Oil dedicated to St Philomena
Oil dedicated to St Philomena is the only Saint to have revealed her story via private revelation. Philomena was martyred at about 14-years-old in the early days of the Church.
In 1802 the remains of a young woman were found in the catacomb of Saint Priscilla on the Via Salaria. It was covered by stones. These are the symbols on which indicated that the body was a martyr named Saint Philomena. The bones were exhumed, cataloged, and effectively forgotten since there was so little known about the person.
Moreover, Philomena became the only person recognized as a Saint solely on the basis of miraculous intercession as nothing historical was known of her except her name and the evidence of her martyrdom.
History of her relics
In 1802, the bones of a female between the ages of 13 and 15 were discovered in the catacomb of St. Priscilia. Also an inscription near her tomb read “Peace be with thee, Philomena”, along with drawings of 2 anchors, 3 arrows and a palm. Near her bones was discovered a small glass vial, containing the remains of blood. It was a popular custom of the early martyrs to leave symbols and signs such as these, In conclusion, it was easily determined that St. Philomena was a virgin and a martyr.
Her popularity soon became widespread. Her most memorable devotees were St. John Vianney, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, St. Peter Eymard, and St. Peter Chanel. When Ven. Pauline Jaricot was miraculously healed she insisted that Pope Gregory XVI begin an examination for the beatification of St. Philomena. Soon Philomena was to become known as the “wonder worker”. After hundreds of other miraculous cures, she was beatified in 1837. Also, St. Philomena, who the pope named as the Patroness of the Living Rosary and the Patroness of the Children of Mary, is the only person recognized as a saint solely on the basis of her powerful intercession In addition, pertinent revelations regarding her life have been recorded. Her relics are now preserved in Mugnano, Italy.
Tradition of oils
The tradition of anointing with sacred oil is very old indeed. It is used in sacraments and also as a devotional practice. Moreover, it is a sacramental. The sick person applies the oil and blesses themselves. As they do so, they are asked to pray to whomever the oil is dedicated to. The Irish blessings oils do not have miraculous power. It is God who has the power to heal. Prayer and a gesture of faith, like applying the oil, are important ways for us to express our faith in God’s power. By doing so we place our trust in God.
Luke 10; 33-34. The Good Samaritan
“But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them”.