St. Philomena and the Curé d’Ars


St. Philomena statue

St. Philomena statue by Wolfgang Moroder. (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( via Wikimedia Commons

Last Wednesday was the Feast of St. John Marie Baptiste Vianney, the Curé d’Ars, who is known so well for having transformed the small French town of Ars into a hive of faith and piety.

He is also known for the number of hours spent in the confessional, hearing confessions for hours and hours upon end.

Yet, his life was very much connected to another Saint, to which he was particularly devoted: St. Philomena, Virgin and Martyr.

Although St. Philomena had been martyred during the Roman Empire, it is as though the two were great friends and he called upon her for all sorts of problems and favours.

Apparently someone once asked the Curé, “Is it true, Monsieur le Curé, that St. Philomena obeys you?”

The holy Priest replied, “And why not, since every day God Himself obeys me at the altar?”

The Curé lived his life as though St. Philomena were always with him and I am sure she was.

He dearly loved her and so chose her as his heavenly patroness, making a vow, dedicating himself to her.

It was through his relationship with his friend Pauline Jaricot (foundress of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and the Living Rosary) that the Curé d’Ars was introduced to Saint Philomena.

She, Pauline had been miraculously healed from a seemingly hopeless illness, through the intercession of the Saint.

Pauline gave the holy Priest a gift of some of the relics of Saint Philomena.

He graciously and gratefully accepted this gift and set about building a chapel dedicated to his little Saint, enshrining her relics.

Because of his fervour and dedication to St. Philomena, thousands of pilgrims flocked to Ars, not only because of the holy Priest himself, but to implore her aid, praying at the little chapel, which became the site of many healings, conversions and miracles.

Through his dedication to her, and these numerous miracles, devotion to St. Philomena rapidly spread throughout France and further.

The Curé d’Ars wrote a Litany to St. Philomena and encouraged it to be used for novenas prayed to her.

In the tiny town of New Brighton, Merseyside, England, there is a newly refurbished and beautiful church, known as the Shrine of Saints Peter, Paul and Philomena.

St. Philomena church, New Brighton

Church dedicated to St. Philomena in New Brighton, Merseyside, now under the care of the Institute of Christ the King

This neo-Romanesque style church is run by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest and has recently acquired a relic of St. Philomena.

There is a beautiful altar enshrining the relic, before which all may pray, imploring the Saint’s help.

Devotions are practised at the Shrine each Saturday after Holy Mass and a novena, as the Curé d’Ars requested people pray for her intercession, is currently being prayed.

But whether we are in New Brighton, Merseyside or not, wherever we are, we can turn to her.

Let us implore her help, alongside her dedicated and intimate friend, St. John Marie Baptiste Vianney, the Holy Priest of Ars.

St. John Vianney,  Pray for us.

St. Philomena,  Pray for us.

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