St. Philomena Parish or Santuario de Santa Filomena is the center of devotion for the young Thaumaturgist, to whom “nothing is denied”. Numerous testimonies of miracles obtained through her intercession grow steadily, may it be spiritual or physical healing. Her patronage occurs every second Sunday of January, and her feast days are celebrated from August 2-11.
Little is known about the real life of St. Philomena. Her remains were discovered in May 1802 at the Catacombs of Priscilla on Via Salaria Nova, and was only recognized 35 years after. All that is known about her was revealed in a dream to a Neapolitan nun named Sr. Maria Luisa di Gesu.
According to her, St. Philomena was a daughter of a Greek king, who converted to Christianity after being blessed with a child. She took a vow of consecrated virginity at the age of 13, only promising herself to the Lord. Sometime later, her family went to Rome to make peace, and during their stay, Emperor Diocletian fell in love with the saint’s beauty. When she refused to marry him however, he had her tortured. She was scourged, drowned with an anchor attached to her, and shot with arrows.
Still, she survived. Finally, the Emperor had her decapitated, and she died at a tender age of 13. Her bones are currently placed in the Church of our Lady Grace in Mugnano, Italy.
She is often depicted as a classic Grecian beauty holding an anchor, rope, and arrows, which are symbols of her martyrdom, and a sheaf of lilies on her hair, representing her purity.
The local devotion to St. Philomena began during the Spanish occupation in Alcala Cagayan, where a Church was built in her honor. It’s even said that she appeared during Japanese invasion, at the pier of Sibonga, Cebu.
Devotion in Metro Manila only started recently, in 1999, when it was introduced by Fr. Michell Joe B. Zerrudo. In 2002, Rev. Fr. Zerrudo along with the help of Universal Living Rosary Association, Santuario de Santa Filomena was erected in Quezon City, where a statue of St. Philomena sits on the altar.