The snow was softly falling outside as we began our day with a leisurely breakfast and the opportunity to catch up on all of the current news in our lives. My friend spoke about her excitement over the fact that at that very moment there was a group of pilgrims praying for her daughter at the St. Philomena Shrine in Italy. Before we left the restaurant I heard a loud knocking noise which I explained away as the kitchen staff working noisily. But, at the same time that I became aware of the knocking sound, my friend received a text message from her daughter saying, "I feel fantastic!" My friend could not remember the last time she had heard her teenage daughter express anything but pain. We believed that the prayers of the pilgrims in Italy were already working.
|Old St. Mary's|
After lunch we went to Old St. Mary's in downtown Milwaukee for the noon Mass. Old St. Mary's is one of the original fourteen churches that was built in the city of Milwaukee and is the only one of those fourteen that is still standing in it's nearly original glory. The snow was falling heavier now and we were feeling grateful that we didn't make that two hour drive to the Shrine even though we had both wanted to go there so badly. As we entered the church and knelt down to pray we both heard a loud knock. It was unmistakable in the silence of the church. In the back of my mind I thought it might have been a noisy furnace, but still, it was most definitely a knocking sound so I told my practical mind to quiet down and gave the credit for the knock to St. Philomena. After a lovely Mass and some time spent praying, lighting candles and admiring the beautiful Stations of the Cross, we decided we had better get a move on to our next destination-The St. Joseph Chapel inside the School Sisters of St. Francis Convent.
|St. Joseph Chapel|
|reliquary chapel with catalogue on altar|
My friend and I had only intended to pray in the adoration chapel but now we excitedly headed for the priest's sacristy first so we could find the reliquary chapel! When we walked inside the door we were astonished at the amount of relics within the chapel! After looking for a while, my friend said that there must be a catalogue of relics somewhere. Then she glanced at the altar and sure enough, there was a shoe box filled with alphabetized index cards. She found one with St. Philomena's name on it that described her relic as being one in a case of eighteen. Even with that description we still felt as though we were looking for a needle in a haystack. I began to pray to St. Philomena asking her to knock again if we were getting close and to please help us to find her relic. Nothing-no knock, no relic. We decided to take a break and explore the rest of the balcony.
When we came back she was determined to count the relics in each case looking for the one containing eighteen. Suddenly she gasped, "Here she is!!!" The St. Philomena relic was hidden in the very bottom right hand corner of a large case.
|the case with St. Philomena's relic-she's hidden behind the crucifix on the bottom right|
|The V.M. stands for Virgin Martyr|