Prior to 1802, not many people, especially Catholic Christians, had heard about saint Philomena and the miracles she had performed.
In May of that year, the excavation crew that was working on the Catacomb of Priscilla discovered a tomb, which was later determined to belong to a young saint called Philomena, who is believed to have died in the year 304 aged 13 years, in Rome, Italy.
The Catacomb of Priscilla is an archaeological site in Rome, Italy, which was an important Christian burial site between the 2nd and the 4th centuries.
In 1805, the bishop of Mugnano Parish in the Province of Avellino, Italy, together with his priest requested the transfer of the saint’s body to his parish from Rome, so that he could foster spiritual renewal in the town. Rome agreed to transfer her relics to the Parish, and as soon as they arrived, miracles began to happen. Here are some documented miracles of saint Philomena:
The Healing Of a Woman with Hand Cancer
A woman in Mugnano had been diagnosed with hand cancer, which could only be treated through amputating the hand.
After all preparations had been done on the eve of the surgery, the woman, recalling that in the past, ailing Christians would heal by placing relics of known Martyrs on their affected body parts, went to the parish and applied Saint Philomena’s relics on her hand. The next morning the surgeon, uncovering the hand to begin surgery, was shocked to realize that the cancer had gone!
Healing of a Blind Girl
After the miracle for the woman who had suffered from hand cancer began to spread, people started flocking the Mugnano Parish where the relics of saint Philomena were housed; some with curiosity, and others with the intention to receive healing themselves.
One Sunday morning, during the preaching of Fr. Antonio Vetrani, a woman from Avella was allowed into the church with her little girl who was blind due to smallpox, which was then an incurable disease.
As soon as the woman neared the sacred urn, she took a small amount of oil from the lamp and applied it on her daughter’s eyes. And just like that, the young girl recovered her sight!
Resurrection of an Eight Year Old Boy
Rosa Di Lucia, who was a noblewoman of Mugnano and the caretaker of the Sacred Body of Saint Philomena, one day, was devastated by the death of one of her sons. The eight year old boy had succumbed to an illness that he had suffered from for a long time.
After wetting the lifeless body of her son with sorrowful tears, with real faith, she took the image of the Saint, and placed it on the corpse. She kept begging for the return of her son to life with agony and uncontrollable tears.
Shocked beyond words, she was surprised to see her son open his eyes again full of life. The boy’s health remained so perfect that he served the parish for over 40 years before passing on at the right time. This is one of the most famous miracles of saint Philomena.
Healing of a Famous Lawyer by the Name Alexander Serio
Alexander Serio who was a renowned lawyer and a great devotee of Saint Philomena was healed and saved from death by the image of the saint in 1814.
Serio had visited Mugnano together with his wife for their holidays hoping to receive healing from his long-term ailment by being close to the relics of the martyr. For this reason, he continued to pray devoutly at the Saint’s altar for days, until he was suddenly struck by some excruciating abdominal pains, forcing his wife to travel back home with him.
While back at home and bed ridden, Serios’s condition grew worse and death seemed inevitable. Totally convinced that her husband would die, his wife placed a picture of the Saint on the body of her husband, begging for him to pass on at least with the Holy Sacraments while vowing to have the alter of the saint renovated in return. Out of nowhere, Serio’s responsiveness returned, and he was completely free from disease.
Many more miracles are attributed to Saint Philomena, and she has become a cherished saint all over the world. She is said to intercede to this day, and her relics have made Mugnano a popular site of pilgrimage.