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St Philomena

St. Philomena

On May 25 1802 excavators in the ancient catacomb of St Priscilla in Rome came upon a well-preserved shelf tomb sealed with terracotta slabs in the manner usually reserved for nobility or great martyrs. The coffin inside revealed the remains of a girl of about twelve or thirteen years of age.

In 1805 a Neapolitan priest, Don Francesco di Lucia, travelling to Rome with his newly-appointed bishop, requested, and after a brief delay, received the relics of this martyr “Philomena” to enshrine in his village church at Mugnano near Naples.

 

406px-Saint_Philomena_by_J_D__Mahlknecht Sculpture of
St Philomena with
 her attributes of the
martyr’s palm, the
virgin’s lily and the
instruments of her
martyrdom, by the
artist Johan Dominik 
Mahlknecht

 

Immediately upon the official donation of St Philomena’s sacred remains signal favours began to be granted through her intercession and unusual events began to occur. The favours, graces and even miracles started to increase, even before her enshrinement in Mugnano and they steadily grew in number thereafter such that this virgin martyr soon earned the title, “Philomena, Powerful with God”.  In 1837, only thirty-five years after her exhumation, Pope Gregory XVI elevated this “wonder-worker of the nineteenth century” to sainthood.

Our school was named after St Philomena thanks to her intercession in establishing it in 1999, and St Philomena School continues to experience that no matter is too trivial or too unimportant to concern our saint. We are honoured to enjoy her patronage.