Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

June 4, 2010

Woman Warrior of the Month: St. Philomena

It is uncommon for me to choose a woman warrior from the ancients, but with St. Philomena, I could not resist! I picked up a CD about the life of St. Philomena at a Church in Chicago and it completely set me on FIRE! This young saint was virtually unknown until her remains were discovered in the catacombs in Rome in the 1800's. Immediately upon the discovery of these remains, miracle after miracle has been attributed to this powerful little saint's intercession. In fact, as I've learned, Philomena (meaning 'Daughter of Light) was canonized solely on the basis of the miracles attributed to her intercession.

The story of her life has been revealed through the personal revelation of religious in the early 1800's. According to the revelations, Philomena was the daughter of a Roman nobleman who converted to Christianity before Philomena was born. When the Emperor Diocletian saw how beautiful this young girl was, he immediately asked her father for her hand in exchange for a fantastic job position with a pretty hefty pay. Both of Philomena's parents plead with her to accept. But as we know, Diocletian was no friend to Christians. She refused, telling her parents: “My virginity, which I have vowed to God, comes before everything, before you, before my country. My kingdom is heaven.” This was a thirteen year old - out of the mouths of babes!

Diocletian tried everything - first he promised her all the riches she could want. When she still refused, he resorted to violence - he starved her and threw her in prison, scourged her as Christ was scourged, tried to drown her in the Tiber (an Angel of the Lord untied her chains), shot her with arrows that did not kill her, so he tried flaming arrows, which Angels averted back to the archers and finally beheaded her. If St. Philomena is not a woman warrior par excellence, then I don't who is!

Her intercession has been invoked for physical and spiritual healing and especially for healing in purity, as she was determined to remain pure. She is truly a saint for our times, as we are in dire need for models of purity. God always gives us what we need, and it is through His great Providence that He has made known this little saint to us in modern times. I encourage all of you to check out this site about her and get to know her - I know I am!

1 comment:

E. B. said...

Philomena is one of my favorites! I felt drawn to her even before I listened to that CD that you mentioned. Ever since I listened to it, I can't stop telling people about her! So happy to hear you've discovered my little friend in heaven! - Emily

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