The devotion to the Cord of Saint Philomena is the spontaneous result of the mercy of the faithful towards the Thaumaturgy. Its use was approved on 15 December 1883 by Pope Leo XIII, with the relevant indulgences.
In consideration of the countless graces received by intercession of the Saint, the desire of being under her powerful patronage blossomed. Everyone wanted to wear, in her honor, the blessed Cord in order to be protected in all the eventualities of life. The marvelous fruits of this devotion made her very famous.
The Saint Cure of Ars, who had many times experienced the Saint’s powers, loved seeing the faithful wearing the precious Cord and he would suggest this pious practice to everyone.
This pious devotion is a powerful aid not only to receive healings of the body, but in particular it is a defense against impure spirits. Regarding this, we wish to point out how the belts of some religious orders and the sacred parameters of the Mass are a symbol of chastity.
In this way, Saint Philomena will preserve, chaste and pure, safe from temptation, those who honour her virginal purity with this holy livery. Many steeped in the new rationalism of our days, find it hard to understand how a simple cord of thread can have the virtue of healing sickness of body and spirit. But these people are short on religious education, and do not realize that a Blessing from the Holy Church can deliver extraordinary virtues even to the simplest of souls. The hand of the blessing Priest, transmits to the substances healthy virtues for the body and the spirit, thanks to the merits of Jesus Christ’s Redemption.
Saint Ignazio of Loyola, in his Exercises, insists on the necessity of having at heart all the observances approved by the Church, even if originated by popular devotions.
Therefore, if the Church approves the devotion of the Blessed Cords in honor of the Saints, we can be sure, in practicing it, to be in right Faith and to accomplish meritorious actions.
The Cord of Saint Philomena is made with threads of cotton or wool of white and red colour. In one of the extremities it has two knots to remember the Virginity and Martyrdom of the Saint. This is worn under ordinary clothes like a belt.
The Cord of Saint Philomena is both a Symbol and a Prayer. A Symbol, because with it we wish to tie ourselves with the Saint with sincere devotion; a Prayer, because, holding it, we pray Saint Philomena to constantly offer us her protection.
Purpose of this devotion is therefore to obtain, by intercession of Saint Philomena, the effective means to:
• preserve chastity, everyone according to their state;
• fight the constantly increasing disbelief and strengthen oneself in faith and spirit;
• profess a constant and a particular love to the Saint Thaumaturge, in order to merit her favours in the fight against sickness of the body and soul.
The practise of the Cord is accomplished by:
• carrying with devotion the blessed Cord as a distinctive sign of the commitment taken, under the auspices of Saint Philomena and in her honor, to preserve the sacred purity and to defend the Faith;
• applying ourselves in prayer, in imitation of Saint Philomena’s model of chastity and Faith, to preserve one and the other, for the merit of her constancy in bearing the martyrdom;
• avoiding with great care all the dangerous situations regarding chastity, avoiding rigorously books and shows capable of staining purity, and of darkening the sacred light of the Faith;
• solemnizing the feast of Saint Philomena, receiving the Sacred Sacraments in those days, and that is: on the 10th of January, recurrence of her birth; the 25th of May, recurrence of the finding of her precious Body; the 10th of August, recurrence of her glorious death, and of the translation of the Body to Mugnano del Cardinale; the 13th of August, main feast of Saint Philomena, according to the decree of the High Pontiff;
• making the “Month of Saint Philomena,” from 1st of July to 10th of August, in memory of the 40 days that the Martyr spent in jail, according to the revelations made to Sister Marie Louise of Jesus;
• having the picture of Saint Philomena in our home, paying her a tribute of honour every day and, if possible, say the evening prayer, together, in front of her picture.
Any priest, authorized by the Rector of the Sanctuary, has the faculty to bless the Cord of Saint Philomena using the Roman Ritual formula. The people who wear the Cord of Saint Philomena normally recite every day the following prayer:
Prayer for those who wear the Cord
Oh Saint Philomena Virgin and Martyr, pray for us,
so that through your powerful intercession,
we may receive the purity of spirit and heart,
which leads to the perfect Love of God.