Surgery
Mademoiselle Helene was suffering for two years from an interior growth, the nature of which the doctors could not ascertain. Finally, the growth reached such a size that the physicians decided to perform an operation,not without fear of the gravest results. The operating surgeon gave the nurses instructions to be prepared for the worst.

During her illness, the good lady had sent up many and fervent prayers to St. Philomena, to whom she was sincerely devoted. Many Masses were said too for her recovery, some of which were offered in the Sanctuary of Mugnano. The good custodians of the Sanctuary joined their hearty supplications with the prayers offered by the priest at the altar.

Mlle Helene's confessor, fully alive to the gravity of the case, gave her a last absolution immediately before the operation took place. He then went to the chapel of the hospital and made the following prayer to St. Philomena: "Dear Saint, if you had wished, you could have prevented the necessity of an operation. Now at least show us by some clear sign that you are with the dear patient. I should like, for instance, that at the conclusion of the operation the doctors should say to me: 'It was a splendid operation,' or, 'Everything went on magnificently.' Make it manifest, dear Saint, that you are with us."

The operation proved to be a very serious one. Doctors and nurses were all surprised at the enormous size of the growth. It succeeded, however, beyond their highest hopes. The patient, strange to say, felt no consequent pains, except the inconvenience caused by the chloroform. The convalescence was rapid and the cure perfect. Immediately after the operation, the confessor went to speak to the doctors, one of whom said at once: "My dear sir, the operation was splendid." Chatting with the second doctor, he in turn said, "Why, everything passed off magnificently." These were the very words stipulated by the priest in his prayer to St. Philomena.

The nurses, learning of this prayer and seeing the marvelous results of the operation, resolved to test the power of the Saint in another very difficult case.

Philomena Helps a Person Never Taught Religion, Dying of a Tumor
A French journalist had been brought to the hospital suffering from a malignant tumour. His soul was suffering quite as much as his body, for though nominally a Catholic -- he had been baptized -- he never received the other Sacraments nor heard Mass. He was not married to the woman he called his wife. Worst of all, the good sisters were strictly forbidden, by the rules of the hospital, to speak of religion unless the patient expressly desired it.

A novena to St. Philomena began. The unfortunate man of his own free will wished to know something about religion. After some days, he went to Confession, communicated and was married.

The doctors attempted an operation but, on seeing the awful state of the tumour, immediately desisted. They saw no possible hope for him.

The novena continued. Days passed, and the patient began to show signs of improvement. The doctors once more attempted an operation and this time with the best results.

The patient in due course left the hospital cured in soul and body.

Philomena Helps a Sufferer of a Cruel Ordeal
One afternoon, the Countess of G. was announced. It did not take me long to see that she was in sore trouble. As I was intimately connected with the family, I enquired: "Countess, you are evidently in trouble. Can I help you?"

"Yes," she answered, "I have to face a very cruel ordeal tonight. It is dreadful." She related the circumstances. I suggested some possible ways of escape. "No, no," she replied, "it is absolutely impossible to get out of it. I have only to face the trouble, but I do dread it."

"Well," I said, "seeing that there is no human hope, why not try St. Philomena?" "It is quite useless. I never remember that a prayer of mine was heard," she replied.

"Try at all events, Countess; promise the Saint a novena of Communions, and we shall see if she will help you."

"I promise," she answered, "but I don't expect anything."

Next morning, her ladyship was again announced, and at an unusually early hour.

"Ah," she said, "this was in truth an answer direct from Heaven! Scarcely had I arrived home after my interview with you last evening than one difficulty after another was removed without the smallest effort on my part, and so I was delivered from that hateful situation."

Philomena Helps a Dying Baby Live
A poor lady of the city of Braga, in the north of Portugal, wrote to me begging for prayers and asking if I could send her a relic or an image of St. Philomena. She had suffered much on the occasion of the birth of her children, all of whom were either born dead or died immediately after birth. She was soon again to give birth to another child and was with good reason in great consternation. She had just read a little work published by me on St. Philomena and was inspired to put all her confidence in the holy Virgin Martyr.

The child was born some time after our interchange of correspondence, and the poor lady asked the nurse how it fared. She answered roughly, "Just like all the rest -- dead, or as good as dead! There is no hope whatever for it." The poor mother then besought a second attendant to touch the baby with the image of the Saint. Immediately, the infant moaned and began to give signs of increasing vitality. In a short time the little one developed into a beautiful baby.

Philomena Helps a Sufferer of Strange Headaches
Mademoiselle Marie Guiao was suffering from acute headaches, which developed symptoms of the gravest kind.

She went, accompanied by her sister, to consult the ablest physicians in the city. During the consulatation, she suddenly fell at the doctor's feet as if dead.

He summoned one of his colleagues, and both made a minute examination of the patient. At its conclusion, he turned to her sister and said: "I have no hopes. She has lost her mind and I fear her life. I can't give the slightest hope of her ultimate recovery. The mind is irrevocably lost, and as far as I can see, there is no chance even that she can live."

She was taken to her home, hovering between life and death. A friend who knew of her great devotion to St. Philomena made a promise to the Saint in her name. The morning found her improved. As her further progress was doubtful, the same kind friend made a further promise to have a novena of Masses said in Mugnano and offered a very generous alms.

The results were wonderful, and when the doctors called to see her, they were astounded. She regained perfect health and soon became as well as ever.

Philomena Helps a Person with Lung-Related Illnesses
My brother-in-law suffered for many years from a weak chest (a person susceptible to colds, flu, asthma and tuberculosis). During this period, he had severe attacks. At the time of which I write, his life was despaired of, so much so that the distinguished physician who attended him warned his wife that there was no hope and that she had better summon those of his friends who wished to see him before death.

When the sad news reached me -- I was living at a long distance away -- I wrote at once and suggested having recourse to St. Philomena. A large picture of the Saint was placed in the poor patient's room and a lamp burned before it.

The arrival of the Saint's picture in the house was the signal for the most abundant graces. Not only did she obtain the dying man's cure, but from that day forward spiritual and temporal blessings have been showered on the family.

Philomena Helps a Bishop Know Her and Receive All He Prayed For
Here is how the Bishop of Algarve came to know St. Philomena:

I published a small work on St. Philomena and sent it to the Bishop of Algarve (now Bishop of Oporto), requesting him to write a few lines of approbation.

The evening before he received my letter and the book, he was with an old friend, who said to him: "I do not know, my Lord, what you'll think of me, but I confess that I have no devotion to the Saints. The Sacred Heart and the Blessed Mother of God are my friends"; but he added, sotto voce, "there is one little exception." The Bishop overheard these last words and said: "If I may enquire who is the little exception?" "St. Philomena, my Lord, and I don't know why. One thing is certain: I never go to bed at night without praying to her."

The book and my letter arrived next morning, and it was with the greatest avidity that His Lordship read the book, for he wanted to know who this St. Philomena was, of whom his old friend had spoken the evening before. He perused the work with intense delight and wrote to me to say that he was coming to stay with us for some days and would willingly give me the approbation I wished for.

In the course of his visit, I met him one evening on the stairs. "Do you know where I have been?" he asked me.

"No, my Lord," I replied.

"Well, I have just been to the church to pay a visit to your St. Philomena. I made a bargain with her to the effect that, if she obtained for me all I asked, I would put her statue in my cathedral and have a special solemn feast celebrated in her honor. Come to my room and I will write the letter of approbation you asked for with all my heart."

Some weeks elapsed and the good Bishop came again to honor our house with his presence. After supper when we were chatting with him, he suddenly turned to me and exclaimed, "She has it!" I did not perceive what he meant, so he said again, "I tell you, she has it!"

"I beg your pardon, my Lord," I replied, "I do not understand. Who is 'she' and what has she got?" "St. Philomena, of course," he answered. "She has got her statue in my cathedral. She did all I asked of her and, by the way, did not allow me to buy the statue, for a good lady of the town had the happy inspiration to offer me one."

I may add that His Lordship is a man of great height and grand physique, big in every way. His ideas and his demands are, I believe, in keeping with his physical build, so that if St. Philomena gave him all he asked, it is fair to infer that she well deserves a statue in his cathedral.

Philomena Helps an Incurable Case of Bone Degeneration and an Incurable Atheist
Mrs. Raymundo suffered for four years from the worst form of Chapter bone disease. She suffered excruciating pains in every part of her body. Her bones became transparent like glass. She could not make the slightest movement, except when a severe spasm of pain shot through her body, and this frequently caused a bone to break. In fact, seven ribs were broken, as well as both arms between the elbow and the wrist. Her collarbone, too, was also badly broken. All her bones were in the state of rapid decay.

She consulted no less than fourteen of the ablest doctors in Portugal, all of whom after using every possible care declared her to be incurable.

At the end of four years she was brought once more to Lisbon to consult a distinguished bone doctor. After seeing the many radiographs [X-rays] and hearing what his fourteen colleagues had said and done, this doctor made a careful examination of the poor patient. He withdrew after his examination and told the husband that all the doctors in the world could do nothing. The disease had already reached an extreme degree and was now attacking the head. She could not possibly live much longer.

Mrs. Raymundo now made a novena to St. Philomena, but at its conclusion felt no better. Notwithstanding this, she commenced a second novena, and on the very first day she received a sign from the Saint, namely, three loud raps on the floor. This filled her with hope and confidence in the Little Saint.

The family asked the Dominican Fathers of Corpo Santo to say a novena of Masses for her intention.

One afternoon her husband came to pray before the statue in the church. He was surprised at seeing a marvelous change of color in the face of the statue and the bright sparkle in the eyes. St. Philomena appeared like a girl in high fever. This was so extraordinary that the poor man sobbed like a child.

On reaching home, he told his daughter what he had seen and declared his conviction that St. Philomena would cure his wife. As Mrs. Raymundo had to go to the hospital in an ambulance for treatment, he asked that one of the Fathers would get into the ambulance at the church door and give the sick lady Holy Communion and then touch her with the relic of St. Philomena. All her hope was in the Little Saint.

This was done, and lo, when the good Father touched the lady with the relic, she was instantly and completely cured! All pains ceased and she was able to move her arms. Strange, she did not realize that she was cured, so that she went on to the hospital, where the doctor saw at a glance the wonderful change in her appearance and exclaimed: "Madam, Madam, what treatment have you been using since I last saw you?"

"I have been using no remedies, Doctor, but I have been praying to St. Philomena," she replied.

"I know nothing of St. Philomena," said the doctor, "but you are as well as I am. Go at once and get a new radiograph."

She did so, and the new radiograph showed a complete and perfect cure.

The surprise in Lisbon was general. The many doctors who had been treating Mrs. Raymundo refused to believe that she was cured. At the invitation of her husband, however, they went to see her. All were dumbfounded at the clear evidence of her cure.

The last doctor she had seen before her cure, the same who declared that all the doctors in the world could not cure her, was a confirmed atheist. On the advice of her confessor, she went to see him. When the servant announced her, he told the man to go back and ask the name again. He could not believe that Mrs. Raymundo was there.

A second time the servant brought the same name, and once more the Doctor sent him back to ask the name. On hearing for the third time, the same name, he was still incredulous, and went himself to the waiting room. On seeing the lady, he got a severe shock and became deadly pale; his eyes filled with tears of emotion, and all he could say was: "Madam, Madam, you are indeed cured." He made no attempt to conceal his surprise, but felt her arms and chest and continued to say: "You are cured, you are indeed cured."

When she was leaving, he begged her to call on him again, as he was most interested in the case. She presented him with a copy of the story of St. Philomena, saying: "Doctor, it was she who cured me."

The doctor, who up to then had ridiculed religion, gladly received the little book. He and the other doctors were deeply impressed by the cure.

Philomena Helps a Bed-Ridden Cripple
The night before the arrival of the relics at Mugnano, a poor man who had been compelled to remain in bed for several months, absolutely unable to work, hearing of the arrival of the remains of the Holy Martyr on the morrow, prayed fervently to the Saint during the night, begging that he might at least be able to see and kiss the precious relic. The Saint seemed deaf to his prayer, for the pains, far from lessening, became more intense. When, however, the bells announced the arrival of the sacred treasure, he dragged himself from bed in spite of his sufferings and made heroic efforts to go and meet the procession. On leaving the house, he was perfectly cured.

For nine days the crowds flocked unceasingly to the church [in Mugnano, Italy,] to venerate the relics, the ninth day being marked by notable miracles.

Philomena Helps a Childless Couple Conceive
Mr. and Mrs. Staplemax had been married four years. Our Lord, in the ways of His Providence had not blessed their union with children. While resigned to His Holy will, they were still eagerly desirous of having at least an heir to their name and property. Their hope, as the years passed, grew gradually lesser.

Hearing of the wonderful power of St. Philomena, of her love for and kindness to her clients, they resolved to place all their confidence in her intercession. They began to invoke her aid and made the promises their devotion suggested.

Little did they guess what wonders the dear Little Saint was to work in their behalf!

In the month of January following, what was not their delight when St. Philomena sent them two beautiful children! In December of the same year, twins were again born to them, so that in twelve months they were the happy parents of four darling children, one for each year of their married lives!

Philomena Helps a Widow with a Crippled Child, Parent with a Blind Child, and an Atheist
A poor widow besought the Saint during Mass to cure her crippled boy who was unable to stand. At the elevation of the Sacred Host, the boy jumped up from where he was and ran to the urn of the Saint's relics to thank her for his cure. At the conclusion of the Holy Sacrifice, the child walked about the town, to the delight of the admiring throngs, who rang bells and beat drums and finally, seizing the boy, bore him in procession through the streets.

The reports of this miracle brought still greater crowds to the afternoon devotions. A poor mother dipped her fingers in the oil of the Saint's lamp and anointed the eyes of her little child who had lost his sight from small pox and whom the doctors declared incurable. The moment the mother anointed the lids, the child recovered its sight.

An atheist was so profoundly moved at the sight of this new prodigy that he had the blessed light of faith restored to him. He declared himself a believer and gave large donations for the building of a church in honor of the Saint.

Philomena Helps a Crippled Child, Blind Man, and a Blind Girl
... a lady brought her crippled daughter to the Sanctuary and, cutting off the child's curls, hung them near the urn of the Saint's relics, making at the same time a generous offering to the Sanctuary. There was no apparent response at the moment, but on her return home the child, to the amazement and delight of all present, left the carriage and walked into the house. She had regained the perfect use of her limbs.

A blind man came and gave a valuable ring as an ex voto offering, confident that he would be cured. Nothing happened in the Sanctuary, but on reaching home, he recovered the full use of his eyes.

A blind girl, twenty years of age, whom the Neapolitan doctors declared beyond the reach of all human aid, came to Mugnano. Entering the church, she declared that she would not leave it until she was cured.

Her faith was put to a rigorous test, for all her prayers seemed in vain. She, on her part, only grew more persistent and refused to leave the church for dinner. In the evening, when the Sanctuary was being closed, she found herself obliged to seek a lodging for the night. Lo! As she was leaving the church, a faint glimmer of sight was given her. Next day she returned and remained the whole day in prayer. Again, on leaving at night, she saw much better, but still imperfectly. On the third day, about noon, she saw more clearly still. At evening time her sight was entirely restored so that she threaded a small needle with the finest thread.

Cures of body and mind now began to follow in quick succession, not only in the Sanctuary but at great distances from it.

Philomena Helps a Woman Give Birth and Sick Baby Live
Dear Father:

I have received recently two great blessings from St. Philomena. My wife suffers dreadfully on the occasion of the birth of our children, though she has the assistance of the most competent nurses.

On the last occasion, she suffered even more than usual, but we placed the medal of St. Philomena on her neck, and, thank God, our baby was born under the happiest circumstances possible, and without any medical assistance, for doctor and nurse failed us at the last moment. It seemed as though St. Philomena herself came to our rescue.

Five days later the child fell so grievously ill that both our doctors feared the case was hopeless. Again we appealed to St. Philomena, who restored the baby to splendid health.

I feel that you will be pleased to hear this good news, and I too should be grateful if you published the facts in thanksgiving to the dear Wonder-Worker.

Your’s sincerely,

T. Mattos

Philomena Helps a Woman Who Was All Alone Give Birth to Her Child
A young mother was suffering intense pains when giving birth to her child. Unfortunately, she was all alone. A beautiful young girl suddenly appeared by her side and asked if she could do anything to help her. Her presence itself proved enough to allay all pain. When the young girl took her leave, the poor woman asked her name. "I am Philomena; they call me Philomena of Mugnano." The appearance of the Saint was so natural that it did now awaken the smallest suspicion in the mind of the sufferer of who she really was. On telling a friend of the unexpected visit, she learned that a Saint of that name had come to Mugnano from Rome. When she was better, accompanied by her friend, she made a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary. Glancing at the image of the Saint, she at once exclaimed: "It is she! It is she! Yes, she was my celestial visitor!"

Philomena Helps an Ill and Dying Person
A distinguished lawyer of Naples, Don Allessandro Serio, who had a property near Mugnano suffered many years from a dangerous internal illness. He and his wife came to Mugnano to beg for his cure. They followed all the exercises of the novena which was being celebrated. The Saint, however, seemed deaf to their supplications, for on the 8th day of the novena, Don Allessandro was taken ill, and he had to be removed to his lodgings, where he speedily sank into unconsciousness, so that he was unable to make his confession. His wife, in the extremity of her grief, seized a picture of St. Philomena and called on the saint for help. She only asked that the invalid might be able to confess, for she now despaired of a cure, which in all truth seemed impossible. She promised a marble altar to the Saint if this favor were granted. Scarcely had the prayer been made, when Don Allessandro regained his senses and began his confession, during which he was completely restored to health.

Mindful to the promise, the altar was ordered to be made. A new wonder was in store for the happy couple. One of the masons, when giving the last touches to the table of the altar, struck it so roughly that, to the consternation of all, it was broken in two pieces, leaving between the parts of a large fissure fully the width of a finger. The unfortunate workman tried to remedy the break with cement, but the Little Saint herself came to the rescue, and the marble became most perfectly joined, leaving only a line or vein as a mark of the prodigy. This wonder was testified to by many witnesses, and an inscription commemorating it was placed in the church.

Philomena Helps a Woman Who Wanted to Conceive but Was Too Ill to Bare a Child
Louis de Mariconéoit, a Frenchman, married an English girl. The marriage proved to be an ideally happy one. But the joy was short-lived, for after six months, the young bride became seriously ill. She earnestly longed for the happiness of being a mother, but the doctors declared that her state of health made such a thing absolutely impossible. The young couple came to the neighborhood of Naples in the hope of a cure. Unfortunately, any little hope they had entertained was soon rudely dispelled. The patient's condition grew rapidly worse. Hearing of the marvelous cures wrought at Mugnano, she shut herself up one day in her own room and, falling on her knees, poured forth this short and fervent prayer to St. Philomena: "Since my condition is desperate, from the human point of view, and since I have no earthly hope left, I place all my confidence in you and trust that you will cure me, for you are powerful in Heaven and are good to all who seek your help. Despite my sufferings, I will go tomorrow to visit you in Mugnano, and I will ask you not only to restore me to health but to grant me the blessing of becoming a mother, and I will give my child the name of Philomena. Moreover, I promise to direct all the yearnings of its young heart towards God."

The following day, she visited the Saint's shrine and made her prayer with great confidence. A year later, she returned in perfect health, the happy mother of a beautiful child. Countless mothers like her have to thank St. Philomena for similar favors.

Philomena Helps a Dying Priest
His Lordship, the Bishop of Lucena, was much in need of a professor of sacred eloquence for his diocesan seminary. The priest on whom his choice fell was Canon Vincent Redago. But the appointment was manifestly impossible, for the Canon was far advanced with consumption and already had frequent hemorrhages. His state was so grave that he was preparing himself for death, which he recognized could not be far distant. What was the poor man's surprise when the Bishop announced his nomination! "What, my Lord!" he exclaimed, "have you the power to cure me?" "No," replied the Bishop, " I have not, but there is someone else who has. See, I bring a picture of Saint Philomena. Recommend yourself to her and you will get the health necessary to perform the duties I impose on you." The Canon took the picture and placed it lovingly on his breast. He was instantly cured and perfectly able to undertake the task placed on him by the Bishop.

Philomena Helps a Deafmute Sculptor
A young sculptor lost the use of speech and hearing for close to 20 years. Aware of the prodigies wrought by the dear Thaumaturga [miracle-worker], he made a novena to her during Holy Week. It was in the year 1837. On Holy Thursday night, he seemed to see St. Philomena surrounded by a throng of heavenly spirits and smiling at him. Delirious with joy, he uttered a great cry -- he was cured. Shortly afterwards he went to Mugnano to pour out his grateful thanks at the Shrine of his heavenly benefactress.

Philomena Helps a Child Be Born in Good Health
A good Irish lady was sorely tried by God. To her great grief, four children, one after the other, were born dead. When the fifth was expected, she was filled with consternation and begged her sister, a nun, to pray for her. Her sister replied by recommending a novena to Saint Philomena, in which she herself promised to join. Shortly afterwards, a beautiful child, full of life and health, was born. In accordance with her promise she called the child Philomena.

Philomena Helps a Skeptic and One Who Persists in Praying to the Saint
My dear Helen,

I read the nice little book you sent me, St. Philomena -- The Wonder-Worker, and began at once to pray to the dear Saint. At first she did not seem to listen to my prayers.

I spoke of the book to our Rector, who was seemingly not much impressed with what I said. He appeared to be rather sceptical regarding Saint Philomena. When next I saw him, he was suffering from a sharp attack of influenza, with the usual disagreeable symptoms. I sent him the book, which he commenced to read. The story of the Saint's marvelous power impressed him strongly, and laying down his book, he said: "St. Philomena, cure me, and I will spread your devotion." He was at once cured and is now keeping his promise; he has passed on the book to a sick parishioner and has said Mass in honor of the Wonder-Worker.

Another Letter from the Same Client of the Saint

Since my last letter, I am glad to say that our dear Saint has done wonders for me. May she be forever blessed. My sister, Mrs. Rosewat, has wonderful faith in and love for her. She has sold hundreds of copies of the little book. What favors will she not receive?

Philomena Helps a Non-Catholic Dying Child and a Person with Health Problems
My excuse for troubling you with this letter is that I am a most grateful client of St. Philomena. I read the delightful book, St. Philomena -- The Wonder-Worker, and it brought me great comfort and help. The Saint has done wonders for me. Let me just mention three facts. Some time ago, I was suffering from a bad nervous breakdown, and though I consulted several eminent physicians, I got no relief. I read of St. Philomena's "pill." This, as you know, is the popular title for the tiny prayer printed on fine paper and swallowed or mixed with one's food. I believe they come from the Sanctuary. At the same time, I commenced a novena for the Saint's feast of August 11. From the very beginning, I felt an improvement, which gradually increased and ended in my complete recovery; this was the cause of great astonishment to my friends.

The Almighty was pleased to send me still another cross in the shape of a very grave and painful illness, as a result of which I suffered from such weakness in my legs that, without any previous warning, I used suddenly to fall. I now promised St. Philomena to wear her cord, and begged her to cure me if such was God's will. She again came to my help, and I am once more well and happy, thank God.

A poor non-Catholic woman had her little girl at death's door. I spoke to her of St. Philomena and of the power of a Mass offered in her honor. Though very poor, she gave me a small stipend for the Mass, which a holy priest celebrated at my request. At once the danger passed, and the child is quite recovered. The poor mother tells everyone of the marvelous cure.

In thanksgiving I got a large statue of the Saint and offered it to our church.

These are a few of the many favors which I owe to this great Saint.

A Miraculous Multiplication of Books
The good priest, Don Francisco di Lucia, who had received the relics, wished to make known the wonders worked for them. For this purpose he wrote a short narrative of the principal events connected with the history of the Saint. This book was being sold rapidly, and the author, wishing to retain some copies for private distribution, sent to Naples for those that remained. They were in all 221. He placed them on the table in five little piles, four of which he covered so as to protect them from the dust. The fifth pile he left uncovered, as the book was in constant demand. For five or six months, he continued to distribute the books freely (to the number of several hundred), always taking them from the uncovered pile, without adverting to the fact that he was taking many more from the pile that it originally contained.

On his return to his house one evening, he was greatly astonished to find the floor of his room, which had been locked, covered with books. As there was no human explanation forthcoming, the good priest thought that it was St. Philomena who had scattered the books as a sign that they were not pleasing to her. However, on examination, he found that of the books on the table those under cover were just as he had placed them, being forty-five in each group. In the fifth pile, from which he had already taken so many hundreds, quite unconscious that they were being multiplied, there were still nineteen copies left. He now looked over his accounts and found that from this pile he had taken more than 500 books. He next counted the books on the floor and found that they were seventy-two. Other miraculous multiplications took place several times, not only in Mugnano, but in other places as well. These were followed later on by multiplications of the Saint's pictures.

A far different kind of miracle occurred with regard to her relics. Some of those who had received relics did not treat them with sufficient love and respect. What was not their amazement when, on examining their reliquaries, they found that though these were sealed, the relics had disappeared -- to be discovered in the urn containing the bones of the Saint when next this was unlocked.

Never have I seen a sanctuary so full of wonders, so alive with the atmosphere of the supernatural, where one sees so palpably heavenly manifestations, as in Mugnano. I do not mean to claim greater things for it than for other sanctuaries, but, as the dear Little Saint's special prerogative seems to consist in her amazing power of miracles and in the extraordinary abundance of favors which she so generously dispenses to her clients, so her sanctuary is especially distinguished for the constant, visible and striking signs which the Almighty is pleased to work in it.

Luke Chapter 9, the multiplication of the loaves

[13] But he said to them: Give you them to eat. And they said: We have no more than five loaves and two fishes; unless perhaps we should go and buy food for all this multitude. [14] Now there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples: Make them sit down by fifties in a company. [15] And they did so; and made them all sit down.

[16] And taking the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed them; and he broke, and distributed to his disciples, to set before the multitude. [17] And they did all eat, and were filled. And there were taken up of fragments that remained to them, twelve baskets.

Shrine Outside of Mugnano and Their Miraculous Stories
Pauline Marie Jaricot and the Curé of Ars were the chief instruments used by Divine Providence for spreading the devotion of St. Philomena, not only in France, but in Germany, England, Ireland and the Low Countries. The thousands of visitors who came to Ars learned the devotion from the lips of M. Vianney himself and returned to their respective countries, taking back with them the story of the wonders worked by the Saint.

We will mention a few instances of the rapid growth of the devotion, thus enabling our readers to see how easily they themselves may establish it in their own homes and parishes.

In Paris the devotion began very simply. A gentleman who had received a striking favor from St. Philomena offered an image of the Saint to the Church of St. Gervais. This was exposed for the veneration of the faithful, who speedily had reason to recognize in the abundance of favors received the extraordinary power of the new Saint. The cult of the Saint increased so rapidly that in a short time it was found necessary to dedicate one of the side chapels in her honor.

Crowds attended the devotion, and during the novena in preparation for the feast, the church was filled to overflowing by multitudes of the faithful. Many are the stories recounted by the clients of the Saint of the marvels she worked for them. Cures and conversions became frequent; blessings, temporal and spiritual, were received; astounding answers to prayer became so numerous as to cease to cause surprise.

During the time of the Paris Commune (May, 1871), her protection was most especially manifested. The outrages perpetrated in the close vicinity of St. Gervais

were some of the most horrible that took place at this awful time. The communists made several efforts to destroy the church itself but were always foiled in their nefarious attempts. Finally they came in great force under cover of darkness and commenced a thorough sack of the building. All seemed lost when, strange to say, one of their own number hastened for help and drove them out of the sacred edifice.

Though all the buildings in the neighborhood became one vast conflagration, St. Gervais alone stood intact, a silent but eloquent witness to the power of St. Philomena.

Thirteen lamps burn by day and night on the altar, commemorating the thirteen years of the mortal life of the Saint. The oil from these lamps is frequently demanded for use by the sick, and very remarkable indeed are the cures it effects. Each evening a special service is held in honor of the Saint, consisting of prayers, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and frequently a panegyric [sermon of praise] on the Saint. The Archconfraternity of St. Philomena established in the church counts upwards of 8,000 members.

Sempigny in 1830 was a poor parish. The Archbishop of Paris sent a relic of St. Philomena to the church, and this was placed on a wooden altar. A candle which was lighted in honor of the Saint caused a fire, which consumed the entire woodwork of the altar, but seemed to respect the relics. These were untouched by the flames. One of the clients of St. Philomena consoled the poor people of the village at their loss, saying: "She who has already so marvelously shown her power will doubtless provide an altar for herself." And so it came to pass, for shortly after the fire, a young man of ample means read by chance a page torn from the life of the Saint and became so deeply interested in it that he wanted to know more about her. On inquiry, he was informed that she was much honored in Sempigny. Thither he repaired and, while praying before the relic, felt an extraordinary inspiration. It seemed that the holy virgin bade him restore the altar, promising him in return her special protection. The conviction was so vivid that he exclaimed: "I wish for no earthly union, but to take thee, dear Saint, as my sister and my spouse." Whereupon he heard the answer: "Yes, indeed, I will be thy sister and thy spouse, and the Blessed Virgin, my Mother, will be thy Mother also."

He at once set to work and not only restored the altar but the entire church. The Saint on her part showered the most marvelous blessings on her new friend and worked extraordinary prodigies, as well in favor of the people of the district as for the immense crowds of pilgrims who now began to flock to Sempigny from all parts.

Thivet is another sanctuary of St. Philomena, and the devotion was introduced there through the instrumentality of a young man. He was grievously ill and was despaired of by the doctors, who gave him up for lost. Unable to make the journey himself, he begged a good priest to go to Ars and solicit his cure. His envoy accordingly set out and said Mass at the altar of St. Philomena, after which he repaired to the tomb of the holy Curé, who had died a short time previously. There he heard a voice, as if issuing from the tomb, telling him that the sick man would be cured if St. Philomena were honored in the neighborhood where he lived. So startling was the impression that the priest turned cold and began to tremble in every limb. This impression, far from lessening, became more intense. Accepting the compact, he speedily set about establishing the devotion, having obtained a relic of the Saint from Miss Jaricot. Shortly afterwards, the patient was perfectly restored to health and in company with his priest-friend made a pilgrimage to Ars to thank St. Philomena. Just as in other places where her devotion was introduced, favors, blessings, graces of all kinds began to be showered on the people. An association in the Saint's name was established, which included in a short time thousands of members from all over France.

Let not our readers imagine that the instances we have given are exceptional; they are rather the rule. The advent of the Saint to a church or district is the signal for the most amazing blessings.

The wonders wrought in some of the sanctuaries of St. Philomena are so marvelous as almost to rival those of Mugnano itself.

Would only that priests could be induced to place a statue of the Saint in their churches. She herself would do the rest.

God Punishes Those Who Mock Saint Philomena's Intercession and Those Who Do Not Fulfill Their Promises to Her
Daughter of BoldRadish: It is better to not make a promise to the Saint for a favor, but rather just do works as you are inspired to do them, or say prayers as you are inspired to pray them, than to make a promise to her and not fulfill it. As it is written in Ecclesiastes, Chapter 5:

Be not hasty in your utterance and let not your heart be quick to utter a promise in God's presence. God is in heaven and you are on earth; therefore let your words be few. As dreams come along with many cares, so a fool's voice along with a multitude of words. When you make a vow to God, delay not its fulfillment. For God has no pleasure in fools; fulfill what you have vowed. It is better not to make a vow than make it and not fulfill it. Let not your utterances make you guilty, and say not before his representative, “it was a mistake.” Why should God be angered by your words and destroy the works of your hands? Despite many dreams, futilities, and a multitude of words, fear God!

I have, with my own eyes, witnessed people punished severely for rejecting her or ridiculing her or her servants, especially those who have seen miracles she has worked and then rejected her. Everything from destroyed lives to actual death. But I have seen this in people's lives who blaspheme God, or take His Name in vain, not just those who reject Philomena. Any rejection of His Goodness, or arrogance on their part, especially after seeing His Goodness but still hating Him; any saying “There is no God, I Am God!” or any saying, “God will not punish me,” has resulted in people's lives really falling apart. I believe it is one of the reasons for the economic downturn: God is punishing so many people who ignore Him, ridicule Him, hate Him, try to take His place, play with the occult, and/or take His Name in vain. This is because God made us, He is infinitely good and merciful (but still just, punishing those who would hurt others, for if someone would hate God Who is perfect, they are always viciously cruel to humans who are imperfect), and we owe Him praise and thanksgiving, as the center of our lives, which wouldn't exist if not for Him and which fall apart without His help. From Zechariah Chapter 5:

Then I raised my eyes again and saw a flying scroll. God asked me, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a flying scroll, twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide.” Then he said to me: “This is the curse which is to go forth over the whole land. According to it, every thief and every perjurer* will be expelled. I will send it forth—oracle of the LORD of hosts—so that it will come to the house of the thief, and into the house of the one who swears falsely by my name.b It shall lodge within each house, consuming it, timber and stones.”

I have also witnessed that those who don't thank God for graces received, but who use gifts He has given them to sin and cause others to sin, or to otherwise hurt people, have those gifts taken away.

Back to quoting Fr. Paul O'Sullivan:

Promises Not Fulfilled
Father Sebastian Bowden of the Oratory, in the little work he edited on St. Philomena, relates the following incidents, which are well worth our serious attention.

A married woman who had suffered for twelve years from an incurable malady, which had cost her such large sums that she was reduced to poverty, said one day before a miraculous picture of the Saint: "My Saint, if you are so powerful before God, let this evil pass from me, and I promise you 'such and such a gold ornament,'" naming one that was worth more than ten ducats. No sooner had she made this promise than she was entirely healed, and she herself promulgated this favor.

But for three months, she refused to fulfill her promise. Her husband endeavoured to persuade her to do so for conscience sake, and at length she offered, not the ornament she had promised, but another worth only two ducats. In that moment her disease broke out with greater violence than before, and not all the prayers that were offered for her could again obtain her cure.
There lived at Montemarano a husband and wife who had no children. They had recourse to St. Philomena, and they vowed that if they were blessed with a daughter they would call her Philomena and carry her to Mugnano to thank the Saint. Their request was granted, and they fulfilled the first part of the vow, but not the second. The husband wished to accomplish it, but the wife turned a deaf ear to this entreaties.

The little Philomena was more than two years old, beautiful and clever. Hearing that a feast was to be celebrated in Castelvetere, a neighbouring village, in honor of St. Philomena, the wife said she would take the child there to fulfill the vow, instead of to Mugnano. The husband protested, but she insisted and went to spend the feast at Castelvetere. That same night at bedtime, the little Philomena ran up to her parents, contrary to custom, and kissed them both; then, calling them Papa and Mama, she suddenly expired. In their terrible consternation, the parents hastened to Mugnano to appease the just anger of the Holy Martyr, lest worse should befall; and there they related that they had previously had several terrible warnings and punishments from which they had been delivered by renewing their vow, and yet they had never fulfilled it till then.
St. Philomena is so desirous to show us favors that she not only rewards those who propagate devotion to her, but even chastises those who refuse to make her known.

An Archdeacon of Ascoli, in Italy, received a relic of the Saint from a lady who begged him to spread the devotion to her. But believing that there was more of natural zeal than of true devotion in the request, he shut up the relic and even refused it to the Bishop, who wished to use it for a solemn feast in honor of the Saint. This refusal was much talked of, and he was warned that some punishment would befall him. He replied that he had no fear of the Saints -- who wish us well -- and that if it was the will of God, some sign would be vouchsafed him.

St. Philomena took him at his word, and on the third of May, 1832, at noonday, the light seemed to fade from his eyes, the objects in the room gradually disappeared, and he became totally blind. This was no attack of giddiness; there was no natural cause for it -- it was something more; it was supernatural. His thoughts turned at once to St. Philomena, the refusal of her relic and the threatened chastisement. His hand sought the reliquary and he prayed fervently to the Saint. But his blindness lasted. Overwhelmed by the thought that it might be forever, he rose to seek consolation elsewhere.

But he said to himself: "If it be the will of God, should I not be content? But how can there be contentment or joy for a creature plunged in darkness, for whom the light of Heaven shines in vain?" Unable to calm his agitation, he returned in half an hour to his oratory and began to pray to the Saint with full confidence of being heard. Then, as he took the relic to bless himself, the darkness instantly vanished. He read the inscription on the reliquary: Ex ossibus et indusio S. Filumenae, V. et M. ["from the bones and garment of St. Philomena, Virgin and Martyr"], and his sight returned completely.

In the fullness of his heart he poured forth his thanksgivings to St. Philomena, then hastened to his bishop. The Bishop carefully took down his deposition of the miracle, and the Archdeacon became the introducer and fervent promoter of the devotion to the holy Martyr in Ascoli, where she worked many striking miracles.

Derision Punished
Very severe punishments fall upon those who deride her miracles and who, led astray by the desolating philosophy of the present day, pride themselves upon being unprejudiced and hold that to believe things contrary to the ordinary laws of nature is fit only for the credulous and those of weak minds. Many of these have been struck down by unknown and incurable diseases. Numbers have died at the very moment they were deriding the wonders worked by God through this Saint. Many families of high station, full of this pride, were reduced to poverty, and on the contrary in consequence of these events, some of the most devoted to the Saint are those who were formerly among the indevout.

In a great city the first feast of St. Philomena was being celebrated with much splendour. A certain ecclesiastic, seeing the rejoicing and fervour, said contemptuously, "Did we want another Saint here? Have we not feasts enough?" And murmuring thus, he went home. The bystanders were much shocked and began whispering among themselves that the Saint would not leave him unpunished. The words were scarcely out of their mouths when they beheld his servants running in search of doctors, for he had been struck down by a mortal illness and lay as it dead upon the ground. He shortly after expired.
For several years, two rich men in Naples had carried on a lawsuit against a village of poor peasants; the latter implored the aid of St. Philomena, their patron. Justice was already inclining to their side, on which lay the right. But by cunning craft and by interest, the brothers gained their cause -- to the ruin and desolation of the poor villagers. Again they had recourse to St. Philomena, but the haughty brothers derided them, saying, "Now we shall see what St. Philomena will do for you. We are coming to the country and then you will see if St. Philomena can deliver you." To these impious words a poor woman employed in their house replied: "Gentlemen, do not outrage the Saint. She is not like one of us; you cannot mock her with impunity."

"What will she so to us?" said they jeeringly, and the poor woman replied, "She can deprive you of life before you set foot in our village."

To this their only answer was scorn, and they set forth. As they drew near the last village before arriving at their journey's end, their carriage leaned to one side and nearly fell down a precipice, but just escaped being overturned. This so affected one of the brothers that he was forced to stop in that village to rest, and in less than an hour he was a corpse. This made a terrible impression upon his brother, and he also, although up to that moment in perfect health, fell down dead before the body of his brother had grown cold.

This event spread in all those parts the glory of St. Philomena and the power of her protection; and those poor villagers who had been saved by her repaired to her shrine to pray, in the goodness of their hearts, for the repose of the souls of their oppressors.