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Do not fear what people say about Saint Philomena and remember always the words of Pope Saint Pius X with regard to the historical authenticity of Saint Philomena. He ordains that: "The current statements (regarding St. Philomena) are and remain always fixed, valid and effective; in this way it has to be judged as normative; and if it is proceeded in another way, it will be null and void, whatever its authority."
We know the power of Saint Philomena, so sweet and innocent filled with love of Christ. We know this because of those set so strongly against her and her devotion. These people will do anything to stop her devotion. This shows us clearly how Powerful with God she is. We should take her courage and use it.

I would like to take this time to explain to you our previous two newsletters and give you some insight as to the events surrounding the decree of Pope Gregory XVI ( and ) .  I also want to say at this point that I will be sending out another message discussing the decree of 1961, the facts and what the Vatican has said since then . I will send out yet another message discussing the more recent scientific investigation I commissioned with all items discovered at her tomb including her sacred relics . First let us concentrate on the actual facts surrounding SAINT Philomena and her public devotion.
Pope Gregory VXI, when he gave the "cult public" had in his hand the miracle of Venice.  (Note regarding the word "cult": The word we would use in the 21st century is probably "devotion.") Upon receiving this he had sent a messenger to the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena with a silver lamp. It was after this when Pauline Jaricot arrived and her famous miracle occurred. I would like to emphasize that Pope Gregory VXI had a very personal devotion to Saint Philomena. We can see from the gifts he sent to her Sanctuary.  He did not sign off on the decree he merely glanced at. It was he who initiated and realized it. 
The Inn where Pauline Jaricot stayed while in Mugnano del Cardinale
Let us look in detail at Pauline's miracle and the surrounding factors. Pauline arrived in Mugnano del Cardinale on the 8th of August. She attended solemn mass on the 9th and again on the 10th at 10 a.m. After her miracle on the 10th everyone went crazy and the whole town carried her in procession back to her hotel in the town. She remained in Mugnano del Cardinale for a full month and worked with Father Francesco de Lucia helping distribute the sacrament of the sick. The day she was leaving, Fr. Francesco accompanied her to the end of the town and they both shared a heartfelt farewell. Pauline wanted to give a large donation to the poor church but Father Francesco did not accept. He had seen this saintly person and looked at the saintly heart of Pauline bursting with love for Philomena. He refused her money and said "take back this donation and take it with you because I am sure that you will do great work in Lyon." After Pauline left Mugnano she went to see Pope Gregory VXI. He couldn't believe his eyes for he had seen this sickly person about to die and now a restored person stood in front of him. But he still was not satisfied and asked Pauline to walk around the room. Pope Gregory XVI was very happy. Because of this he prepared a decree for the public cult of Saint Philomena. Because he knew already of the great miracle of Venice, the miracle of Pauline's healing confirmed his decision to make this public cult of Saint Philomena. Pauline remained for a year under strict scrutiny in order that there was no doubt about this miracle.
St. John Vianney, Patron Saint of Priests, with his precious St. Philomena
When Pauline returned to France she went to the Curé of Ars and gave him a relic of Saint Philomena's and a small duplicate of the urn of Saint Philomena that Pauline had brought from Mugnano. This urn is still present in his house. A short time after Pauline's visit, the Curé of Ars began to promote devotion to Saint Philomena in his parish. In Loreto, Pauline's town, a statue of St. Philomena was erected beside her house and a small church to St. Philomena was constructed. She did this because of the promise she made to Fr. Francesco while in Mugnano. She had not forgotten the Sanctuary of St. Philomena was in her heart as was the saint herself.

The miracle of Venice and the great miracle of Pauline in front of the altar of Saint Philomena explain why Pope Gregory XVI gave this important decree.

Dear devotees, excuse me if I have opened a personal important reflection but many don't know how we have a decree for a public cult. Saint Philomena became venerated with the canon of the mass for a virgin martyr. A feast extended for a public procession.

Some passing through this devotion and people of the hierarchy say Saint Philomena is not a saint because she has not been canonized. If this was the case how then can she have a public cult? Only the uneducated people who do not know anything of these causes make such remarks.
By the Rite of Canonization, the Supreme Pontiff, by an act which is protected from error by the Holy Spirit, elevates a person to the universal veneration of the Church. By canonization the Pope does not make the person a saint. Rather, he declares that the person is with God and is an example of following Christ worthy of imitation by the faithful. A Mass, Divine Office and other acts of veneration, may now be offered throughout the universal Church.
The martyred saints gave their blood for Christ and the church. Saint Philomena was a martyred saint.  The granting of a public cult was significant to becoming a saint and with the 1837 decree granting the cult of Saint Philomena public she was no longer only named the martyr Philomena she was now Saint Philomena. This decree went on with different privileges from many popes.
King of Naples, Ferdinand II of Bourbon (1840-1859)
We should not forget an important fact which I would like to highlight: The elevation of Saint  Philomena with Saint Gennaro the patron of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies. This is very important because not only is it affirmation of the sanctity of Philomena, but also its importance, given that she became Patroness of the Two Sicilies (equivalent to Saint Philomena being the patron saint of Italy or Ireland or France), that her cult has established itself nationwide. At that time The Kingdom of Two Sicilies was one of the most important kingdoms in Europe. To highlight: Pope Pius IX, at the request of King Ferdinand II of Bourbon in 1854 proclaimed Saint Philomena second Patroness of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, where the devotion toward the glorious Martyr is widely spread.
We can also not forget to mention the Servant of God, Sister Marie Louise of Jesus (1799-1875). Originally known as Marie Carmela Ascione, she took the habit of the Dominican sisters at age 18, taking the name of Sister Marie Louise of Jesus.  Later on, intent on spreading of the cult of Saint Philomena and by the echoes of her miracles in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, she founded the religious family of the "Oblates of Our Lady of Sorrows and Saint Philomena".  From her written work and her autobiography we see her simplicity and clarity of style, together with a deep ascetic doctrine. Her devotion for our Saint was deep and sincere.  Her "revelations" on the life and martyrdom of Saint Philomena in the form of locutions, although answering the popular need to know more about her life, also had the effect of suggesting a mere legend, and detaching her from history .  The truth remains, that the devotional cult of Saint Philomena did not begin with her revelations, nor has it been trivialized or discounted because of them. The Church, in all the official acts relative to the cult of our Martyr, has never taken it into account.  What remains is the sincere devotion of Sister Marie Louise and the beneficial influence that her writings have had in spreading devotion to Saint Philomena.
Dear devotees, be sure in your heart and in your facts that the virgin martyr Philomena is a Saint and has been put through all the requirements of the Holy See for this process and remains a Saint. This cannot be changed.
We have looked at the liturgical cult in the pontifical documents and the popular cult in the pontifical documents. Let us now take a look at the Popes' devotion to Saint Philomena V.M.
The Pope's devotions
a -  Pope Pius VII (1800-1823). He is credited with the greatest act of kindness toward our Saint, that of granting the body of Saint Philomena to the Church in Mugnano.  The finding of the martyr's body occurred on the 25th of May 1802, the second year of Pope Pius VII's pontificate.  It was not easy for a priest or even a bishop to obtain the body of a martyr, especially if the name was known.  Monsignor Bartolomeo De Cesare, the new Bishop of Potenza, however, expressed to the Supreme Pontiff the desire and the zeal of Father Francesco De Lucia.  Pope Pius VII was convinced and granted him the body of Saint Philomena.
b -  Pope Leo XII (1823-1829).  On the 7th of December 1827, Pope Leo received from Mons. Filippo Ludovici the second edition of Relazione Historica (The Historical Account) by Father Francesco De Lucia:  The Pontiff, who had already heard from various sources of the miracles performed by Saint Philomena, wanted to read the book immediately, and full of admiration for her, he exclaimed: "She is a great Saint!"
c -  Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846).  Because of his various decrees, which were promulgated with the greatest care, he is considered the Pope who most promoted the devotional cult of Saint Philomena.  It was his decree of 1837 that solemnly confirmed the rescript of the Congregation of Rites of 1834.  The Pope himself donated a precious medallion with his effigy, a large silver votive lamp with golden decorations, and a golden chalice to the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena which are kept in the Sanctuary Treasury.
d -  Pope Pius IX (1846-1878).  He was a great devotee of Saint Philomena even before he was an ordained priest. His devotion began when he was cured of epilepsy by the intercession of our Saint.  In 1834, when he was Bishop of Imola, his secretary, Fr. Joseph Stella, was also cured through the intercession of Saint Philomena.  At the same time, on the day on which the Oratorians displayed a picture of Saint Philomena for public veneration on the main altar of their Church, Pope Pius decided to celebrate the Holy Mass in person.
When he became Pope he helped (at his personal expense) a poor young man named Palmieri, who had been cured by Saint Philomena, to become a priest.  He had become ill with cholera and was left blind. He was miraculously cured by the Saint on the 11th of August 1849.  Afterwards, in front of the great Altar of Saint Philomena, he expressed the desire to become a priest.
On November 7, 1849, during his stay in the Royal Palace of Portici, Pope Pius IX went in pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Mugnano, where he celebrated Mass at the altar of Saint Philomena.  He was accompanied by Ferdinand II of Bourbon and the royal family.
Among the liturgical privileges granted by him we certainly appreciate the permission for a proper Office and Mass, a rare honor.
A few weeks before his death, Pope Pius IX sent the Superior of the Holy Spirit to Mugnano. His duty was to donate to our Saint the splendid chalice that the Confederation of the Catholic Clubs of Belgium had given to him in occasion of the 50th Anniversary of his Episcopacy (August 24, 1877).  The chalice is kept in the Sanctuary Treasury.
e -  Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903).  Pope Leo came on pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Mugnano when he was still Archbishop of Benevento.  The Pontiff of the great social encyclicals, the sociologist Pope, as he was known, never forgot the Saint of Mugnano.  The Abbot Fr. Petit, founder of the Work of Saint Philomena in Paris, who was more than once received in audience, testified that every time someone mentioned Saint Philomena, the face of Leo XIII would break into a sweet smile. 
On December 15, 1883, Leo XIII officially approved the pious use of a sacramental consisting of a red and white cord in honor of the Saint.  Further, on September 24, 1889 he granted the title of Archconfraternity (extending it throughout France) to the Work of Saint Philomena, and in 1902 he celebrated in Rome, in Priscilla's Catacombs, the first centenary of the finding of the holy martyr's body.  He also sent two gifts to the Sanctuary in Mugnano: in 1888 a beautiful pastoral and on May 25, 1902 (centenary of the finding of the relics) a wonderful missal.  These gifts are kept in the Sanctuary Treasury.
f -  Pope St Pius X (1903-1914).  In 1905, on the first centenary of the translation of Saint Philomena's Body from Rome to Mugnano, this Pope proclaimed the Curé of Ars Blessed.  On the 8th of August, three days before the celebrations in Mugnano, Pope St. Pius X instructed P. Remer, a fervent devotee of Saint Philomena, to take to the Sanctuary one of his golden rings to offer to Saint Philomena.  This gesture was to participate in our feast even though he couldn't be present.  On this occasion Monsignor Agnello Renzullo, Bishop of Nola, authorized the papal delegate to open the urn, and he slipped the precious ring on the finger of the wax effigy that contains the Saint's bones.
Pius X loved Saint Philomena very much and was truly saddened by the questions raised concerning her, especially about the authenticity of the tiles found sealing the front of her tomb.  Abet Fr. Petit wrote about the audience granted to him by Pius X on June 16, 1907. On that occasion Abbot Fr. Petit offered to the Pope a relic of the Curé of Ars and he personally read the attached dedication that referred to Saint Philomena.  Father Petit recounts that when the Pope reached the name of the young Saint, and the well-known question came up, he vigorously exclaimed:
"Ah, Saint Philomena!  I am very saddened by what is written regarding this topic.  How can they possibly write these things?"  And he vigorously displayed his sorrow and disappointment, regarding the "Philomena Question", in these terms: "How can they not realize that the greatest argument in favor of the cult of Saint Philomena is the Curé of Ars?  Through her, in her name, as a result of her intercession, he received countless graces, and continuous miracles.  His devotion towards her was very well known by everyone, he continuously recommended her.  It is clear by now that the soul that formed these sacred remains was a pure and saintly soul whom the Church has declared to be those of a virgin and martyr.  This soul has been so loved by God, has been so filled with the Holy Spirit, that it has obtained the most marvellous graces for those who had recourse to her intercession."
The Pope spoke with ardent conviction.  We must admire his veneration and confidence in Saint Philomena.
Saint Pius X, on the May 21, 1912, extended to the whole Church throughout the world, the Archconfraternity of Saint Philomena: the highest tribute from a Pope who became Saint to a great Saint herself!
g -  Pope Benedict XV (1914-1922) and Pope Pius XI (1922-1939).  There are no detailed records about the devotion towards Saint Philomena by the Popes after Pius X.  However, examining the ex voto (the Votive Gifts present in the Treasury of the Sanctuary); the names of Benedict XV and Pius IX do appear.
Pope Benedict XV gave to the Sanctuary a "silver Lamb for peace", and Pope Pius XI donated a golden chalice.

Msgr. Giovanni Braschi 
Rector of the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena
Custodian of her Sacred Body
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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: SANTUARIO SANTA FILOMENA, BANC UNICREDIT MUGANO 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.