Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The Final Icon

Well, here is the final icon required for my novena book.

I have had a fondness for St. Jean Marie Vianney (also known as the Cure d'Ars) for some years due to my fascination with any priest who has been given the gifts of wisdom and understanding to a degree that they are enabled to almost read minds in the Confessional -- priests such as St.Jean Vianney and St. Padre Pio. So both of these priests are included in my novena book.

As well, this is the Year of the Priest in the Roman Catholic Church and St. Jean Marie Vianney is the patron saint of priests. So everything just seemed to come together to make it right to include him in my list of saints.

You may not be able to read the writing on the scroll he is holding; so I will type the text here:

"Above all, assist us at the hour of our death, Saint Philomena, powerful with God, pray for us. Amen"

Saint Jean Vianney had a great devotion to St. Philomena and even had a shrine built in her honour in the parish church at Ars (France) and taught the parishioners to have a devotion to her as well.

St. Philomena was an early Christian martyr who, supposedly, was a young, Greek princess who was martyred sometime during the 4th century. She had been known to the Church during the the centuries following, but it wasn't until 1802 that something definite was found.

On May 25th of that year, excavators in the ancient Catacomb of St. Priscilla in Rome came upon a well-preserved shelf tomb sealed with terracotta slabs in the manner usually reserved for nobility or great martyrs. The tomb was marked with three tiles, inscribed with the following confusing words: LUMENA -- PAXTE -- CUMFI. However, if you place the first tile last and separate the words properly, a very intelligible sentence emerges: Pax tecum, Filumena, which, when translated into English, reads: "Peace be with you, Philomena." Also inscribed on the tiles were the symbols of a lily, arrows, an anchor and a lance which would appear to indicate virginity and martyrdom. Inside the coffin there were the remains of a girl of about twelve or thirteen years of age along with a vial (ampulla) of her dried blood. Since then, as awareness of St. Philomena has grown, she has become the patron of hopeless causes -- similar to St. Jude.

So, if you are facing a situation that seems hopeless, try asking St. Philomena to intercede on your behalf.

May peace be with you all.

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