Take Devotion to Saint Philomena Seriously

As noted in Saint Philomena: Our Magnificent Wonder Worker three months ago, our family has a great devotion to Saint Philomena, whose cult is disparaged by many today, including some in fully Catholic circles.

Well, I don’t know about you, but the word of Pope Saint Pius X about Saint Philomena is good enough for me:

"Ah, Saint Philomena! It is very sad to read what has been written recently against her" (The Holy Father was referring to certain detractors of the cult of Saint Philomena who dared to maintain that our Little Saint did not even exist.) "It is incredible," continued the Holy Father, "that such things can come about without them (the detractors) looking at the great argument in favor of the saint, the Holy Curé of Ars. By her, in her name, and through her intercession, he obtained innumerable graces and continual prodigies." (Pope Saint Pius X, Audience Father Petit, the Director of the Work of Saint Philomena in Paris, France, June 16, 1907.)

To definitively affirm the cult of Saint Philomena and to give the final word, on May 21, 1912, Pope Pius raised the Venerable Arch Confraternity of Saint Philomena into the Universal Arch Confraternity with the Apostolic Brief, "Pias Fidelium Societates," in which he states very clearly:

"We decree with the present words that it shall remain always stable, valid and effective, that it receive and obtain its effects fully and completely, in this way it must be regularly judged and defined, and if it proceeds in any other way, it will be null and without value, whatever the authority might be…" (History of the Universal Arch Confraternity (Archconfraternity) of Saint Philomena. Please see About Saint Philomena, Patroness and Protectress of the Universal Living Rosary Association for a very good account of the life of Saint Philomena the Wonder Worker that is found on the website of the Universal Living Rosary Association that, most sadly, accepts the legitimacy "canonizations" of the conciliar "pontiffs.")

It should surprise none of the few people who remain readers of this website to learn that we turned to Saint Philomena for a good resolution of the coronary problems that prompted a physician-friend of ours to recommend that I go to an emergency room on October 13, 2017, the Feast of Saint Edward the Confessor and the one hundredth anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun. We started to include my heart problems in our intentions to Saint Philomena, especially by means of her Little Crown or Chaplet that we pray every day.

The chest pain that I experienced for five weeks was intense at times, and the results of the echocardiogram administered on Friday, November 3, 2017, indicated that there was scarring on the back of my heart and that there was a slight amount of leakage in one heart valve and a slight narrowing of the aortic valve. Mindful of this, friends of ours started a Novena to Saint Philomena that the heart catheterization that was moved up to Thursday, November 16, 2017, the Feast of Saint Gertrude the Great, would find that my coronary arteries were not significantly blocked and that I would need neither stents nor coronary bypass surgery. A finding that there was no significant blockage would be a sign of a great miracle as I have consumed large quantities of cheese, butter, red meat and other foods that cause arterial congestion.

Through it all, of course, I prayed to Our Lady and Saint Joseph to help me accept whatever the heart catheterization might find and to offer up the discomfort of the procedure with equanimity in reparation for my sins. I also persevered in my own prayers to Saint Philomena that I could be cured of any serious problems that might be found.

However, there was another member of our family, albeit a canine, who has had his own heart problems. Chase, our beloved beagle, has been taking medication for congestive heart failure for nearly three years now. Although it did not dawn on me, the son of a veterinarian, in the past two years, three months that the reason for the dog’s obesity was hypothyroidism, a bulb finally went off in the brain of this dimwitted writer when taking him to a veterinarian that he had this condition, which would explain his obesity and a few other of his problems. It was at my suggestion that the test for hypothyroidism be run, and it was on the Feast of Saint Didacus and, in some places, the Commemoration of Saint Stanislaus Kostka, that the results showed hypothyroidism existed. He is now on medication for the condition.

How is this related to our own reliance upon Saint Philomena for my own health?

Well, we have been praying to the Wonder Worker for Chase for a very long time now.

Mind you, as noted before, a dog is just a dog. However, dogs are very loyal pets, which our Our Lord permits us to have to provide us with companionship and to give thanks to Him for His creative goodness by endowing these dumb creatures the ability to delight and entertain their owners. One either understands this or not. We give thanks to God for our pets when we have them and we give thanks to Him for having them once they die or have had to be euthanized.

Ah, but there is a little more to a story about a mortal creature who gets only this life before his body returns to dust to rise no more.

It was on the morning of my heart catheterization, Thursday, November 16, 2017, that a veterinarian on Long Island who was inspired to be a veterinarian by own father fifty years ago sent me an e-mail to say that a client of his had given him over two hundred Vetmedin pills that are used to treat congestive heart failure in dogs. This medication is not cheap, but it has helped our dog, whose obesity which caused the heart failure was caused by the hypothyroidism. To receive this note on the morning of the catheterization was a clear sign, at least to us, that Saint Philomena was answering our prayers for Chase to be cured of the congestive heart failure once and for all while he loses weight as a result of the medication to increase his metabolism. One heart problem on the way to be being solved. Deo gratias! Thank you, Saint Philomena.

Saint Philomena was not done with us on the Feast of Saint Gertrude the Great, though. Her work that day for us was just beginning.

Indeed, it was while I was being prepared for the catheterization that a nurse asked about the red and white cord of Saint Philomena that I wear around my waist. I explained that the cord was a sign of Saint Philomena’s virginal purity and her willingness to shed her own blood rather than to enter into an illicit marriage with the mass murderer named Diocletian. The cord is our pledge to observe chastity according to one’s state-in-life and, among other requirements, to be willing to defend the Holy Faith at all times, including by the shedding of our own blood.

Sharon went on to tell a bit more about the story of Saint Philomena and how she, a princess, gave up the possibility of being an empress of the Roman emperor in order to remain faithful to the One to Whom she had long ago espoused herself in perpetual virginity, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The nurse said, “This is fascinating. I am going to look into this. I like Saint Philomena.”

Mind you, the nurse is not a Catholic, at least not yet. Saint Philomena is on the job with her, I am sure.

Oh, my procedure?

Although I had been told by several people that it would be painful and might take a long time, my cardiologist came in after I had been wheeled on a bed from a recovery room to the operating room, and I am told that the procedure took no more than twenty minutes. I do not remember much of what happened during the procedure itself as I had been given a Valium pill and a Benadryl to take shortly after I sat down in the recovery room upon my arrival at the facility. I guess that I fell asleep for a short while after the cardiologist, donned in a blue surgical gown and mask, announced that he had arrived. The procedure was not painful, although the area of the incision is a little sore and I must exercise care not to cause the wound to open as the catheter was inserted in a main artery. One can bleed to death in a short amount of time if the wound reopens.

I do remember being wheeled back to the recovery room to await the results from the doctor. I was stunned at the results as I fully expected to have to have stents placed in one or more coronary arteries. Quite the opposite turned out to be the case.

Much to my complete surprise and great pleasure, the doctor said that there was only a twenty percent blockage in the left descending coronary artery. Everything else was perfectly clear. It was normal. This astounded me given my lifelong diet. Sure, I’ve been taking lots of natural supplements for the past fourteen years or so. However, I was still amazed, expressing open thanks to Saint Philomena for what is a miracle in and of itself regardless of the leaking heart valve and the slight narrowing in the aortic valve.

“With the arteries you have,” one attending nurse said, "a man of you age will never have a heart attack.” Perhaps that was an overstatement as there is still the possibility of cardiac arrest due to the “electrical” issues diagnosed last month that are unrelated to atherosclerosis. Nonetheless, though, it is truly a miracle—one that I credit to Saint Philomena the Wonder Worker—that I do not have severe coronary disease. Let me correct myself. It is a true miracle that I do not have any coronary disease. Period. The heart attack "waiting to happen" that was prophesied twenty-three and one-half years ago may never happen at all. 

Sharon had the presence of mind to ask the cardiologist about the scar on the back of my heart that appeared on the echocardiogram. Although his own nurse had said just six days earlier that the scar was a sign that an “event” had occurred, the cardiologist himself called the scar an “artifact” of the echocardiogram, meaning that the image was a false-positive. Maybe this is so. I think that is also possible that there was such a scar and that Saint Philomena took it away. I believe that this is so, and I am currently keeping my promise to her by abstaining from drinking Diet Snapple Raspberry tea for three days, and Saint Philomena knows how much I like that drink, which goes so very well with a heavily-buttered everything bagel. Yes, scar or no scar, anyone who saw me eat those bagels at Bagel Boss in Hicksville, New York, decades ago would have to admit that it is miraculous I do not have massive coronary blockages. (Well, I was always running/walking five to ten miles in those days twenty years ago.) Thank you, Saint Philomena. 

Foolish of me?

No, especially when one considers the fact that a family we know began a Novena to Saint Philomena for a good outcome of my tests, including the heart catheterization. The husband wrote to me just today, Saturday, November 18, 2017, the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul, to say that his wife heard three loud knocks before the end of the Novena, a sign that St. Philomena will answer the prayer immediately.

Sure, take chest pain seriously.

More importantly, however, take devotion to Saint Philomena seriously. Very seriously.

Take devotion to Saint Philomena seriously in order to be holy.

Take devotion to Saint Philomena seriously in order to be pure in mind, heart and body.

Take devotion to Saint Philomena seriously in order to eschew all human respect, yes, even as it pertains to the pressures that might be brought to bear by family members to make “little” compromises with the Holy Faith to “get along.”

Take devotion to Saint Philomena seriously to be humble.

Take devotion to Saint Philomena seriously to be detached from the people things, and places of this passing, mortal vale of tears.

Take devotion to Saint Philomena seriously to be courageous when suffering for the Holy Faith.

Take devotion to Saint Philomena seriously when asked to bear seemingly difficult crosses.

Just take devotion to Saint Philomena seriously—and spread devotion to her liberally.

Now, I’ve put Saint Philomena in charge of the next health matter, that is, a good outcome of the endoscopy/colonoscopy that will take place on the Feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Monday, November 27, 2017. A very large benign polyp had been removed seven years ago just two weeks after a few benign problems were found in my liver, kidneys and prostate gland. Saint Philomena is being put to work for another good outcome. It is my prayer that I can be as preserved from my late mother’s stomach and esophageal cancer—or any other such problems—as I have been preserved from my late father’s coronary diseases and heart attacks. A “preview” of what is to come in eight days will come in the form of the radiologist’s review of the CT-Scan that I had on November 15, 2017, the Feast of Saint Albert the Great. (I have had so much radioactive dye injected into my body in the past few weeks that I think I could illumine our whole house without turning on a light bulb.)

Pay no attention to the rationalists. Have the simplicity of Faith as the Cure of Ars himself. Take devotion to Saint Philomena seriously, remembering also that Saint Philomena’s great advocate, Pauline Jaricot, who was herself cured of heart problems at the Shrine of Saint Philomena in Mugnano, Italy, has forever linked devotion to the Wonder Worker with Our Lady’s Most Holy Rosary by means of the Universal Living Rosary Association that she, Pauline Jaricot founded in 1826 at the age of twenty-seven.

Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.

Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.

Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.

Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.

Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.

Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.

Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for us.

Pope Saint Pontianus, pray for us.

Saint Philomena the Wonder Worker, pray for us.