THE COMMON FAITH TOWARDS PHILOMENA THAUMATURGE OF GOD
What amazes both the ordinary faithful and the diligent researcher about the Philomena phenomenon is realizing how fast the cult of Saint Philomena is spreading all over the world. For seventeen centuries her bones had remained in the depths of Priscilla’s Catacombs in Rome. Mystery of God’s greatness, in a few years the devotion towards this young girl has spread in the whole world, matching, and even exceeding, the one towards other martyrs venerated in the past. As proof of this, it’s enough to remember that Saint Philomena has been, together with the martyr San Gennaro (principal Patron saint of Naples), herself Patroness of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
The well known Congregation of Rites decree of 1961 –in spite of the Popes’ and Saints’ love and veneration towards our Martyr - in its crudeness and poor timing looked as if it would diminish the faith towards this Saint by allowing only a very limited cult. Actually, after a period of confusion and dismay among her followers, the faith towards Saint Philomena has increased, day after day, all over the world. It’s enough to note that even the Saint’s Website is visited every day by thousands of devotees who entrust in her protection.
This chapter describes how the Thaumaturgic presence of Saint Philomena has drawn triumphs among God’s people.
Testimonies of Graces and Miracles, received through Saint Philomena’s intercession, that are communicated to her Sanctuary.
A Cuban woman, Mary Louise y Gil, has her gangrenous toe healed by Saint Philomena.
Reverend Father, Rector of the Church in which the mortal relics of the Renowned Martyr Saint Philomena are venerated, in Mugnano del Cardinale, Italy. Although apparently late in these days I have brought to a close part of the vow I made as thanksgiving for a miracle performed by Saint Philomena on me and for which I am now writing. Until now it had been impossible for me to bring my vow, which consists of two parts, to a close. The first part was to paint the Saint’s image with my own hands (I am an artist) and to hang this painting in my house as an everlasting memory of the grace received.
The second part consists of writing to Mugnano to inform about my miracle so that it will be published and made known. The reason for the delay was that I had not found an image of the Saint to use as a model. So I did not know the semblance of the young Saint and Martyr.
I asked God to grant me this favor, and it was instantly granted. One of my old aunts offered to let me use a very old printing of Saint Philomena which she had. As I said, having brought to a close the first part of my vow, I now move on to the second and tell the events. I, Mary Louise y Gil, am on this date, June 9, 1976, aged 61. In 1926 I was 11. I was in St. Gil of Havana College, the property of my uncle Prof. Gil Lopez. I was attending the sixth year when a very heavy pupil fell with the whole of her weight on top of my right foot. This terrible crushing caused bleeding and nearly squashed my big toe, which was damaged so much that gangrene set in.
One of my aunts, a creature of charity who is now dead, seeing how much I was suffering told me: “Little girl, don’t cry, I want to give you a novena, from a small book in honor of a very miraculous Italian Saint.”
I completed the novena, and on the eve of the last day my grandmother, Conception Lopez Vilarelle, asked me to go to see the doctor. After examining me he told me: “If tomorrow this toe is still the same, we will cut it off, since the gangrene can spread to the whole foot or to the other toes.”
On hearing this, I got scared and during the night I recited the novena with greater fervor, begging Saint Philomena to save my big toe. The next day, when I awoke, my grandmother said: “Little girl, put out your feet and let’s see how the big toe is.” Carefully and with great fear, since my toe was sore and made me suffer terribly, I started to lift the sheet which covered my feet: Oh, wonder! I did not feel any more pain. I gave a tug to the sheet and the astonishment on our faces was great. My toe not only was healthy, but also had a brand new nail as if they it had taken off my sick toe and in its place they had put another toe.
The nail to this day still has a demarcation, a bigger line which indicates the place up to where the toe was ill. I made a vow to tell you about my miracle, but before this I wanted to bring to a close the task of painting her.
I sign this as a testimony of gratitude to the Saint and ask for this testimony to be published.
Havana, June 9, 1976 Mary Louise y Gil
Mary Therezinha Cappos healed from a breast carcinoma.
Distinguished Rector of the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena, the precise purpose of this letter is to ask if you could send me a relic of our dear Young Saint along with some prayers and booklets of her great life spent doing good.
The reason I am pleading for this great favor is that I am a devotee of this Saint who is also my friend and confidant. She has healed me from a breast carcinoma.
My husband is a doctor and with his colleagues is very grateful to God for the miracle received. Thanks Be to God.
Reverend, I am a member of the Superior Institute of Canonical Rights of Brazil, instituted by our Saint Father John Paul II in March 1983.
Thanks be to God. Blessed are his angels and saints. I am improving day after day and am becoming stronger in order to face the trials of everyday and to serve the Church of Christ.
Rio de Janeiro, November 13, 1984 God bless you.
Mary Therezinha Cappos de Morais Andrade
Letizia Accurso’s healing from poliomyelitis.
The undersigned Accurzo Latizia, was born on April 13, 1930 in Bosagro di Quindici (AV) and is currently living in Scandicci (FI)
That until the age of 7 I was a very normal little girl; and at that age I started having difficulties in walking: until I was completely paralyzed;
That the doctors, who had visited me, had all diagnosed an irreversible infantile paralysis;
That heretofore the appropriate cures had been useless, including the popular belief that legs immersed in the dregs of pressed grapes during the harvest would have benefited from this;
That in the distant 1939, on August 10th, for Saint Philomena’s feast, I was carried on the shoulders by my mother, sister and relations and friends for about two hours. This was the time required to walk from my house in Bosagro to the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena, situated in Mugnano del Cardinale (AV).
That, undoubtedly, by the grace received, was able to return home, walking for many hundreds of meters with her own legs, before the incredulous eyes of the people present with her mother who had asked for the grace, and had gone from desperation to great joy.
That from that moment has never had any further difficulties in walking.
That the whole village of Bosagro was aware of my infirmity, and testifies to the event that has to be treated as a true miracle.
That I have obviously always remained devoted to Saint Philomena, and that, when possible, have tried to make offers, without failing to return to the Sanctuary, every now and then, to recite a touching and silent prayer, in the hope of hearing an inner voice that would help me understand why I had been so fortunate to be helped by such a great Saint.
Scandicci, May 8, 1985 Yours Faithfully.
Instantaneous healing of Sebastian Garcia Corral from a brain tumor.
I vividly remember that during the morning of August 1, 2001, my wife and I realized that the eyesight of our one and a half year old son, Sebastian, had considerably diminished. My wife took him to the optician for a check up. We did not really worry much because even my wife, when she was young, did not have good eyesight. Therefore, we thought that our son needed glasses. After the doctor examined him he suggested taking him to a neurologist as soon as possible, because his optic nerve was fine, so the problem was something else. Hearing this, my wife called me at the office and explained that the problem was not related to his sight but his brain. At the time I felt the world falling on top of me. By chance, sitting in the office in front of me was Sister Maria of Los Angeles, who was visiting. She recommended that I ask for Saint Philomena’s intercession. She herself had received two miracles from the Saint and she gave me a novena to be recited. My son was immediately admitted in the Muguerza Hospital in Monterry, one of the most advanced hospitals in Mexico, to carry out all the necessary exams. By means of magnetic resonance imaging, the neurologist diagnosed a tumor which covered half of the brain. This was the reason he could not see or walk and his head hung on one side and he constantly drooled. Many exams were carried out on Sebastian and all of them confirmed that he had a big problem, but the doctors did not know how to treat him. Some of them suggested an operation. Another one suggested inserting a probe to explore his young brain. In the meantime my wife and I continued to recite the novena to Saint Philomena.
On the 6th day of the novena Sebastian improved enormously and we decided to discharge him from the hospital and left for a business trip in Mexico, as it was more than a week that I had not worked. I remember vividly that while I was going down the house stairs I said to myself: “This is not an intervention by Saint Philomena because Sebastian recovered on the 6th day of the novena and not at the end of it.” For this reason I left and before entering the meeting to which I had to participate, my wife called and told me that Sebastian’s condition had worsened.
Immediately I decided to return to Monterry. I took a taxi to the airport, but during the journey I thought that maybe it would have been better going to the basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe since it would have made no difference if I got the plane an hour later. I prayed fervently to Our Lady, but she did not answer me, therefore I decided to leave and when I was half way through the church I heard a very loud voice inside my head “Have Faith, Have Faith!”
I arrived home and the situation had worsened. The doctors did not know what else to do. It was the head physician himself who suggested we take Sebastian to Houston to a friend of his who was a very well known specialist and neurologist and he told us that he could even book a visit for the next day. Normally to get an appointment with this doctor you needed about six months.
My wife and I decided to take Sebastian to Houston. That same night I spoke with the specialist by phone and arranged to leave the next day. I remember well that I decided to leave my bedroom curtains open because I wanted to wake up at dawn. We prayed the last day of the novena and fell asleep.
The next morning at 7.00, Sebastian, the same boy that could not walk and sit, climbed the stairs - a flight and a half - to reach our bedroom, jumped on the bed, kneeled down on my chest saying “Daddy, Daddy”. Immediately I looked at his pupils that earlier were much dilated and now were nearly the size of a pin point. In that moment I understood that the miracle had happened and that Saint Philomena had healed him.
This happened on Friday, August 10, 2001, the anniversary of the day that Saint Philomena was received in Heaven. Many other tests were carried out on Sebastian and the doctors could not give themselves a reason for what had happened. Sebastian was frequently visited by the neurologist for over a year, until he was finally cleared. The doctor himself pinched his cheeks saying “This is a true miracle!”.
Sebastian, my wife and I, have gone on a pilgrimage to the only chapel we know in Mexico that has the statue of Saint Philomena which is situated in the city of Guadalajara and publicly thanked the Saint for this great miracle.
In October 2003 my wife and I visited the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena in Mugnano del Cardinale to personally thank the Saint and give testimony to the grace received. I have also decided to personally publish the novena, enclosing the testimony of our grace received to thank this great Saint.
I swear in front of God that I have told the truth”.
Monterrey (Mexico) Hernan Garcia Corral
Instantaneous healing of Mrs. Teri Denman from hepatitis B.
“For a year and a half the reason of my illnesses was unknown and only in October 2002 was I diagnosed with hepatitis B. The doctor suggested that I wait until March 1, 2003, because a new medicine was going to be introduced to the market, Hepsure, which was thought to give better results with fewer side effects. Unfortunately, on February 28, 2003 I had to go through back surgery, for which I had to postpone the hepatitis cure until I had completely recovered. I know that hepatitis B, if not cured in time, can cause cirrhosis or liver tumor. In April the Lord persuaded me and my family to go to Arizona where a new doctor awaited me. I was checked all over again, the new female doctor wanted to know how my illness had developed. At the same time a parish priest in the parish where I work was spreading the devotion to Saint Philomena which I already knew about through Saint John Vianney (the Curate of Ars who had a great devotion for her).
The Parish Priest, who has become a friend of mine, gave me a book to read along with a small rosary, a cord (that I have had with me every day since then) and the oil of Saint Philomena (fig. 16). The book contained a novena for the intercession of the Saint. I decided to start the novena. On the last day of the novena the male nurse called me to inform me that the test results were ready. He also asked me, if I wanted to be visited by the female doctor on that same day.
I called my husband to accompany me to the appointment. When we arrived there, the female doctor told us that she could not explain how the results were possible. After having carried out the tests twice there was no longer any sign of the hepatitis B, as if I had never had it. Taken by surprise I screamed “Thank God, I have been healed!”. The doctor looked at me thinking that I had gone mad. Once we had left the doctor’s office, we started a novena of thanks to our Lord and Saint Philomena. As the Novena says, she is powerful in God.
Now I spend my free time dedicating myself to promoting her devotion, by sending a book about her life to many people and sharing my story when Our Lord asks for it.
With my husband, I am organizing a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Mugnano del Cardinale, in August 2005, for the 200th Anniversary of her body’s translation. I thank God for the kindness and mercy of this beautiful Saint who has entered our life. I will pray so that this story will give hope to many people and it will increase in God’s people the devotion to Saint Philomena”.
U.S.A. Teri Denman
Miraculous healing of Nicholas De Gennaro.
“I was doing my military service for the Air Force of Gioia del Colle, province of Bari, when on the evening of October 6, 1977, walking with three other friends while off duty, along the road that leads to Taranto, I was run over by an oncoming car travelling at high speed. At the violent impact I did not feel pain, but I remember perfectly that, after having been hit, I had been blinded by a very strong light.
I would like to clarify that when the first aid turned up (according to everyone present) I was found sitting in the ditch unconscious with my arms folded, and not lying on the ground, although that seems rather incredible. I was then admitted to hospital in a state of irreversible coma with the fracture of two cervical vertebrae. I was kept in traction for a long time, with a weight of 7 kilos tied between my neck and the bed head.
I would like to point out that when I woke up from my coma, at my bedside there was a beautiful girl with long black hair dressed in white who said she was “Philomena”. Philomena came to visit me, nearly every day throughout my confinement period. While I was looking for her to say goodbye and thank her for all that she was doing for me, to my amazement I discovered that nobody had ever seen or met her. I was then informed that no girl called Philomena had ever worked in that hospital.
After a few days in hospital the orthopaedic Professor came to my room and he informed me that the following day I would be subjected to X-ray and possibly encased in plaster. I believe it’s important to clarify that from the day of the accident I was gradually losing sensitivity and mobility.
During that night in a dream I had the vision of a young beautiful woman with long black hair; she was sweetly caressing my neck and invited me to get up. After her invitation I felt a pull in my neck and then I regained all the articulation functions. In the dream, overcome by joy and surprise, I called her name loudly over and over again “Philomena, Philomena!”
There was a group of doctors around me at my awakening that, still incredulous, informed me that I had miraculously recovered and that I would no longer require any surgery.
The joy of my family and loved ones was immense. But my joy was even more because I had been able to see and touch, if even for a few moments that night, this extraordinary Saint. From then I feel as if she is always with me and I feel safe in the knowledge of her protection”.
Nicholas De Gennaro
Fig. 16 – Oil, Small Rosary and Cord of Saint Philomena. These are accurately described in Appendix V: “Sacramental and devotions in honor of Saint Philomena.”