of St. Philomena
Feast Day August 10
Three separate individuals in different parts of Italy, and completely unknown to each other, began receiving details of the life of St. Philomena through various modes of private revelation. The most well-known of these were locutions received by Mother Luisa di Gesu in August, 1833. These locutions were granted the official Imprimatur by the Holy Office that same year, December 21, 1833.
Mother Luisa had been praying before a statue of St. Philomena when she thought she heard a voice tell her the specific date of death (August 10) of Philomena and specific details of her journey from Rome to Mugnano, details as yet unknown to the public. Mother Luisa, fearing she was experiencing an illusion, increased her prayer and fasting. Under obedience to her Superior in whom she had confided, she observed complete silence during the revelations. Mother Luisa's Superior then wrote to Fr. Di Lucia, reporting the revelations and asking him to confirm the veracity of the specific details reportedly revealed by St. Philomena. Fr. Di Lucia confirmed every detail and requested that the nun be open to any additional revelations pertaining to the life of St. Philomena. Again under obedience, Mother Luisa prayed to St. Philomena for further information and immediately the same voice began revealing the historical
facts of the life of the 4th century martyr.
The following is the account of the life of St. Philomena as taken from the official account of Fr. Di Lucia's Relazione Istorici di Santa Filomena and subsequent annals.
My dear sister, I am the daughter of a Prince who governed a small state in Greece. My mother was also of royal blood. My parents were without children. They were idolaters. They continually offered sacrifices and prayers to their false gods. A doctor from Rome, named Publius, lived in the palace in the service of m father. This doctor professed Christianity. Seeing the affliction of my parents, by the impulse of the Holy Spirit, he spoke to them of Christianity and promised to pray for them if they consented to receive Baptism. The grace which accompanied his words enlightened their understanding and triumphed over their will. They became Christians and obtained the long desired happiness that Publius had assured them as the reward of their conversion. At the moment of my birth, they gave me the name of Lumina, an allusion to the light of Faith of which I had been, as it were, the fruit. The day of my Baptism they called me Philomena. Daughter of Light, because on that day I was born to the Faith. The affection which my parents bore me was so great that they would have me always with them.
It was on this account that they took me to Rome on a journey that my father was obliged to make on the occasion of an unjust war with which he was threatened by the haughty Diocletian. I was then thirteen years old. On our arrival in the capital of the world, we proceeded to the palace of the Emperor and were admitted for an audience. As soon as Diocletian saw me, his eyes were fixed upon me. He appeared to be prepossessed in this manner during the entire time that my father was stating with animated feelings everything that could serve for his defense. As soon as Father had ceased to speak, the Emperor desired him to be disturbed no longer, to banish all rear, to think only of living in happiness. These are the Emperors words, I shall place at your disposal all the force of the Empire. I ask only one thing, that is the hand of your daughter.
My father dazzled with an honor he was far from expecting, willingly acceded on the spot to the proposal of the Emperor. When we returned to our own dwelling, Father and Mother did all they could to induce me to yield to Diocletians wishes and to theirs. I cried. Do you wish that for the love of a man I should break the promise I have made to Jesus Christ? My virginity belongs to Him. I can no longer dispose of it.
But you were young then, too young, answered my father, to have formed such an engagement. He joined the most terrible threats to the command that he gave me to accept the hand of Diocletian. The grace of my God rendered me invincible. My father, not being able to make the Emperor relent, in order to disengage himself from the promise he had given, was obliged by Diocletian to bring me to the Imperial Chamber. I had to withstand for sometime beforehand a new attack from my fathers anger. My mother, uniting her efforts to his, endeavored to conquer my resolution. Caresses, threats, everything was employed to reduce me to compliance. At last I saw both of my parents fall at my knees and say to me with tears in their eyes, My child, have pity on your father, your mother, your country, our country, our subjects.
No, no! I answered. My virginity, which I have vowed to God, comes before everything, before you, before my country. My kingdom is Heaven.
My words plunged them into despair and they brought me before the Emperor who, on his part, did all in his power to win me. But his promises, his allurements, his threats, were equally useless. He then got into a violent fit of anger and, influenced by the devil, had me cast into one of the prisons of the palace, where I was loaded with chains. Thinking that pain and shame would weaken the courage with which my Divine Spouse inspired me, he came to see me every day. After several days, the Emperor issued an order for my chains to be loosed that I might take a small portion and bread and water. He renewed his attacks, some of which, if not for the grace of God, would have been fatal to purity. The defeats which he always experienced were for me to preludes to new tortures. Prayer supported me. I ceased not to recommend myself to Jesus and His most pure Mother.
My captivity lasted thirty-seven days. Then, in the midst of a heavenly light I saw Mary holding her Divine Son in her arms. My daughter. She said to me, three days more of prison and after forty days you shall leave this state of pain.
Such happy news renewed my courage to prepare for the frightful combat awaiting. The Queen of Heaven reminded me of the name I had received in Baptism saying, You are Lumina, as your Spouse is called Light or Sun. Fear not, I will aid you. Now, nature, whose weakness asserts itself, is humbling you. In the moment of struggle, grace will come to you to lend its force. The angel who is mine also, Gabriel, whose name expresses force, will come to your succor. I will recommend you especially to his care.
The vision disappeared leaving m prison scented with a fragrance like incense. I experienced a joy out of his world. Something indefinable. What the Queen of Angels had prepared for me was soon experienced. Diocletian, despairing of bending me, decided upon public chastisement to offend my virtue. He condemned me to be stripped and scourged like the Spouse I preferred to him. These were his horrifying words, Since she is not ashamed to prefer to an Emperor like me, as malefactor condemned to an infamous death by his own people, she deserves that my justice shall treat her as he was treated.
The prison guards hesitated to unclothe me entirely, but they did tie me to a column in the presence of the great men of the court. They lashed me with violence until I was bathed in blood. My whole body felt like one open wound but I did not faint. The tyrant had me dragged back to the dungeon expecting me to die. I hoped to join my heavenly Spouse. Two angels shining with light appeared to me in the darkness. They poured a soothing balm on my wounds, bestowing on me a vigor I did not have before the torture. When the Emperor was informed of the change that had come over me, he had me brought before him. He viewed me with a greedy desire and tried to persuade me that I owed my healing and regained vigor to Jupiter, another god, that he, the Emperor, had sent to me. He attempted to impress me with his belief that Jupiter desired me to be Empress of Rome. Joining to these seductive words promises of great honor, including the most flattering words. Diocletian tried to caress me. Fiendishly, he attempted to complete the work of Hell which he had begun. The Divine Spirit to whom I am indebted for constancy in preserving my purity seemed to fill me with light and knowledge. To all the proofs which I gave of the solidity of our Faith, neither Diocletian nor his own courtiers could find an answer.
Then the frenzied Emperor dashed at me, commanding a guard to chain an anchor around my neck and bury me deep in the waters of the Tiber. The order was executed. I was cast into the water, but God sent to me two angels who unfastened the anchor. It fell into the river mud where it remains, no doubt, to the present time. The angels transported me gently in full view of the multitude upon the riverbank. I came back unharmed, not even wet, after being plunged with the heavy anchor. When a cry of joy rose from the watchers on the shore, and so many embraced Christianity by proclaiming their belief in my God, Diocletian attributed my preservation to secret magic.
Then the Emperor had me dragged through the streets of Rome and shot with a shower of arrows. My blood flowed but I did not faint. Diocletian thought that I was dying and commanded the guards to carry me back to the dungeon. Heaven honored me with a new favor there. I fell into a sweet sleep. A second time the tyrant attempted to have me pierced with sharper darts. Again the archers bent their bows. The gathered all their strength but the arrows refused to second their intentions. The Emperor was present. In a rage, he called me a magician and, thinking that the action of the fire could destroy the enchantment, he ordered the darts to be made red in a furnace and directed against my heart. He was obeyed. But these darts, after having gone over a part of the space which they were to cross to come to me, took a quite contrary direction and returned to strike those by whom they had been hurled. Six of the archers were killed by them. Several among the renounced paganism. The people began to render public testimony to the power of God that protected me.
These murmurs and the acclamations
infuriated the tyrant. He determined to hasten my death by piercing my neck with
a lance. My soul took flight towards my heavenly Spouse who placed me with the
crown of virginity and the palm of martyrdom in a distinguished place among the
elect. The day that was so happy for me and saw me enter into glory was Friday,
the third hour after midday, the same hour that saw my Divine Master
What is noteworthy from a historical perspective is not only that this revelation was confirmed by two other individuals unknown to each other (one a priest, the other an historian), but these other confirmatory historical facts: 1) Diocletian was known for executing Christians by the use of arrows, an exemplified by St. Sebastian; 2) Diocletian was also known for killing Christians by tying anchors around their necks and throwing them into the water; 3) The reference to Lumena -- the name given to her at birth, Light -- and then at Baptism, Fi Lumena, Daughter of Light, may explain the arrangement of the tiles found at the grave (Lumena, her first given name, was on the first tile).
NOVENA PRAYER TO
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.
ST. PHILOMENA CHAPLET
This chaplet consists of 3 white beads and
13 red beads.
On the medal say the Apostles Creed to ask for the grace of faith.
On each of the white beads say an Our Father in honor of the 3 Divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity in thanksgiving for all favors obtained through her intercession.
On each of the red beads, which are 13 in number to represent the 13 years that St. Philomena spent on earth, say the following prayer:
Hail, O holy St. Philomena, whom I
acknowledge, after Mary, as my advocate with the Divine Spouse, intercede for me
now and at the hour of my death.
St, Philomena, beloved daughter of Jesus and Mary, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Amen.
Hail, O illustrious St. Philomena, who shed so courageously your blood for Christ! I bless the Lord for all the graces He has bestowed upon thee during thy life, and especially at thy death. I praise and glorify Him for the honor and power with which He has crowned thee, and I beg thee to obtain for me from God the graces I ask through thy intercession. Amen.
Litany of St. Philomena
(Composed by St. John Vianney)
Lord have mercy on us.
Christ have mercy on us.
Lord have mercy on us.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity one God, have mercy on us.
Response after each phrase - Pray for Us
Holy Mary, Queen of Virgins,
St. Philomena, filled with the most abundant graces from your very birth,
St. Philomena, faithful imitator of Mary,
St. Philomena, model of Virgins,
St. Philomena, temple of the most perfect humility,
St. Philomena, inflamed with zeal for the Glory of God,
St. Philomena, victim of the love of Jesus,
St. Philomena, example of strength and perseverance,
St. Philomena, invincible champion of chastity,
St. Philomena, mirror of the most heroic virtues,
St. Philomena, firm and intrepid in the face of torments,
St. Philomena, scourged like your Divine Spouse,
St. Philomena, pierced by a shower of arrows,
St. Philomena, consoled by the Mother of God, when in chains,
St. Philomena, cured miraculously in prison,
St. Philomena, comforted by angels in your torments,
St. Philomena, who preferred torments and death to the splendours of a throne,
St. Philomena, who converted the witnesses of your martyrdom,
St. Philomena, who wore out the fury of your executioners,
St. Philomena, protectress of the innocent,
St. Philomena, patron of youth,
St. Philomena, refuge of the unfortunate,
St. Philomena, health of the sick and the weak.
St. Philomena, new light of the church militant,
St. Philomena, who confounds the impiety of the world,
St. Philomena, who stimulates the faith and courage of the faithful,
St. Philomena, whose name is glorified in Heaven and feared in Hell,
St. Philomena, made illustrious by the most striking miracles,
St. Philomena, all powerful with God,
St Philomena, who reigns in Glory.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, spare us O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
V.) Pray for us, Great St. Philomena,
R.) That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray: We implore Thee, O Lord, by the intercession of Saint Philomena, Virgin and Martyr, who was ever most pleasing to Thy eyes by reason of her eminent purity and the practice of all the virtues, pardon us our sins and grant us all the graces we need (and name any special grace you may require). Amen.
Prayer to St. Philomena
Humbly kneeling before thy throne, O great
and glorious Virgin, St. Philomena, I beseech thee to look favorably on the
petitions I present to thee. My Patroness, St. Philomena, pray for
Overwhelmed with sorrow and distress, I have
need of thee, great Saint. Heed my supplications and help me in my present
tribulation. O glorious Saint, pray for me and help me!
Inconsolable in my grief and weighed down with so many trials, I turn trustingly to thee. O valiant Saint, beseech God to have compassion on me. My powerful advocate, pray for me and help me!
Courageous Martyr, well do I know that my
grievous sins deserve Gods severe punishment. Good St. Philomena, beseech
God to pardon me all my sins and to teach me the ways of His holy love.
Illustrious Saint, beloved child of Jesus and Mary, pray for me and help
Gracious Saint, look graciously upon this house and bless the members of our family who devoutly honor thee. Wipe away our tears and smile benignly upon us, imparting the blessings of peace, hope, love, and good health to all of us. O Wonder-working Saint, pray for us and help us!
O Child of Wisdom, well thou knowest the graces of which I stand in need, so be with me at every moment of my life, but be with me especially at the hour of my death. Establish my soul in peace, protect me from danger, and permit me to enjoy thy sweet companionship here as well as in eternity. Amen.
All-powerful Saint, hear and help me!
Through the merits of thy cruel martyrdom, Saint Philomena, hear and help me. (3 times)
Foundress of the Society of the Propagation of the Faith and the Association of the Living Rosary, born at Lyons, 22 July, 1799; died there, 9 January, 1862.
At the age of seventeen she began to lead a life of unusual abnegation and self-sacrifice, and on Christmas Day, 1816, took a vow of perpetual virginity. In order to repair the sins of neglect and ingratitude committed against the Sacred Heart of Jesus, she established a union of prayer among pious servant girls, the members of which were known as the "Reparatrices du Sacre-Coeur de Jesus-Christ". During an extended visit to her married sister at Saint-Vallier (Dreme), she succeeded in effecting a complete transformation in the licentious lives of the numerous girls employed by her brother-in-law. It was among them and the "Reparatrices" that she first solicited offerings for the foreign missions. Her systematic organization of such collections dates back to 1819 when she asked each of her intimate friends to act as a promoter by finding ten associates willing to contribute one cent of a week to the propagation of the Faith. One out of every ten promoters gathered the collections of their fellow-promoters ; through a logical extention of this system, all the offerings were ultimately remitted to one central treasurer. The Society for the Propagation of Faith at its official foundation (3 May, 1822) adopted this method, and easily triumphed over the opposition which had sought from the very start to thwart the realization of Pauline Jaricot's plans. In 1826 she founded the Association of the Living Rosary. The fifteen decades of the Rosary were divided among fifteen associates, each of whom had to recite daily only one determined decade. A second object of the new foundation was the spread of good books and articles of piety. An undertaking of Pauline's in the interest of social reform, though begun with prudence, involved her in considerable financial difficulties and ended in failure. The cause of her beatification and canonization has been introduced at Rome.
The Living Rosary Association
The Living Rosary is not a new devotion, but a continuation of the Rosary preached by St. Dominic and announced by Our Lady for centuries. This international prayer association consists in dividing the traditional 15 Rosary Mysteries among a circle of 15 'associates', each of whom pledges to pray one decade for a specific Mystery, every day for life. (Missing a day does not constitute a sin, but should not occur through wilful neglect.) In this way, each circle of 15 associates prays an entire Rosary every day, forming a perpetual 'living Rosary'! Better still - and like members of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary - each Living Rosary associate receives the benefits, graces & strength of praying an entire Rosary, every day!
As for today's Living Rosary Association (which remains faithful to the original), it came into being on December 8, 1986, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (the same date, back in 1826, that Venerable Pauline Jaricot is believed to have founded the original Living Rosary Association in France). A couple from Dickinson Texas, Richard and Patti Melvin, undertook the revival of the Living Rosary in honour of its patroness and protector, Saint Philomena. With minimal information, 30 people began praying daily decades for the intentions of: The Liing Rosary.
The Triumph of the Immaculate
Heart of Mary
and the honour of Saint Philomena
Early on, news of the Melvins' work reached the director of the principal shrine of St. Philomena in Mugnano, Italy, Fr. Giovanni Braschi, who visited Texas in 1987. Among the items Fr. Braschi brought for the Melvins, was the 'Little Manual of the Living Rosary Association', which contained its original directives, guidelines and indulgences. This allowed the revived Living Rosary to be organized and to continue to operate exactly as the original Association had done.
By 1991, Living Rosary membership reached 60,000, which tripled to 180,000 by 1994! And today, millions of people worldwide belong to the Universal Association of the Living Rosary. Of these, 3/4 are outside of the United States, and in third world countries. Members of today's Living Rosary include Catholic bishops, priests and religious, and everyday people. Each is asked to consider a small monthly donation or, in place of this, a fervent prayer for the Associations material needs. All moneys received are used to mail sacramentals to Catholic foreign missions, spread the Living Rosary devotion, maintain its Center, and distribute to members the Associations quarterly newsletter, 'Dedicated Decades', published in six languages.
Founder of the 'Living Rosary', Pauline Marie Jaricot (1799-1862)
Pauline's Youth and Conversion Venerable
Pauline Jaricot was born only ten years
after the end of the French Revolution, the youngest of seven children. The father of this
affluent and devoutly Catholic family was aleading silk merchant in the city of Lyons, France.
As a teenager, the very popular Pauline served as a lady-in-waiting to the Duchess of Angoulerne,
became engaged at a young age and delighted in society life. However, at age 15, she suffered a
fall that left her partially paralyzed and in a great deal of pain for the better part of a year. Pauline
broke off her engagement while under the care of her mother, whose own health weakened, resulting in her death soon after.
After a long convalescence, a fully recovered Pauline re-entered the social scene, but would often feel a puzzling sadness after attending social functions. Then one day, after listening to a Lenten Mass homily on the subject of vanity as reflected in the clothing and behaviour of her peers, Pauline underwent a deep conversion. The priest answered her inquiry about vanity, explaining it as "the love of attention and those things which hold the heart captive when God is asking a person to rise to higher things". Consequently and with great difficulty, Pauline traded her fine wardrobe for a simple, modest dress in purple, a colour which she disliked. She gave away her fancy clothing, sold her jewellery and other valuables, and gave the money to the needy. In her own words, "I took such extreme measures because, if I had not broken off all at once, I would not have done it at all. For the first several months, every time I met one of my girl friends dressed in the latest fashion I suffered bitterly...I suffered terribly during my first few months of conversion".
Pauline also began to minister to the sick and poor, often at Lyons' 'Hospital for Incurables'. At age 17, she took a perpetual vow of virginity and at 18, she wrote a treatise on the Infinite Love of the Divine Eucharist.
During a long visit with her brother and his family in Saint-Vallier (Drome) where they ran a silk factory, Pauline helped wayward girls of her own age, finding work for them at the factory and giving them Christian encouragement. Pauline inspired and organized these girls into an association called the 'Penitents' or 'Reparatrices' (meaning Women of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus). The approximately 200 members met regularly, helped the poor and sick and followed a simple rule of life.
Pauline Founds the
Society for the Propagation of the Faith
At around this same time, Pauline joined the French Foreign Mission Society, which in 1818 instituted a collection system for lay people to support Catholic foreign missions. At age 20, Pauline received a letter from her brother Phileas, who was studying for the priesthood, in which he described the extreme poverty of the French foreign missionaries in Asia. This only added to her great desire to share Christ's love with as many people as possible.
Thus, Pauline conceived and set up her own extensive network of individuals (including the young ladies working at her brother's factory), who contributed both prayers and money to the missions. She began by soliciting help from her many friends and acquaintances, each of whom would contribute one 'sou' (about a penny) per week. Interested members were each tasked with finding 9 others, and membership grew by 'circles of ten'; a designated 'collector' from each circle would remit its weekly offerings to a central director and general committee.
Pauline's fundraising method proved as lucrative as it was simple! While some Church leaders initially criticized Pauline for 'meddling in Church business', others envied her success. Nonetheless, the International Society for the Propagation of the Faith adopted her fundraising method at its official foundation on May 3, 1822. Soon after, Pauline consented to unite her 'propagation's collections with theirs, thereby expanding mission support from China to Louisiana, and soon worldwide. And to appease her critics, Pauline relinquished the Propagation's leadership to a board of directors made up of prominent French Catholic laymen. Of her role as Propagation Founder, Pauline modestly characterized herself simply as "the match that lights the fire". (See the Note, at the bottom of this page for more on today's Society for the Propogation of the Faith.)
Pauline Founds the
Living Rosary Association
During the same year of 1822, Pauline fell seriously ill with a heart condition, infected lung and a congested liver, but in time recovered satisfactorily. Following a three-year period of retreat advised by her spiritual director, she was inspired to enlist Catholics in several parishes to form a 'Living Rosary'. In 1826, Pauline inaugurated this prayer association, likely on December 8, which is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (that is, of Mary's immaculate conception in her mother Anne's womb). The Living Rosary consisted in dividing the traditional 15 Rosary Mysteries among a circle of 15 'associates', each of whom pledged to pray one decade for a specific Mystery, every day for life. In this way, each circle of 15 associates would pray an entire Rosary every day, forming a 'living Rosary'!
Pauline's genius lay in combining this simple yet most powerful and highly indulgenced prayer, the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with the real, natural power of association. She created the Living Rosary Association for the purpose of converting souls and strengthening the Church in France, which had been attacked & undermined during the French Revolution. A second purpose, in the form of the 'Good Book Society', was to aid in conversions through the distribution of good Catholic literature.
In its first year and a half, the Living
Rosary grew to over one million members, who prayed their daily decades and each
contributed up to a dollar per year. Unfortunately, Pauline again endured public
criticism and rumours, this time that she was using collected money for her
personal gain (despite the fact that her father financed many of her charitable
endeavours). In an effort to validate her Association of the Living Rosary, as
well as her reputation, Pauline asked for Pope Gregory XVI's intervention. The
Pope responded by issuing her a certificate authorizing the Living Rosary and
the Good Book Society, but this was intercepted by certain French clergymen
hostile to Pauline, and she received it only years
Nonetheless Pauline persevered and in 1832 bought a house in Fourviere, which she called 'Lorette' in honour of the Holy House of Loreto in Italy. At Lorette, she founded the 'Daughters of Mary', a community of young ladies who worked with her in helping the poor. A very good friend and advisor of Pauline was the renowned Fr. St. Jean Vianney - also known as the 'Cure of Ars'. He would often visit Lorette, during his long walks from Ars to Lyons to acquire money and clothing for his orphanage. Lorette also became the Living Rosary's headquarters, from where Pauline shipped a daily average of around 1,000 religious items, including Catholic literature, to apostolic missions. By the end of Pauline's earthly life, membership in the Living Rosary had grown to over 2.25 million in France alone!
How the Living Rosary
Acquired St. Philomena as its Patroness
During her middle years, Pauline developed serious health problems, including advanced heart disease which would cause violent palpitations of her enlarged heart. Though acutely ill on several occasions, Pauline's health would improve most notably after praying to Philomena, a Third century martyr whose relics had been discovered in the Roman catacombs in 1802 and to whom, in the intervening time, many miracles had been attributed. In fact the Cure of Ars, St. Jean Vianney, shared and promoted his own deep devotion to Philomena; he even appealed to her and was apparently cured from a life-threatening illness in 1853! In his exceeding humility, Fr. St. Vianney attributed to Philomena the miracles he himself performed.
In March 1835, a gravely ill Pauline and her companions undertook a dangerous trip to Rome, to meet with Pope Gregory XVI concerning authorization of the Living Rosary. After this, she hoped to travel on to Mugnano Italy where the relics of St. Philomena were enshrined, in order to pray for her health. When the Pope heard of Paulines heroic journey and grave illness, he traveled out to meet her where her fragile health had forced her to stop. His Holiness thanked Pauline for her contributions to the Church, graciously blessed her, and asked her to pray for him when she reached Heaven. She agreed, but also informed him of her plan to visit Philomena's shrine. 'Holy Father', she asked, 'if I come back well from my visit to Mugnano, and go on foot to the Vatican, will your holiness deign to proceed without delay with the final inquiry into the Cause of... Philomena?' (to officially declare this martyr a saint), to which the Pope replied 'Yes, yes, my daughter, for that would be a miracle of the first class'!
Once Pauline had regained some strength, her party continued on to Mugnano, arriving there on the eve of Philomena's feast - that is, the feast of the translation (transfer) of her relics from Rome to Mugnano - which is traditionally celebrated on the second Sunday of August. Word of Pauline Jaricots arrival stirred considerable excitement among the thousands gathered at Philomena's shrine.
The next morning, Pauline received Holy Communion then rested near the saints enshrined relics, when excruciating pains and violent heart palpitations caused her to faint. Her companions, fearing she was near death, attempted to carry her out, however she regained consciousness and signalled to them to allow her to remain there. Suddenly, colour returned to her body, tears filled her eyes, and joy her soul: Saint Philomena's intercession had healed Pauline - who was to live for another 27 years! Pauline remained silent about her cure, in order to avoid inflaming the crowds of people outside, but a convent superior guessed what had happened and ordered the church bells to be rung in announcement of the miracle. Frantic with joy, the people chanted 'Long live Saint Philomena! Long live our dear saint! Long live the good French lady!' And, during Paulines return trip to Rome, large crowds gathered at every stop and shouted 'A miracle! A miracle!'
Pope Gregory XVI, astonished by Pauline's miraculous cure, granted her request to build a chapel in honour of Philomena.
Pauline's Final Years of
Sadly, Pauline passed the last fifteen years of her life in poverty and humiliation, due to a failed business venture. After years of prudent consideration, and the approval of the Cure of Ars, Pauline had proceeded with her vision of founding a model Christian factory community. Once again, she'd succeeded in raising a great deal of money, this time from wealthy businessmen. With it, she bought a property called 'Rustrel' and saved for construction.
However the project turned to disaster, when her two financial advisors whom she had hired as a safeguard against public criticism embezzled most of the capital! Refusing to declare bankruptcy, Pauline was reduced to begging alms in order to repay the Rustrel benefactors. Only a few wealthy families donated funds to her plight, including John Henry Newman of England and Frederick Wilhelm of Prussia. And, despite papal intervention, the leaders of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith declined any help for what they saw to have been a commercial enterprise. They also pointed out that Pauline had never before claimed to be the Propagations founder.
Pauline and her family finally settled this enormous debt, after her sale of the Rustrel property, and the sale of Lorette following her death.
Pauline Jaricot's Cause
for Sainthood Introduced
After Pauline's death, administration of the Living Rosary passed to the Dominican Order of Preachers, who already (and have since) managed the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary. Unfortunately, they paid less attention to the Living Rosary Association which, although accorded all the same indulgences as the Confraternity - and more! - came to be viewed as a mere stepping stone to the Confraternity. Over time, contacts were lost, and membership in the Living Rosary dwindled.
However Pauline Jaricot and the Living Rosary were not forgotten. In 1962, 100 years after her death, Pope John XXIII signed the decree that proclaimed the virtues of Pauline Jaricot, and declared her as 'venerable'. Pope John wrote: "It was she who thought of the society" (for the Propagation of the Faith - see Note that follows for more information), "who conceived it, and made it an organized reality".
Note: The Society for the Propagation of Faith exists to this day, and is one of the Vatican's four Pontifical Mission Societies. Its purpose is to assist Catholic missionary priests, nuns & religious to spread the Gospel worldwide, by means of prayer and alms (donated money or goods).
The Society, which supports missions only
until they become self-sufficient, is centrally administered in Lyons and Paris,
France, by two councils of twelve clergymen each, as well as lay businessmen.
Catholic missions around the world are at the ongoing mercy of Society members,
whose contributions are conscientiously distributed worldwide every
From the Director:
This is my personal experience with Saint Philomena. Many years ago I was a contractor in Southern Arizona. Most of my travel I did in a sub compact car to reduce expenses. I had been aware of Saint Philomena for only a short time but was a devotee. One evening after I had retired I had a very vivid dream actually a vision. A young girl came to me I would say about Fourteen Years old or so very pretty, and she showed me a twisted mess of wreckage and my car clearly visible in it. She warned me to be very watchful on my way to work the next day.
The next morning I left my house at the usual time and proceeded very watchful. I started into an intersection of another main highway
and just then I saw it; a tractor trailer rig traveling quite fast went through a yield sign and had I not been warned it would have collided with me. The rig was the same as I saw in the vision. Some time later I acquired a painting of Saint Philomena and the girl was her.
There are many more I could tell you but most you would not believe I suppose that is true for many if not all of her devotees it certainly was true for Saint John Vianney.
Peace to you Philomena: