Thursday, February 7, 2013

St. Philomena: Powerful with God

When I was growing up, my mother used to tell me to pray to St. Philomena whenever I was deeply troubled about problems that seemed to have no solution.  She had given me a framed picture of St. Philomena and her biography so that I could read about her life.  Later, after Paul and I had already married and moved into our house, my sister, knowing my devotion to St. Philomena, had purchased a bumper-sticker sized magnet for my refrigerator that said "St. Philomena:  Powerful with God."  It was a constant reminder to me that I could always turn to St. Philomena whenever I was in need.  I used to think that I would name my first daughter "Philomena" in honor of this beloved saint, which, of course, didn't happen because my only daughter is named Mary Therese after the Blessed Mother and one of my other favorite saints, Therese of Lisieux.

One of my favorite stories that my mom would share with me about this sweet saint was that whenever one of your prayers to her was about to be answered, she would playfully announce it by knocking three times.  I was always listening for mysterious knocking noises in the hopes that St. Philomena was on the job, but can't recall ever hearing them.

Over the years the framed picture, the book and the magnet have all been misplaced, and sadly, I haven't given St. Philomena very much consideration in my prayer...or so I thought.

Recently a friend of mine called me to talk with me about her daughter who has been seriously ill.  I encouraged her to pray to St. Philomena although I'm not sure why she was the one saint out of thousands who first came to my mind.  After our phone call ended, I completely forgot that I had encouraged her to pray to St. Philomena.  But then she called me a week later and told me that she had learned about a group of pilgrims from the United States who would be traveling to visit the Sanctuary of St. Philomena in Mugnano Del CardinaleAvelino, Italy.  She had asked them to take her daughter's picture with them and to pray for her there, which they lovingly agreed to do.  Then she learned that there is a Shrine of St. Philomena right here in our home state of Wisconsin. Furthermore, the shrine is only a two hour drive from our home, in Briggsville, Wisconsin.  My friend told me that she would be traveling there on the same day that the pilgrims would be visiting the Shrine in Italy.  I begged her to let me come with her and my boss agreed to let me have the day off from work.  

I was so excited about going to the Shrine with my friend, but, unfortunately, the weather wasn't going to cooperate.  The forecasters predicted lots of snow which would make that long drive treacherous.  We decided to postpone the trip to Briggsville for a warmer season and will make a little hometown pilgrimage instead, visiting some of the Seven Most Beautiful Churches in Milwaukee for Mass and adoration.  And on our pilgrimage we will be fervently invoking the intercession of St. Philomena who is powerful with God.  Please join us in prayer, if you are able, by praying the Novena prayer at the bottom of this page.  I hope that one day in the near future, I will be able to report that St. Philomena played an important role in the healing of my friend's daughter.

About St. Philomena

Her bones were discovered in 1802 in the Priscilla Catacombs in Rome with the Latin inscription for "Peace to you, Philomena" etched above, and the symbols of arrows, a lance, an anchor and a lily signifying that this was the tomb of a martyr.  The relics were tested and found to belong to a young girl about 14 years of age who had been martyred as early as the year 160 AD.  Later, in a private revelation, Mother Maria Luisa was told the beautiful life story of this young virgin martyr saint who was given to the Emperor Diocletian by her Christian parents in exchange for a promise of peace.  As Philomena refused the advances of Diocletian he tormented her physically again and again with imprisonment, beating and drowning. Each time he unleashed his wrath, angels and the Blessed Mother came to the assistance of St. Philomena, restoring her to health.  One of the most dramatic events occured when six archers sent their burning arrows toward her and through heavenly assistance the arrows changed direction killing the men who had sent them.  Many who witnessed this event were converted to the faith.  Following this failed attempt at killing St. Philomena, Diocletian had her beheaded on August 10th.

Following the discovery of her tomb, many have invoked her intercession including many Popes and  well-known saints.  St. Piux X and St. John Vianney have particularly well-known devotion to her.  On January 13th, 1837, Pope Gregory XVI named her the Patroness of the Living Rosary and proclaimed her to be the great wonder-worker of the 19th century.  Her mission is to draw us to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Her name means "daughter of light."  St. Philomena is the patroness of babies, children and youth.

You can learn more about St. Philomena here or by visiting the links above for the Shrine's in Mugnano and Briggsville.

Novena Prayer to St. Philomena

We beseech Thee, O Lord, to grant us the pardon of our sins by the intercession of Saint , virgin and martyr, who was always pleasing in Thy sight by her eminent chastity and by the profession of every virtue. Amen.

Illustrious virgin and martyr, Saint Philomena, behold me prostrate before the throne whereupon it has pleased the Most Holy Trinity to place thee. Full of confidence in thy protection, I entreat thee to intercede for me with God, from the heights of Heaven deign to cast a glance upon thy humble client! Spouse of Christ, sustain me in suffering, fortify me in temptation, protect me in the dangers surrounding me, obtain for me the graces necessary to me, and in particular (Here specify your petition). Above all, assist me at the hour of my death. Saint Philomena, powerful with God, pray for us. Amen.

O God, Most Holy Trinity, we thank Thee for the graces Thou didst bestow upon the Blessed Virgin Mary, and upon Thy handmaid Philomena, through whose intercession we implore Thy Mercy. Amen.


  1. Love this post on Saint Philomena! I have also heard of the 3 knocks associated with Saint Philomena. Years ago I was able to visit a Saint Philomena Church in Florida where I obtained some Saint Philomena Holy Oil. There is also a Saint Philomena Church in Sacramento, California and the exterior of the church is really beautiful with a large gold Saint Philomena relief against a background of blue tiles. I've never been inside, but I should check it out some day.

  2. What a beautiful story and connection, Anne. That pilgrimage in your very own state sounds like something to look forward to! It sounds like St. Philomena is calling you:)

  3. Great post on St. Philomena, Anne! I have prayed for her intercession many times over the years!

  4. Great piece on St. Philomena Anne, she is one of my favorites too! What a powerful intercessor! Thank you for the terrific photos. Believe it or not I've never gotten to the St. Joseph Chapel. Your photos and story are further compelling me to a pilgrimage of my own. Thank You!


    Mary Anne

  5. Hi,

    A couple of days ago I heard knocking and I thought it was my husband wanting to be let in so I got my daughter to answer the door but there was no one there. Last night we heard it again, but again no one was there. Then soon after we heard it louder and my children investigated it and again no one was there. It sounded like a rapping on glass, our doors are made of glass. I then remembered about St Philomena answering with a knock and thanked her for her intercession. Does this mean my novena to her will be answered soon?

    Thank you

  6. Dear Angela, I'm not sure if the knocking sound you heard could be a sign of an answer to your prayer through the intercession of St. Philomena or not. But what a blessing if it will be and what fun if she chose to let you know in this way!

  7. Thank you Anne for your reply. I guess I'm just confused about it all. The knocking was distinct and there could be no explanation for it. I haven't had my request granted yet, so I will keep on praying.


  8. My True Story

    I prayed to St. Philomena for approximately 21 days during the spring of 1992 for the salvation of someone who had taken their life. I read about her in George Anderson's book. (He's a psychic.) On a Saturday morning, I turned on the lights in my bathroom and living room. They both made loud, popping noises and blew out. I then had breakfast and watched some TV. On it, was a show about 1946 baseball, but I didn't change the channel. Later, a nun appeared on the screen, with the name "Filomena" as the caption. After that, I was surprised when I heard distinct knocking sounds in the far corner above my bed, where there were no doors. I then stood up and, asking for confirmation, looked at the clock. It said 11:11, something I had been seeing for over one year! She was so playful, and I was so happy to know that she would save this person's soul. I know that my prayer is coming true each day.... God bless St. Philomena!

  9. Tank you St.Philomena.I was suffering from recurring Urinary Tract Infection for long time.I tried several medication but all was in vain.I decided to turn to St.Philomena for cure.Am now healed and thank St.Philomena for her powerful intercession.Francis

  10. Can anyone tell me where have they heard or read about Saint Philomena and the 3 knocks?

    1. Deborah STafford AldousSeptember 8, 2016 at 7:08 PM

      yes she comes to me as she wants to be my Patroness Saint has been doing so since I was 12 in August usually but it varies and when she knocks she Knocks!!


  12. She always answers always.
    I am forever forever enamored to her she's been walking with me and never will she leave my side

  13. Please St. Philomena intercede for me.

  14. I have a great and fervent love for st Philomena,I pray she grants my requests Amen.