Chronology of the Devotion


Monthly Calendar Regarding the Most Significant Events about the Devotion of Saint Philomena

1. Introduction

The purpose of this work is to offer a solid reference point to the many faithful who venerate Saint Philomena. This chapter, in particular, is to note chronologically all the main events during the year which have characterised the cult of the Saint and its spreading.

2. Historical events and important recurrences during the year

a – January.

  • 1st, 1841 – Gregory XVI, with decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, promotes the Office of Saint Philomena to double rite of second class without Octave in her own Church in Mugnano.
  • 8th, 1905 – Saint Pius X affirms that “the greatest argument in favour of the cult of Saint Philomena is the Curate of Ars” (cfr. – J.M. Martinez, Luz y fuerza).
  • 11th, 1855 – Pius IX, with decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, approves and grants to the clergy of Mugnano, the new own Office with its own Mass in honor of Saint Philomena Virgin and Martyr, with double rite of second class.
  • 14th, 1896 – Leo XIII grants the Patronage Feast of Saint Philomena.
  • 15th, 1857 – Pius IX, with decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, on request of Mons. Joseph Formisano Bishop of Nola, extends to the regular and secular clergy of the diocese of Nola the permission to celebrate with double minor rite its own Office with the Mass in honor of Saint Philomena V. and M., already approved and conceded to the clergy of Mugnano and other dioceses.
  • 30th, 1837 – Gregory XVI solemnly approves the decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites of September 6, 1834, with which it was granted to the secular and regular clergy of the Diocese of Nola to recite on August 11 the Office with the Mass de Comm. Virg. Et Mart., primo loco with the fourth Lesson in honour of Saint Philomena V. and M.
  • 31st, 1866 – the Abbot Monnin, one of the greatest experts of the Curate of Ars’ life, visits the Sanctuary in Mugnano and celebrates the Mass at the Saint’s altar

b – February. There are no events.

c – March.

  • 15th, 1826 – Leo XII, with decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, grants the authorization to celebrate only the solemn Mass of “de Communi Virginum et Mart.” on the day of the feast of Saint Philomena in her Sanctuary in Mugnano del Cardinale, as long as it was not on a fixed Sunday, which would necessitate double Office of first class.
  • 16th, 1965 – the devoted Mary Mulcahy, received a private audience by Paul VI, and handed to him approximately six thousands requests of the Irish faithful asking to reconsider the decree of 1961.
  • 23rd, 1965 – The Secretary of State,His Holiness Pope Paul VI informs Miss Mulcahy that the Pope has passed on to the Sacred Congregation of Rites the petition made by the Irish devotees for a re-examination of the decree of 1961.

d – April.

  • 2nd, 1859 – the Curate of Ars, to find the funds required to build the Basilica in honor of Saint Philomena, wrote – “I shall pray to the good God for those who will help me build a nice church for Saint Philomena. Jean Vianney, Curate of Ars”. The church was completed in 1881, after the Curate’s death.
  • 9th, 1847 – the death of Don Francis De Lucia.
  • 11th, 1835 – Queen Marie Christine of Savoy, with her husband Ferdinand II, King of Naples, came to Mugnano to beg for the grace of fertility.
  • 16th, 1839 – Gregory XVI,. with decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, grants the clergy of Mugnano the authorization to recite the Office of Saint Philomena V. and M. on her feast with double major rite.

e – May.

  • 21st, 1912 – Pope Pius X extends to the whole Church the Archconfraternity of Saint Philomena.
  • 24th, 1802 – the finding by the fossors in Rome of a tomb in Priscilla’s Catacombs with martyrdom symbols. The communication of its discovery to Don Philip Ludovici, second caretaker of the catacombs. The tomb contained bones and a vial with some blood. It was sealed by three stones bearing the writing – “Pax Tecum Filumena” and the representation of the martyrdom symbols – the anchor, the arrows, the palm, and the lily.
  • 25th, 1802 – the finding of the body of Saint Philomena in Priscilla’s Catacombs, in the presence of Don Philip Ludovici and many more witnesses.
  • 31st, 1835 – Mons. Anselmo Basilici visits the Sanctuary in Mugnano and gives the Rector Don Francis De Lucia the certificate of the multiplication of Saint Philomena’s relics.
  • 1843,
    month of May – miraculous healing of Saint John Marie Vianney, Curate of Ars.
  • 1843, month of May – miraculous healing in Ars of an ecclesiastic of Moulins, suffering from consumption disease in its last stage.

f – June.

  • 6th, 1907 – Pope Pius X, receiving the Abbot Louis Petit, affirms – “The great argument in favour of Saint Philomena is the Curate of Ars.”
  • 8th, 1805 – donation of the body of Saint Philomena to Mons. Bartolomeo De Cesare, who in turn donated it to his friend, Don Francis De Lucia.
  • 9th, 1896 – Bartolo Longo and his consort visit the Sanctuary. The Blessed Bartolo Longo serves the mass on the altar of the Saint.
  • 14th, 1906 – Pope Pius X personally writes a blessing for the members of the Work of Saint Philomena.
  • 16th, 1835 – Pope Gregory XVI receives Mons. Anselmo Basilici, who updates him on the miracles of Saint Philomena and especially about the multiplication of the relics.
  • 17th, 1835 – the Vice Prefect of the Congregation of Rites examines the miracle of the relics’ multiplication. The result is positive. The miracle is officially verified.
  • 30th, 1805 – Episcopal consecration in Rome of Mons. Bartolomeo De Cesare, newly appointed Bishop of Potenza, thanks to whose intercession through Pope Pius VII, Don Francis De Lucia received in donation the relics of Saint Philomena.

g – July.

  • 1st, 1805 – Don Francis De Lucia and the Bishop Bartolomeo De Cesare leave Rome taking with them the sacred remains of Saint Philomena.
  • 2nd, 1805 – The sacred remains of Saint Philomena arrive in Naples, they are received in the house of the bookseller Antonio Terres.
  • 21st, 1827 – Pope Leo XII donates to the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena the three slabs that sealed the tomb of Saint Philomena. On August 4th these are displayed for public veneration.

     

h – August.

  • 9th, 1836 – building of the chapel at Saint Gervais in Paris in honour of Saint Philomena.
  • 10th, 1805 – transfer of the relics of Saint Philomena to Mugnano del Cardinale.
  • 10th, 1835 – healing of Pauline Jaricot, founder of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and of the Living Rosary.
  • 11th, 1823 – sweating of the statue of Saint Philomena donated to the Sanctuary by Cardinal Louis Ruffo Scilla.
  • 1814 – healing of the lawyer Alexander Serio and prodigy of the miraculously repaired crack in the altar marble.
  • 1872 – first national pilgrimage to Ars and La Salette, promoted by the Abbot Thédenat.

i – September.

  • 6th, 1834 – Gregory XVI grants permission to sing the Mass even on a Sunday, as long as the feast falls on August 10th, day of the Translation of the Saint’s body.
  • 9th, 1886 – Leo XIII approves the patronage feast for Saint Philomena (January 14).
  • 19th, 1772 – birth of Don Francis De Lucia.
  • 19th, 1796 – ordination of Don Francis De Lucia.
  • 11th, 1846 – healing of the novice Monestrol, of the Order of Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, by intercession of Saint Philomena.
  • 24th, 1889 – Leo XIII grants France the title and privilege of Archconfraternity for the work of Saint Philomena.
  • 25th, 1983 – Don Giovanni Braschi joins the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena as Rector.
  • 29th, 1805 – definitive translation of the sacred relics to St. Philomena’s chapel in Our Lady of Grace in Mugnano.

j – October.

  • 1871 – the Abbot Thédenat, of the dioceses of Paris, received the inspiration to start the movement of the national French pilgrimages to Ars and to Our Lady of Salette (fig. 25) while praying on the tomb of the Venerable J.M. Vianney, in proximity of the altar of Saint Philomena.
  • 16th, 1887 – Leo XIII blessed the flag that Father Louis Petit used in the pilgrimages to Paray le Monial, Ars and La Salette.

     

k – November.

  • 7th, 1849 – Pius IX goes to the Sanctuary of Mugnano to celebrate Mass on the altar of the Saint.
  • 1854 – Pius IX, on request of Ferdinand II, King of Naples, proclaims Saint Philomena Second Patroness of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, after Saint Januarius.
  • 29th, 1963 – the archaeologist, Jesuit Father Anthony Ferrua, re-examines positively the epitaph on the tomb of the Saint.

l – December.

  • 1833 – miraculous healing of the dying Franciscan sister Mary Jesualda Garelli.
  • 9th, 1859 – Pius IX, with Brief Pontificate, grants temporarily to the Rector of the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena in Mugnano the privilege to use the pontifical insignias to accomplish all the sacred functions in the Sanctuary.
  • 15th, 1883 – Leo XIII approves the pious practice of the Blessed Cord of Saint Philomena and grant indulgences to whoever carries it.
  • 21st, 1833 – Imprimatur (Publication) of the Holy Office to the “Revelations” of Sister Marie Louise of Jesus.
  • 25th, 1970 – the periodical “La Campana (The Bell)” printing organ of the Diocese of Nola carries the article of November 29, 1963, written by the Jesuit Fr. Anthony Ferrua, in which the results of the re-examination of the epitaph on the tomb of the Saint are detailed.

3. Other important events worth noting.

  • 1819 – the future Pius IX is healed of epilepsy by intercession of Saint Philomena.
  • 1824 – first edition of the work of Don Francis De Lucia, Historic Relation of the translation of the Body of Saint Philomena, Virgin and Martyr from Rome to Mugnano del Cardinale. It was printed an additional six times and translated in many different languages.
  • 1835 – the image of Saint Philomena is displayed for the first time in the Church of Saint Gervais in Paris (fig. 26).
  • 1837 – the Holy Curate of Ars builds an altar in honor of Saint Philomena.
  • 1880 – Arnard Doncoeur first and, then later, the abbot Louis Petit and Father Joseph Bonavenia, following accurate studies, dates the burial niche of Saint Philomena to the post-apostolic period.
  • 1890-1910 – De Waal and Marucchi show doubts.
  • 1906-1907 – Bonavenia challenges the two archaeologists.
  • 1961 – the Congregation of Rites removes the feast of Saint Philomena from the liturgical Calendar.
  • 1964 – Mons. Luigi Esposito, Rector of the Sanctuary of Mugnano, with the visto from Msgr. A. Binni, Bishop of Nola, submits a question, asking about the authentic interpretation of the disposition “Festum autem S. Philumenae…” and precisely if with that disposition had been removed only the liturgical cult or also every kind of cult. The answer was – “The liturgical cult has been removed, the popular cult has remained unchanged. The Saint can be venerated and honored even by the Local Council with the external feast and the Mass.”.
  • 1964 – Dante Balboni underlines the theological aspect.
  • 1971 – Mons. Luigi Esposito publishes the book “Saint Philomena Roman Virgin. Historic news.”
  • 1981 – publication of G.J.E. Mautner Markhof’s “Das un-bequeme Wunder”, Poseidon Press, Vienna 1981.
  • 1983 – on September 25, Don Giovanni Braschi is nominated Rector of the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena, with decree of H. E. Mons. Joseph Costanzo, Bishop of Nola.
  • 1985 – Don Giovanni Braschi publishes the book “Saint Philomena”, reprinted in 1992, 1996, 1999 and 2003.
  • 1987 – institution of the Philomenian Centers in the world, wanted by Rector Braschi; promotion of the Universal Archconfraternity of St. Philomena and of the Living Rosary in USA and Canada.
  • 1989 – beginning of restoration work at the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena.
  • 1990 – Rector Giovanni Braschi founds the Agency “Lumena Travel” in Boston for the pilgrimages of USA – ITALY, with compulsory visit to the Sanctuary.
  • 1990 – Rector Braschi promotes the official publication of the periodical “Philomena” for Switzerland, in the German language, edited by the Theresia-Verlag (CH).
  • 1992 – Conference of Philomenian Studies with Chairman H. E. Mons. Umberto Tramma, Bishop of Nola. Coordinator Prof. Don Giovanni Ariano. Speaker and vaticanist Mons. Dante Balboni. Many were the participants and vast the contents.
  • 1994 – conclusion of the partial restoration of the Sanctuary – artistic panelled ceiling of the seventeenth century, new Martyrs hall and House of the Pilgrim; installation of bells in the bell tower.
  • 1996 – a year rich with pilgrimages to the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena, pilgrims coming from the USA, Germany, Australia, Angola, Guatemala, Ukraine and Hungary.
  • 1997 – publication of the book Ismeretlen Ismeros in Hungarian, promoted by the Rector Braschi, written by Dr. Golenszky Kandid O. Cist. (Budapest). Inauguration and blessing of a new statue of Saint Philomena in Kecskemét, attended by the Rector of the Sanctuary.
  • 1999 – donation of a painting by the famous artist Festzy Masa by the Association of Saint Philomena in Hungary. This was made possible on initiative of the responsible Horvàth Gyongyi of Budapest.
  • 1999 – Regional Conference in the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena for the Centenary of the birth of P. Jaricot, Foundress of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and of the Living Rosary.
  • 2000 – Marie Burns of Glasgow Scotland UK is appointed acting Director General of the Archconfraternity by the Rector Msgr. Braschi.
  • 2000 – First Archconfraternity of Saint Philomena meeting in Navarre, Ohio, USA, coordinated by Rector Msgr. Braschi and Marie Burns, acting Director General, of the Philomenian Center of Glasgow (Scotland, UK). Hosted by Fr Robert Gibas.
  • 2000 – realization of the bronze main entrance of the Sanctuary, the work of artist William Savini. Donated by the Local Council of Mugnano del Cardinale and blessed by Cardinal Louis Poggi on the12th of December, with the participation of H. E. Abp. Benjamin Depalma, Bishop of Nola.
  • 2001 – 18th May – first official pilgrimage to stay in the newly restored Pilgrim Center, within the Sanctuary, from Scotland UK. Included the young, old, disabled and children. Led by Fr. Peter Lennon of Glasgow Scotland UK, great promoter of St. Philomena and the Cure d’Ars. Rosemary Campbell, Marie Burns and Michael Malley R.I.P. Welcomed by the Rector of the Sanctuary Msgr. Braschi and the Mayor of Mugnano along with prestigious council committee members. The first of many Scottish and worldwide pilgrimages staying in the new pilgrims centre and continue to do so.
  • 2002 – painting restoration of the Sanctuary and of the old Sacristy. Building of the chapel of the Crucifix, annexed to the altar of Saint Philomena. All on initiative of the Rector Mons. Giovanni Braschi. The restoration of the wooden Crucifix and the realization of the polychrome stained glass window were assigned to the artist Luigi Falco.
  • 2002 – donation of an artistic and monumental statue, the work of the sculptor Peratoner of the Ortisei School (Bolzano). Donated by a group of devotees from Austria and Bavaria (Germany).
  • 2002 – celebration of the bicentenary for the finding of the Sacred Body of Saint Philomena. Pilgrimage to Priscilla’s catacombs in Rome –promoted by the Rector of the Sanctuary and with the participation of the International Centers and of the citizens of Mugnano.
  • February 27-29, 2002 – recognition of the Sacred Relics of Saint Philomena on the occasion of the bicentenary of the finding on May 25, 1802 in Priscilla’s catacombs. The recognition was carried out, with maximum discretion and scientific scrupulousness in the presence of a board of studies delegated by H. E. Abp. Benjamin Depalma, Bishop of Nola and the Rector Mons. Giovanni Braschi.
  • 2003 – Permanent appointment of Marie Burns of Glasgow, Scotland UK as Director of the Universal Archconfraternity of St Philomena. Appointed by Msgr. Braschi, Rector.
  • 2003 – visit of the Rector Giovanni Braschi to the house of the Ven. Pauline Jaricot in Lorette and to her tomb in the Church of Saint-Nizier in Lyon. On this occasion he also visited the Sanctuary of Ars.
  • 2003 – launching a comprehensive new website by webmaster, Richard Donley Fox.
  • August 9, 2003 – Conference of the Rector Mons. Giovanni Braschi on television (Rai 1, program Mattina Uno) on the subject “The miracles of Saint Philomena”.
  • February 2004 – official visit of the Rector Mons. Giovanni Braschi to the Archconfraternity of Saint Philomena center in the Ivory Coast.
  • May 2004 – visit of the Rector Mons. Giovanni Braschi to the Archconfraternity center of Scotland, with Mass and a meeting with devotees at Carvin Grotto in Motherwell, Scotland UK.
  • November 2004 – official visit of the Rector Mons. Giovanni Braschi to the various centers and churches of the United States. Eight states were visited – Indiana, Georgia, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Washington, Arizona, Nevada and California. While in Arizona, Marie Burns, Director of the Archconfraternity of Saint Philomena, joined Father Braschi in meeting with new webmaster, Richard Donley Fox, who introduced Fr. Braschi
    and Mrs. Burns to Arizona Governor, Janet Napolitano.
  • January 2005 – restoration work on the tomb of Don Francis De Lucia. Realization of a bas-relief in bronze, which was the work of Prof. Silvano Muollo. The work was inaugurated during the feast of Saint Philomena’s Patronage. Inauguration of new benches in the Sanctuary. The benches were donated by an anonymous devotee from the United States.
  • February 2005 – beginning of the restoration works of the Sacred Altar of Saint Philomena.
  • April 9, 2005 – Conference of Philomenian Studies promoted by Msgr. Braschi, Rector of the Sanctuary and coordinated by the Prof. Fr. Giovanni Ariano. Held in the Basilica of St. Sylvester in Rome near Priscilla’s catacombs. Participation included various heads from the International Philomenian Centers and well known scholars. Discussed the “Philomena Question” in knowledgeable, lucid, and exhaustive detail. Conference presenter and webmaster Richard Donley Fox reported that the Sanctuary’s website was receiving more than a million visitor hits a month, thus demonstrating the great renewal in the devotion to Saint Philomena in the 21st Century. In memory of the Michael Malley of Glasgow (Scotland UK) who was due to attend but died just before, his hand painted banners exquisitely made where presented to the Sanctuary of St Philomena and Archconfraternity Centres of Aruba, Ivory Coast, Australia and USA to commemorate the occasion.
  • May 2005 – official visit of the Rector Mons. Giovanni Braschi to various centers and churches of England, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland. Participation of the Rector in a meeting and solemn Mass in the Sanctuary of Knock, Ireland.
  • August 10, 2005 – celebration for the bicentenary of the translation of the Body of Saint Philomena from Rome to Mugnano del Cardinale. Display and procession of the Sacred Body of the Saint. The
    unveiling of a shell with the effigy of Saint Philomena (high-relief in bronze realized by the artist Prof. Silvano Muollo) in remembrance of the bicentenary.
  • March 10, 2007 – second official visit of the Rector Mons. Giovanni Braschi to the Philomenian Center of Budapest, Hungary.
  • June 2008 – official visit of the Rector Mons. Giovanni Braschi to the Philomenian center at the in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. Also to commemorate the death of Fr James Swenson R.I.P., a great benefactor of the Sanctuary, who donated the elevator, at the Church of St. Bridget’s in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
  • July 4, 2008 – centenary of the coronation of Our Lady of Graces with solemn celebration in Umberto I square, Mugnano del Cardinale.
  • September 25, 2008 – 25th Rectorate Anniversary for Mons. Giovanni Braschi at the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena.
  • February 2009 – official visit of the Rector Mons. Giovanni Braschi to the various centers and churches of the United States. The journey was organized for the inauguration of the new statue (by the sculptor Gioacchino Cennamo) of Saint Philomena in the Church of Saint Peter Chanel in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
  • January 2011 – Sister Bertilla’s death in Mugnano.
    A very special tribute must be paid to our late Sister Bertilla. Sister Bertilla, originally known as Maria Giuseppina Ecclesiastico, was sent to Mugnano del Cardinale on August 5, 1986 by H. E. Mons. Joseph Costanzo, Bishop of Nola. With admirable dedication for nearly a quarter of a century, she carried out her mission in our Sanctuary, fully devoted to the divine cult, the glory of Saint Philomena and at the service of the very many faithful.
  • April 2011 – A new website for the Archconfraternity of Saint Philomena is launched by webmaster Richard Donley Fox.
  • For several years now, on the last Sunday of August, at the request of Msgr. Giovanni Braschi, Mugnano del Cardinale is gladdened by the Alfonsian Chorus and by the Alfatern Orchestra. The much anticipated concert is conducted by the authoritative Maestro Father Paolo Saturno and is the expression of the creative talent of composer Father Alfonso Vitale. There has been an excellent and constructive relationship for some time between the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena and the Fathers of the Congregation of the SS. Redeemer, founded by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori.



Fig. 25 – The statue of
Saint Philomena which stands out in the scenery of La Salette, France near the famous Marian Sanctuary, a destination of many pilgrimages.


Fig. 26 – The first effigy of Saint Philomena displayed in the Church of Saint Gervais in Paris (1835). Devotion to the Martyr spread quickly in France.