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Universal Archconfraternity of St. Philomena

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The Universal Archconfraternity of St. Philomena

This was established by Pope St. Pius X on the 21st May 1912. Its purpose is to join devotees of St. Philomena worldwide into one spiritual family under the direction of the international Shrine – The Sanctuary of Saint Philomena, Mugnano del Cardinale, Avellino, Italy. The Archconfraternity seeks to spread devotion to our Little Saint worldwide, and to encourage a commitment of Christian life lived according to the Gospel of Christ and the special example of St. Philomena, Virgin and Martyr. Members of the Archconfraternity will receive a quarterly newsletter which will have news on what is happening at the Sanctuary in Italy along with the worldwide centres. If you wish to join please contact The Sanctuary and your membership card and welcome package will be sent out to you.

The example of love of the Holy Fathers towards Saint Philomena has caused many great souls to consecrate themselves to her. Amongst them all, the most distinguished is the Holy Curé of Ars for his love towards her and for his efficacious commitment towards making her loved.

After the death of the Holy Curé, a zealous priest called Father Luis Petit consecrated his life to making the Little Saint known and loved. “Far from us the thought”, said the virtuous Father Petit, “to make the cult of Saint Philomena a devotional that could be damaging to the cult of the most Holy Virgin, or even more, the adoration of the only God. That would not be Christian, as we know Christianity to be from the evangelical teachings of the Church. With our devotion to Saint Philomena we bless God who is reflected in His Saints. Honoring Saint Philomena we proclaim the power of God in the strength of His Martyrs, and His Infinite Goodness in the favors He concedes to the prayers of His Saints. This was the theology of the Holy Curé of Ars, and this will be ours also”.

In August, 1876, the first copy of the Messenger of Saint Philomena was issued. This publication, keeping people up to date with the news about Saint Philomena from the Sanctuary at Mugnano, spread devotion to her throughout the entire world.

In the tracks of the venerable Father Petit, the Sanctuary published the bulletin, The Voice of Saint Philomena under the guidance of the highly esteemed rector, Monsignor Gennaro Ippolito. This same priest, on February 10th, 1884, at Paris, with the blessing and approval of the Cardinal Giubert, founded the Confraternity of Saint Philomena, called also, The Works of Saint Philomena. So, this is how The Works of Saint Philomena was born. Still today, following the directives of the Sanctuary at Mugnano, it spreads devotion to the saint outside Italy.

In testimony of the above, we publish the following letter:

Very Reverend Father Rector, everywhere to England there can be found devotion to Saint Philomena, and some wish that the Confraternity of the Saint be established in this country. In the diocese of Leads there is a priest, looked upon favorably by the Bishop, who is disposed to act as Spiritual Director of the Confraternity should it eventuate. He would like to know if there is in existence a stable Constitution or Rule for this Confraternity, and he would be very grateful to receive information about this point. In the hope of receiving your kind reply, I give you my most sincere regards,
Mrs. Margaret Seddon, Near Keighley, Yorks, England. 11.6.1985.

The Confraternity of Saint Philomena was raised to the rank of Archconfraternity by Pope Leo XIII.

On June 16th, 1907, the Supreme Pontiff Pius X, receiving in audience Father Petit the director of the Works of Saint Philomena, exclaimed: “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 favour of the saint, the Holy Curé of Ars. By her, in her name, and through her intercession, he obtained innumerable graces and continual prodigies”.

Following this, while the false theory of the archeologist Marucchi was beginning to slither amongst certain scholars, the Holy Father spoke in this way about the Thaumaturgist: “On the tomb is read the name Filumena. If this is her name or whether she had a different name is of little importance. What is important is that the soul which once vivified these holy remains was the pure and holy soul which the Church has declared to be the soul of a Virgin Martyr. This soul was so loved by God, so pleasing to the Holy Spirit, that it has obtained the most magnificent graces for those who have recourse to her intercession”. On January 15, 1912, Pope Pius X renewed his blessing of The Works of Saint Philomena with the following words: “For the well beloved members of the Archconfraternity of Saint Philomena and the Blessed John Mary Vianney, with fervent best wishes that, through the intercession of either one or the other, the Lord may be lavish with His greatest graces for you all. We cordially send the Apostolic Blessing”.

To definitively affirm the cult of Saint Philomena and to give the final word on certain idle matters of discussion, on May 21, 1912, Pope Pius raised the Venerable Archconfraternity of Saint Philomena into the Universal Archconfraternity 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…”.

In this way The Works of Saint Philomena puts down sound roots in all those who work hard to attain the happy result of receiving the reward Our Lord reserves for his good and faithful servants.

The great benefactor of the Works, Pope Pius X, is now involved with the name of Saint Pius X.

At the present time The Works, or the Universal Archconfraternity of Saint Philomena, continues to operate from the Sanctuary of Mugnano, seat of the cult of Saint Philomena for the world. It continues the task and commitment of the Holy Curé of Ars who is the second patron of The Works.

Aims Of The Woks Of Saint Philomena
(Universal Archconfraternity)

The Works of Saint Philomena is an association of prayer and apostolate which resolves:

Commitment to a life according to the Gospel of Christ in the intentions which Pope Leo XIII and Saint Pius X have recommended, promoting them under the patronage of Saint Philomena and the Holy Curé of Ars:

  1. Promotion of the Gospel message in the world of work.

  2. Christian education of children and youth.

  3. Prayer for vocations and the sanctification of the clergy.

Means: To realize these various aims, the Works always avails itself of the prayers, and of the spiritual and material support of its members. The offerings of members are used for the diffusion of the cult through press publications, information releases, pamphlets, etc. The Works publishes a special bulletin, The Voice of Saint Philomena.


  1. Little Members. This section comprises children under 14 years of age who have confided themselves to the protection of Saint Philomena. The Little Members of Saint Philomena, if they wish, can do much for the reign of Christ, since prayer is the great force in the world.
  2. Members: These place themselves under the protection of Saint Phil0omena. They unite their prayers and their apostolate together with those of the other Members of the Archconfraternity on behalf of the other members and for the great intentions that the Church has entrusted to the Association.

  3. Members of The Cord of Saint Philomena: Members of the Archconfraternity who wish to place themselves in particular manner under the protection of Philomena, or who desire to imitate more the example of the young martyr in the perfect practice of the duties of their state, carry as a badge, tied around their body, a white and red Cord which represents the virtues of their patron Saint:

Faith and the purity of virginity;
Charity and the generosity of martyrdom.

The Cord is a sign of special devotion towards her, and is carried to obtain special graces, particularly that of following a chaste life according to one’s state. It is recommended for those who carry the Cord, to recite every day the following prayer:

Dear Saint Philomena, Virgin and Martyr, pray for us, so that through your powerful intercession, we may obtain that purity of spirit and of heart that leads to perfect Love of God. Amen.

His Holiness Leo XIII approved and enriched this devotion with precious indulgences in the Apostolic Brief of April 4, 1884.

Institution and Enrollment: Any priest or lay person involved in the promoting of evangelical ideals may form a Pious Confraternity of Saint Philomena, with the approval of the local bishop and the consent of the rector of the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena. Any Confraternity of Saint Philomena must conform to the principles of the statutes of the Universal Archconfraternity of Saint Philomena instituted by Saint Pius X in the Apostolic Brief “Pias Fidelium Societates” of May 21, 1912. Generous souls who desire to work fervently for the diffusion of the reign of God, find in the Archconfraternity of Saint Philomena favorable terrain to satisfy their ideals and their devotions.

Indulgences on the Feasts of Saint Philomena

If pilgrims visit the Sanctuary on the following days:

January 10th Birthday of the Saint
Sunday after January 10th Patronage day of the Saint
May 25th Celebration of the finding of the Holy Body of the Saint
August 10th Celebration of the Translation of the Holy Body and the martyrdom of the Saint
August 11th Liturgical feast day in honour of the Saint
August 13th Celebration of the name of Saint Philomena
Second Sunday of August Solemn festivities in honour of the Saint

They can receive a Plenary Indulgence, if they confess their sins, receive Holy Communion, say prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father (the minimum of which are on Our Father and one Hail Mary). and are free from attachment to any sin.  This is according to the intentions of the decrees of the Supreme Pontiffs granted to the Sanctuary.

Official Site of the Sanctuary of St. Philomena