Mugnano del Cardinale, Italy: Shrine of Saint Philomena
About Saint Philomena:
About 20 miles Northeast of Naples, at Mugnano del Cardinale, you will find the body of one of the most popular saints today: Saint Philomena. Known as a miracle worker, her story is lost in history and we will probably never know the exact details, but what we do know is inspiring.
What makes this story so interesting is that three separate people (who did not know each other) from different parts of the world began receiving details of the historical background of Saint Philomena through various modes of private revelation. One of the most significant of these revelations was that locutions were being received by Sr. Luisa di Gesu in August of 1833. Sr. Luisa revealed in her vision that at age 13 the emperor Diocletian wished to marry Philomena and when she refused was subject to all manners of torture but she never relented.
Among others who had a great devotion to Saint Philomena was Saint John Vianney. He often credited her with the many miracles in Ars and he said that she appeared to him many times. He even commissioned a picture of what she actually looked like, as shown here.
The tomb of Saint Philomena
In 1802, workers in the Catacombs of St. Priscilla in Rome discovered a tomb with three terra-cotta slabs reading PAXTE; CUMFI; LUMENA which means “Peace Be With You, Filumena.” The slabs were marked with a lily, arrows, an anchor and a palm, indicating virginity and martyrdom. Inside were the remains of a girl of about thirteen years of age, along with a vial of her dried blood which signified that this was indeed a Martyr.
Her remains were kept in Rome until 1805, when a priest from Mugnano asked for permission to bring them to his parish. Permission was granted and her remains are now here in Mugnano del Cardinale.
Her Feast Day is celebrated internationally on August 11, although the shrine celebrates the Liturgical Feast in the Diocese of Nola on the 10th, the day it was believed that she was martyred and the day her relics were translated from Rome to Mugnano.
About the Shrine of Saint Philomena:
When the remains were brought to the village church at Mugnano, graces, favors and miracles began to occur among the village people and in the nearby vicinity. Miracles continued to occur year after year and in 1837, Pope Gregory XVI elevated Philomena to Sainthood. Declaring her a saint was unusual, in that there were no historical records other than her remains, and reports of special favors and miracles granted through her intercession.
Today, she is still considered a miracle worker and is more popular than ever. There are many shrines erected to her throughout the world. Among the many saints with a devotion to her was Saint John Vianney (the Curé of Ars), and he encouraged his parishioners to pray to her and seek her help. He had a shrine put into his church where people would go and pray in front of her statue and ask for her intercession.
In 1961, she was taken off the Church calendar, and sadly this led to some confusion. By removing her from the calendar the Church was not saying that she was not a saint nor did it forbid devotion to her. Despite this, she is revered as a powerful intercessor and is Patroness of Hopeless Cases, Expectant Mothers and Young People.
Some tour groups include Mugnano, especially if it is a group or parish bearing the name Saint Philomena. There is a Shrine shop where you can browse online…they ship all over the world.
Traveling to the Shrine of St. Philomena:
The nearest major city is Naples which can be reached by air, of course. If you are traveling by train, there is regular service from Rome to Naples…depending upon which train you take, the trip lasts 1 to 2 hours.
From Naples there are trains to Baiano……Check to be sure that you have the right train to Baiano….there is also a city Baiano di Spoleto…that is the wrong one, and it is the only one shown on some booking sites. Get train & bus schedules, see fares & buy tickets here.
The train to this Baiano is not shown on most booking sites. It starts out as a subway train from Napoli – Porta Nolana station and then to Baiano (about 1 hour travel time). Look for train #819 or 823. Get off the train at Nola, and near the station you can catch a bus with a sign “Nola-Avellino”. When you get on, tell the driver “Mugnano del Cardinale”. There’s a bus stop near the Sanctuary. Or, if you prefer, you can take a taxi from Baiano to the shrine.
Address: Piazza Umberto I, 83027 Mugnano del Cardinale Avellino, Italy
GPS coordinates: 40° 56′ 27.7980” N, 14° 38′ 32.3592” E
Tel: + 39 081 825 7204 Fax: +39 081 511 2733
Click here for the official website of Saint Philomena’s Shrine in Mugnano
Click here for the Facebook page of Saint Philomena’s shrine in Mugnano
Information and photos courtesy of Msgr. Giovanni Braschi, Rector Saint Philomena Shrine
Also in the area: For Americans…or anyone else for that matter, the American Cemetery in Nettuno is the final resting place for over 11,000 men who lost their lives in the battle at Anzio to re-take Italy in World War II. It is well maintained and we recommend a stop here.
The Shrine has a pilgrim house for those wishing to stay here, and we recommend that as your first choice, but if it is not available, then Click here to find hotels and B&B’s in and around Mugnano del Cardinale, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor