The figure of Philomena, young roman martyr, emerged after nearly seventeen centuries of silence. Since the finding of her body the extraordinary presence of St. Philomena in the Church began. Since then every Pope has venerated her with his personal devotion and millions of Catholics have felt her beneficial influence. She has been a model of spiritual life for many Saints, Blessed and Venerable. Great devotion toward St. Philomena has spread all over the world and Pontiffs have granted the Saint the “Liturgical Cult” with Mass and its own Office.
St. Philomena’s mortal remains were discovered in 1802 in Rome in a catacomb belonging to Priscilla. There are no biographic records of St. Philomena. Therefore, the first records about the Saint are the ones that start with the finding of her tomb in Priscilla’s catacombs, to the translation of her body to Mugnano del Cardinale, the beginning of her providential influence in Church life.
On the three stones that sealed the tomb, were the inscriptions:
“LUMENA – PAX TE – CUM FI”
and the following symbols:
In 1805, Don Francesco De Lucia, a young priest of Mugnano del Cardinale of the Diocese of Nola, was in Rome. He nourished the wish of having the body of a “Saint Martyr and with a Name” to take to his oratory in Mugnano. Pius VII was moved and donated the body of St. Philomena. On the first of July Bishop Bartolomeo De Cesare and Don Francesco left Rome with the Saint’s relics. They reached Naples on July 2, 1805. Mons. Vincenzo Torrusio, Bishop of Nola, officially recognized the sacred relics, and then placed them in a private chapel.
Once the news spread, there was a massive rush of the faithful. To avoid disorder, the remains of St. Philomena were displayed for the first time to public veneration in the parish church of Sant’Angelo a Segno, where they remained for three days.
The sacred relics arrived in Mugnano the morning of August 10th and were placed in the Church of Our Lady of Grace. Since the wonders happening were many and the number of devotees kept increasing, a new Church of Our Lady of Grace was built in Mugnano. It contains a chapel where the sacred relics were translated on September 29, 1805, and where they still remain.