Tuesday, August 17, 2010

St. Philomena: A Short Biography of a 13-Year-Old Girl

Dear Reader, I want to tell you about my favorite saint right now!  She was born Lumina and later baptized as Philomena.

She was a young girl with an active prayer life who pledged her virginity to Our Lord when she was only 11 years old.

Upon seeing her beauty, the Roman Emperor Diocletian wanted her as his wife immediately -- and promised her parents great wealth and status in return. When Philomena refused, her parents begged her, yelled at her, and tried every influence possible.  Finally, Diocletian had his soldiers kidnap her from her parents’ house.  He had his men torture her in prison for 40 days to weaken her, and during this time, Our Lady appeared to her to give consolation and encouragement.  Our Lady promised that her angel Gabriel would come to Philomena’s assistance.

    At the end of the 40 days of imprisonment and torture, Diocletian had Philomena tied to a column and violently scourged with whips by his soldiers.  When it was over, angels appeared to Philomena and healed her.

    Frustrated, Diocletian ordered that his soldiers tie an anchor around her neck and drown her.  This they did, but—just before she drowned in the water—two angels appeared and unchained her, transporting her gently onto the river bank in full view of all who were watching.  Many instantly believed in Christianity.

    Then Diocletian had Philomena dragged through the streets of Rome and shot with a shower of arrows.  Her blood flowed.  Worried that she was dying, Diocletian ordered that she be carried back to the prison.  There she fell into a sweet sleep and awoke refreshed.

    Enraged, Diocletian ordered that the archers aim even sharper darts at her.  But these arrows refused to take flight.  With fury, Diocletian ordered that the tips of the darts be made red hot in a furnace and directed toward her heart.  But when these arrows launched from their bows, they refused to hurt Philomena and instead turned around in the air and pierced those who launched them.

    Finally, Diocletian lost all control, and he himself pierced her neck with a lance.  With this, her soul took flight to Heaven – her death being Diocletian’s responsibility alone.

What we know of St. Philomena is based entirely on her private revelations to different people throughout the world who each received the same message.

St. Philomena was uniquely declared a saint based solely on the powerful miracles attributed to her intercession.   I strongly suggest you befriend her!  In a moment, I'll post some novena prayers to her!