Dear Devotees of Saint Philomena,

Today I send you the first in a series of newsletters that document the many miracles of Saint Philomena I also want to announce we are having our Summer Clearance sale in the gift shop here at the Sanctuary.

It is important to remember that the devotional items in our shop are designed especially for the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena in Mugnano del Cardinale, Italy. They are authentic symbols of Our Little Saint and have been blessed by the Rector of the Sanctuary before shipped to you to use in your personal appeals to Saint Philomena for her assistance in your life and to spread knowledge of her Power with God among those who will be uplifted by her story. For a limited time only, I am offering a thirteen percent off all devotional items, for one week only and guaranteed deliver before the great feast on August 10, 2014.

For many Saints, the veneration of the faithful finds important foundation in the edifying events of their earthly life. For Saint Philomena, things were different, since there were no records about her short life until her martyrdom in the prime of her life. Therefore, Saint Philomena has ascended to the glory of the Altars not for what we concretely know about her brief earthly existence, but for the countless graces and miracles that God has lavished through her powerful intercession. Because she lived her life focusing on the love of Christ, she became very dear to God’s divine heart. What is missing in the veneration of Saint Philomena, regarding historic records, is abundantly compensated for by the richness and multiplicity of the miracles she performed thanks to her intercession from the day of the translation of her bones from Rome to Mugnano. Rightly, Pope Gregory XVI defined her as the “Thaumaturge of the XIX century”.

Everyone who gets close to her with faith is helped in body and soul. For example, the miracles performed by the Saint in Ars were so many that the pious parish priest John Marie Vianney had to pray that these would diminish in order not to be distracted from the caring of souls.

From the many miracles performed, we have chosen just a few of them which we will divide in two groups. In the first group (see below) we will place the extraordinary, and at the same time, widely corroborated by official acts and authoritative recognitions. In the second (sending to you next week) we will place the healings, and although reported by people worthy of trust, these can give rise to some uncertainty for lack of documentation.

Msgr. Giovanni Braschi
Rector of the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena
Custodian of her Sacred Body

Miracles corroborated by official acts and authoritative recognitions from Popes, Bishops, and important people.

At Saint Philomena’s tomb, a lamp is constantly burning and its oil is donated every year to a different Italian or worldwide city. Some faithful, anointed with the oil of this lamp, have been healed. For these prodigies “the devotion of Saint Philomena’s oil” was born, which is used to anoint the sick part of a body, for which the healing is invoked through the intercession of the Saint.

Miracle of the healing of the Franciscan Sister Maria Gesualda Garelli.
When Msgr. Anselmo Basilici, on June 16, 1835, came to Rome to the Holy See to report to the Pope about the prodigy of Saint Philomena’s Relics, the Saint was already highly venerated and well known in Rome.

Amongst the many miracles performed in the Eternal City, we remember the one about the Franciscan Sister Maria Gesualda Carelli, because it was certified by two eminent Cardinals.

This religious Franciscan had received the last Sacraments because she was so ill that she could no longer open her eyes and feed herself. Everybody was just waiting for her to die.
When her confessor applied on the agonizing face an image of Saint Philomena, instantaneously Sister Maria Gesualda sat on the bed and shouted; “I’m healed!”.
The Cardinal Galeffi, protector of the monastery of the Saints Cosma and Damiano, ascertained the healing on the spot and Cardinal Zurla, vicar of His Sanctity, dealt with the necessary legal information .

Miraculous healing of Giovanna Cescutti (Venice, 1835) for the intercession of Saint Philomena.
This miracle happened a month before the one equally astonishing of the healing of Pauline Jaricot at the Sanctuary in Mugnano del Cardinale, which , as previously mentioned, amazed Don Francesco De Lucia himself. This miracle echoed throughout Italy, also because a noble Neapolitan was its witness: Don Gennaro Caracciolo dei Duchi di Rodi (Dukes of Rodes), knight to His Majesty Ferdinand II of Bourbon, King of Naples, who was greatly devoted to Saint Philomena together with the Royal family, and who was also a benefactor of our Sanctuary which he visited in numerous occasions. After the Miracle, the Venetian Curia had written an official and thorough report on the exceptional event, outlined in legal format, with the proper stamps and signatures, and assigned Cavalier Caracciolo to deliver it to Don Francesco De Lucia, guardian of the Sacred Body of the glorious Martyr. Here is a summary of the content of the document. Giovanna Cescutti, was a young woman of about 20 years of age who lived in Venice. She suffered various illnesses which could not be cured. She suffered extreme pains which often left her at death’s door. One day she was stricken by a sudden illness, she was at the end of her tether. In the evening of the 6th of July 1835 the parish priest of Santa Maria del Giglio, Don Antonio Magnana, who had been assisting the woman for a long time, call in her family to recite << to Saint Philomena a prayer, which was barely voiced by the sick woman who was so weak that could follow him only with her mind and heart>>. It was around 11 in the evening and the parish priest, ended the prayers of the sick and thinking that the woman had passed away, asked the people there to recite together 3 Our Fathers in honor of Saint Philomena. <<Once it was over, Prodigy! (The young one said). She got up from her supine position in which she had been laying the whole day, and with clear and vigorous voice she proclaimed: Oh Dear! I am better, thanks to God I am in good health again after 10 years suffering!>> This instant recovery from all her incurable illnesses was of great amazement to all and it was confirmed by well known doctors. On the 16th of July 1835 the miraculously cured woman went to Santa Maria del Giglio to <<thank solemnly God in the Church>>. An epigraph in Latin was also placed in the Church praising Saint Philomena. By coincidence on the same day in which Cavalier Caracciolo came to Mugnano to deliver the document detailing the miracle to Don F. De Lucia, Mons. Ferretti apostolic nuncio of Naples came. He brought a splendid golden silver lantern sent by Pope Gregory XVI with other precious gifts. The other primate read the important document delivered from Venice and astonished by the miracle obtained for the intercession of Saint Philomena, asked for a copy because he thought the event was worthy to be know everywhere.

Miracle of Pauline Marie Jaricot and her statement.
After the hearing granted to Mons. Anselmo Basilici, who had informed him of the many miracles of Saint Philomena, and after the approval of the Congregation of Rites (1834) to grant the Mass “de Communi” and the Office with his own fourth lesson, Pope Gregory XVI, conscious of the situation and its delicacy, before approving the decree of the Sacred Congregation, decided to wait for some other miracle. It arrived with the astonishing healing of Pauline Jaricot, who had founded in Lyon, the Living Rosary and the l’Opera della Propagazione della Fede (Society for the Propagation of the Faith).

Struck by violent illness, Jaricot, paralytic and nearly dying, came on pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Mugnano, where she arrived on August 8, 1835, brought on a chair. According to some witnesses she already looked like a cadaver. She remained for two days in prayer in front of the urn of Saint Philomena. On August 10th, during the blessing with the Most Holy Sacrament, she had the sensation of having been healed; she got up and walked without any support. This is how the Servant of God describes the event;

“For many years I had been affected by various illnesses, so serious, that I had no hope of healing as established by a consultation of the doctors of Lyon, who asserted that the resurrection of the dead would have been a miracle of the Most High, and my health, for the incurable illnesses, required more miracles, and big ones.

“But what scared me most of all, and made me tremble every moment with the possibility of imminent death, was an aneurysm of the heart, with which I had suffered for many years, and that especially for the past fifteen months caused me deadly heart palpitations that took my breath away and forced me to stay nearly always in bed. The doctors considered my life like a daily prodigy because the blood that palpitated in my heart, would strike back in my chest, where a sore had generated, which would constantly make me sick with rotten blood, which gave off an intolerable smell even for myself, and I had developed an enormous obstruction in my liver that caused an enormous swelling of my whole body, from the soles of my feet to my neck, as everybody could see.

“Everybody was moved to compassion, especially the people in Mugnano, who kept observing me the whole time preceding the miracle.

“In this mortal state I had some moments of improvement, but only after the Novenas in honor of Saint Philomena, from devoted people, who for pity took an interest in me.

“My state of immobility in bed, and the aneurysm, the enormous swelling, would not even allow my hand to bring food to my mouth, which I had to receive from other people’s hands. All this was mitigated by Saint Philomena in honor of her merciful, and worthy patronage, in virtue of which, I had unexpected strength of holding in my hands a book, which talked about her, her martyrdoms, and her miracles, and I managed all this without provoking the deadly illnesses, which would return, especially when I wanted to use my left hand. Oh, the amount of hope that I received in the loving patronage of this great Virgin and Martyr!

“Even greater was the effect of these prayers in my favour to Saint Philomena, that I was allowed to leave the bed, and to stay seated the whole day in a chair, which was made for my special use, that I still needed for my journey, of which I will talk about later. I was able to use my strength under the protection of my Saint, so much in my favour, and to undertake the pilgrimage to Paray le Monial, a Sanctuary near Lyon, and famous for the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Glory to this adorable Sacred Heart, which has given me the strength to visit the Basilica of Loreto, Rome, and to be in Mugnano for the visit to the sacred Body of the most lovable Thaumaturge Saint Philomena. Glory to You Most Venerable V. Mary. Glory also to you, chosen daughter, and most loved by the Empress of Heaven, and favourite bride of Jesus, Philomena. You have been my protecting Angel and my support for my whole painful journey. You have been like a helpful cloud, keeping covered from the harmful heats of the fervent season, which threatened deadly effects, and protecting me from the dangers of such a long journey from Lyon to Mugnano, and from the dangers usually encountered by the night travellers.

“With the medals of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, and of Saint Philomena, which we had placed inside and outside in many places of the coach, and provided even our carriage attendants with, it felt as if we had called the Angels of the Lord around us for protection during our journey by day, and night never interrupted, which was completely exempt from the slightest incident. By simple accidental circumstances, which I like to attribute to my lovable protector Philomena, I arrived in Mugnano at the same time that the blessing of the Most Holy Sacrament was taking place, after the end of the most solemn vespers for my dear advocate’s important festivity, and this was for me a sign for a happy, and Saintly wish.

“My ardent intention to come to the glorious tomb of Saint Philomena to pay her homage, was not to ask for my healing, since I thought that I’d be better to entrust myself in the hands of God, who knows best what is most advantageous. But the charity of the good people who were in the church, and of the good foreign devotees of the Saint, who were numerous inside, and outside, who were present at my arrival, thought that the intention of my journey was the return of my health. I therefore heard a general shouting, which made me understand, that all those souls moved to pity for me were asking the Thaumaturge for my healing. From the night of Saturday the eighth of August until Monday the tenth, I was brought to the church twice a day, on my chair with armrests, and the people who were at the feet of the Saint V. and M. were asking with fervour for my healing.

“At last Monday evening, at the moment of the blessing of the Most Holy Sacrament I felt unusual strength in me, and with ease I wanted to kneel down. I felt the urge to try and walk, and to go out of the church without my chair. I had it brought after me for precaution, in case my weakness would return, but to my amazement I managed, without it or any support, to walk up to my hotel, and more remarkably I managed to climb freely a whole steep flight of stairs, which I had not managed for the last fifteen months. From this moment I managed, without any help, to go from my accommodation to the church, walk across Mugnano, and even accompany the Most Holy Viaticum in difficult places, and this without feeling the terrible aches typical of my illness.

“Furthermore I have been comfortably kneeling down, like all the other faithful, during the sacred functions, and I can say without any exaggeration, that my health is improving more and more. This is glorifying for her through our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Queen of Virgins, honor this lovable girl, in whom the power of the Divine Triumph has so visibly showed itself. Oh Philomena, preferred Daughter, and charity of Our Lady of Graces! Your heavenly mother delights herself in the beauty of your merits! She glorifies herself in all the surprising features of your virtues for her Son’s honor, your spouse, and her heart rejoices at the sight of the palms and crowns, which all the people of the earth decree to you with much honor! Oh Philomena, your charity has made you admirably known by all the nations, your name has come to give my unhappy country a great reason for hope, this so sweet and powerful name has reached as far as me, and as soon as I heard it, I was attracted to your celebrated tomb, and I have tested the effects of your generous charity. I need to say to your glory, that the benefits already received by me with your intercession, are much higher than the ones of my body, of which I have already reported in details. Therefore I believe that this recognition imposed on me to consecrate myself to my illustrious Benefactress. Yes, Philomena, all my life I want to love you like my beloved, honor you like my protecting Angel, and I hope, with the divine help, to contribute, as much as I can, to honor you, so that everybody can experience, like me, how much you are generously good towards those that tenderly love you, and invoke you.

“I have written down all these details to inform everybody of the unhappy state of my health prior to the prodigious grace of my health, details that I have signed, and written with my own hand, and with people as witness, to give homage to the truth, and fulfil the debt, although ineffectively, of my due recognition, and to comply to the request made by the ecclesiastic and civil authority of Mugnano” .

This miracle is reported by many authors . Here we want to highlight that;
1. Pope Gregory XVI saw Jaricot before she went to Mugnano and affirmed; “In this instance if there will be a miracle, it will be first class”.
2. Returning to the Vatican after the miracle, the afore mentioned Pope recognized the healing of Jaricot as an occasion with which God wanted to let the Sanctity of the martyr Philomena glow.
3. Jaricot stayed in Rome for a full year after the miracle, to satisfy the Pope’s desire to make sure of her full recovery.
Because of this miracle Pope Gregory XVI decided once and for all to confirm solemnly January 30, 1837, the decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites of September 6, 1834.
After the extraordinary miracle obtained thanks to the intercession of Saint Philomena, Pauline returned to France. Having gone to visit the Curé of Ars, she gave him a small relic of the Saint Martyr, brought with her from Mugnano . In 1839, as a sign of gratitude, Jaricot returned to Mugnano for four days. She subsequently built, on her property in Lyon, a chapel in honor of Saint Philomena.

Healing obtained by the Blessed Anna Maria Taigi.
The Blessed Anna Maria Taigi was a fervent devotee of Saint Philomena and she often experienced her powerful intercession in person.

One of her granddaughters Peppina, daughter of her oldest child Sofia; injured one of her eyes. This is how the husband of the Blessed Anna Maria, Peppina’s grandfather, told of this miracle at the Beatification process; “I remember that Peppina, Sofia’s daughter, injured one of her eyes. The doctors said that her pupil had been lacerated and there was no hope of healing […]. The of Servant of God Anna Maria made the sign of the Cross with the oil of Saint Philomena, placed her hand on the girl’s head and sent her to bed.

“Peppina slept very well without feeling any pain; and the next day, her eye had healed so perfectly that she managed to go to school to the Pious Teachers of Jesus. The sceptical surgeons decided to perform different tests to ensure that she could see” .

The miracle of the Curé of Ars.
Between Saint Philomena and the Curé of Ars, an important relationship was established. This relationship is so important that the figure of the Curé of Ars becomes incomprehensible if his huge devotion to his dear “little Saint” is not taken into consideration. This bond has something of the prodigious about it.

Saint Philomena’s Miracle towards the Curé of Ars was multiform; 1) Saint Philomena’s apparition to the Curé of Ars; 2) Miraculous healing of the Curé by Saint Philomena’s intercession; and 3) Miraculous healings happening in Ars following the Curé’s urging to turn to Saint Philomena.

Apparition to Saint John Marie Vianney, Curé of Ars.
The Curé of Ars didn’t want people talking too much about extraordinary events in his life. This attitude is described very well in the Procèes de l’Ordinaire, I, p. 709, by Jeanne Marie Chanay, and in a special way by Etiennette Duria who, in front of the court of inquiry, reported to have heard the Curé speaking loudly to Our Lady. As soon as Vianney realized he had been caught, he admonished Etiennette with assertive tone; “If you talk about this, you’ll never step into this house again!...”. And in a more subdued tone he added; “With the Holy Virgin and with Saint Philomena we know each other pretty well” .
After the apparition that the Curé had during the illness of May 1843, Monnin will report; “It is the general opinion that in that mysterious conversation they had said things which had been the consolation of the saintly priest until the end of his life”.

That the Curé of Ars knew what the Saint looked like can be deduced from the testimony of Miss Sofia Mècusson who, having asked him during confession for an image of Saint Philomena heard him reply; “But in your church of Ligny, there is a picture that represents her. Go and have it copied . It is the most beautiful head of the Saint that I know” .

Trochu added that he was not aware of the Curé ever having been to Ligny and that, for what he knew, he could not have any knowledge of the existence of that picture, dated 1836. Therefore the Curé must have known about it by mysterious ways .

Miraculous healing of the Curé of Ars.
This is how it’s described by the Rector Don Gennaro Ippolito , copying from the work of the abbot Monnin ; “It was the beginning of May 1843. The venerable Curé without anyone to help him succumbed exhausted under the weight of the huge amount of people that would come to him for confession. During Mary’s month he used to go on the pulpit every night, and address the gathered faithful.

“The third day he felt so ill in the middle of his speech that he had to stop. He tried to do a reading, but he could not finish it. He began the prayer and his voice and strength failed him completely. He came down struggling from the pulpit, went to bed, and soon the worst symptoms started to show. On May 6th it was reported that his illness was extremely serious, and the whole parish was in tears and prayers. The abbot Bernard on May 10th stated that in every part of the village reigned a gloomy silence, consternation was visible on all faces.

“The pilgrims wandered on the square and around the church like a herd without a shepherd. As soon as the male nurses would appear everybody would surround them; ‘How’s the saint Curé, our good father?’ they would ask anxiously. There were about two or three hundred who had not been confessed by the abbot Vianney. At the answer that there had not been any improvements, they would enter the church, forcing their way into Heaven and imploring the Lord, with the intercession of the Virgin and Saint Philomena, for a full recovery of someone so dear. The fifth day of the illness there was a consultation. It was confirmed by the previous and present symptoms of the illness the existence of a pleura-pneumonia at the bottom of the right lung, at the front and the back. Due to the fatal events that the doctors predicted and their diagnosis foreshadowed, it was thought that administration of the sacraments had to be hastened. The following day after this imposing ceremony, the Curé of Farius was celebrating the Mass at the altar of Saint Philomena. At the same time, the Curé, who had never been without a temperature, for the first time fell peacefully asleep; from that moment he felt better and better until fully recovered. It was the general opinion that Saint Philomena had appeared to him and that in a mysterious conversation things were said, and these were the consolation of the priest until the end of his life. The testimony of the school teacher who was at his bedside day and night is as follows; Our Holy Curé feeling that he was at the end of his life wanted a Mass to be celebrated in honor of Saint Philomena, to whom he had consecrated himself with a special vow. A nearby priest was called to say it, and all the people of Ars, foreigners and local,s attended. Before the mass began, the Curé looked like a frightened man. I noticed something extraordinary, a great anxiety, an unusual disturbance. I observed all his movements with my attention; I thought that the fatal time had arrived, and that he was going to give his last breath. But as soon as the priest went onto the Altar he suddenly looked calmer like a man who had seen something pleasant and reassuring. The mass had just ended when he exclaimed; ‘My Friend, there has been big a big change in me… I am fully recovered.’ I felt an immense joy in hearing those words. I was still convinced that he had had a vision, since I had more than once heard him murmur the name of his sweet protector, which made me think that Saint Philomena had appeared to him, but I did not dare question him.

“The following days brought a big improvement to the Curé, who attributed his recovery to the intercession of Saint Philomena. On Friday, May 19th he had himself taken to the church. He fell on his knees in front of the Altar and was submerged in sentiments of adoration and gratitude with acceptance of the Lord’s Will, who wanted him to live and to continue his work. As he had adored God, he went to prostrate himself in the Chapel of his dear Saint, where he prayed now for a long time with admirable fervour and consolation” .

“Amongst the miracles received by the Curé from the Saint, we remember the one that took place three years before his death, when the devil set his bed on fire and he, aware of this, did not panic. In this fire, the flames stopped in front of Saint Philomena’s reliquary; “… and from that point the fire left a straight line from top to bottom of symmetric precision, destroying everything that was on one side and sparing all that was on the other of the Saint’s relic.”

Support the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena

The Sanctuary of Saint Philomena is not a parish Church. We do not have parishioners who support this place of worship on a weekly basis. We are completely dependent on the love and generosity of you, the world-wide devotees, to keep the doors of the earthly home of Saint Philomena open.

We pray at the Sanctuary for the devotees of Saint Philomena to recognize and provide the means to pay our monthly utilities of gas and electricity. We also pray for the means to install a lift at the Sanctuary to enable physically challenged pilgrims to experience the entire home of their beloved Saint.

In order to ensure the Sanctuary is able to keep our doors open to you and to continue to offer God continual praise and to be the focal point through which our prayers are received by Saint Philomena and interceded for before God at the Sanctuary, you may donate in the following ways:

  1. Direct to the Sanctuary:
    1. By personal check payable to the "Sanctuary of Saint Philomena." For security reasons, please send your donation through registered or express mail to the Sanctuary's address at the bottom of this newsletter.
    2. Online - Go to our Support Page, Click Here
    3. By bank transfer to the Sanctuary's Bank account: BANCA UNICREDIT MUGNANO DEL CARDINALE(30525) BANK ACCOUNT:N° 000400102946 SWIFT CODE:UNCRITM1E94 IBAN:IT18D0200875790000400102946
  2. U.S.A. Tax-Deductible Donations may be sent to the new non-profit set up in the United States:
    1. Online - Go to our Support Page, Click Here
    2. Postal mail donations can be made to: Saint Philomena Sanctuary Support Fund, Inc. P.O. Box 4114 Bergheim, Texas 78004, U.S.A.

Sanctuary of Saint Philomena
Piazza Umberto I
83027 Mugnano del Cardinale
Avellino, Italy
Tel: 0039 081 825 7204 Fax: 0039 081 511 2733
Rector, Msgr. Giovanni Braschi

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