Today, we celebrate Saint Philomena, our patron for safety during pregnancy and the careful overseer of women in labor.
Not too much is known about Saint Philomena. Her remains were discovered at the catacomb of Saint Priscilla in Rome in the 19th century. It’s likely she was martyred because when her relics were discovered stones were atop, perhaps indicating Saint Philomena was stoned to death.
Her relics were then stored away and since no one knew anything about her, it was likely Saint Philomena would just stay in storage forever. That’s not what happened though! Her barren bones would have new life and Saint Philomena was born again!
One day, a man named Francis de Lucia was at the Vatican where the “Treasuries of Relics” were stored, including Saint Philomena’s. When Francis observed Philomena’s relics he went into spiritual ecstasy. That would have been interesting to observe! Afterward, he asked for the relics to be brought to his town (Mugnano, in Italy) and stored in a Chapel there. His request was granted.
Shortly after Saint Philomena’s relics were brought to Mugnano miracles began occurring near her shrine. Healing of wounds and cures for cancer were recorded. Finally, what is now known as the “Miracle of Mugnano” took place. Venerable Pauline Jaricot’s severe heart ailments were cured overnight!
Many people, religious or not, took a keen interest in saint Philomena. Saint Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney is said to have had a childlike devotion to Saint Philomena. (I’ll tell you about accidentally acquiring his relics at a sidewalk yard sale in St. Remy, France, in a future newsletter). Saint Jean Baptiste called Philomena the “New Light of the Church Militant.” The phrase is palpable; SaintsforSinners ~ SaintsforHOPE is hopefully following the message.