What Pope St. Pius X and other saints had to say about Saint Philomena
The devotion to our holy and glorious Virgin Martyr Saint Philomena by several Popes has been atrributed to the miracles wrought by Saint Philomena’s intercession as opposed to an examination of events during her life. The Catholic writer Henri Gheon stressed that the case of Saint Philomena is “a case unparalleled in the history of the Church” because she was raised to the altar of canonization despite the lack of knowledge about her earthly life.
25 years after Saint Philomena’s body was discovered, Pope Leo XII went through the cause of this Virgin Martyr and was impressed for the power God gave to her. Therefore, Pope Leo XII blessed the persons who, under the protection of this Saint Philomena, consecrated themselves, though in the midst of the orld, to the practice of perfection. It was Pope Leo XII who proclaimed Saint Philomena as “The Great Saint”.
Next comes Pope Gregory XVI, who was the personal witness to the miraculous cure of Pauline Marie Jaricot. This Pope instituted investigation regarding Saint Philomena and declared the healing of Pauline to be “a miracle of the first class” thanks to Saint Philomena’s intercession. Moreover, Pope Gregory XVI called Saint Philomena the “Wonder-Worker” of the 19th century and gave Saint Philomena the title of the Patroness of the Living Rosary.
Similarly, Blessed Pius IX, the great Pope who proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, was always faithful to Saint Philomena since his boyhood. Near his bedside stood a lovely statue of his favorite Saint Philomena and even as Archbishop of Spoleto, this saintly Pope encouraged devotion to our dear little Saint Philomena, Virgin and Martyr. As Sovereign Pontiff, Blessed Pius IX honored Saint Philomena by a regal visit and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on the altar dedicated to her in Saint Philomena’s sanctuary in 1849. Furthermore, this holy Pope named Saint Philomena the Patroness of the Children of Mary and the secondary Patroness of the Kingdom of Naples.
The good Pope Leo XIII remembered his dear Saint Philomena by sending a Cross from the Vatican Exposition to her shrine upon his election as Pope, blessed and approved the Cord of Saint Philomena, and attached special indulgences and privileges to all who wear it. Additionally, Pope Leo XIII raised the Saint Philomena Confraternity to the rank of archconfraternity and bestowed upon it with many indulgences.
Papal devotion to our holy Saint Philomena did not stop with the death of Pope Leo XIII. Rather, the great Saint Pius X as Pope was assiduous in his devotion towards Saint Philomena for he commanded that all the decisions and proclamations of his predecessors concering Saint Philomena should in nowise be altered. The Holy Father gave his Apostolic Benediction to the Associates of the Archconfraternity of Saint Philomena and Saint John Baptist Vianney. To Saint Philomena, this generous Pope presented his most expensive gold ring for her to wear on her finger. Whenever this holy Pope of blessed memory talked about Saint Philomena, his face radiated with warmth, as witnessed by Father Paul O’Sullivan.
As can be seen, given the great devotion many holy Roman Pontiffs showed towards Saint Philomena, we have no excuses not to be devoted to this child-saint and Great Wonder-Worker. Let us consecrate ourselves to her protection and strive in the way of perfection, to Jesus through the Immaculate Virgin Mary.